Category Archives: Reviews

Vodafone is NOT ‘Happy to Help’.

Been a while since my last post, hasn’t it? And well, I have felt it too. It has been really long since my last post, and this post, was well overdue. So much so that I had crossed a whole lot of tweets posted, that led to even me losing a record of what all I had tweeted to Vodafone and vice versa. So, let’s get on with it..
When the big decision of me moving to Pune for my further studies came by, around mid-August, I had to choose from a range of internet providers which would be good enough for me to run on my laptop. With my admissions and accomodation having finalized around 10th August, and the rest of shopping, packing stuff beginning, I was looking around. Then, I did a lot of research! It was a Tata Photon v/s Reliance NetConnect v/s AirTel USB v/s Vodafone mobile broadband! I compared all the plans and rentals for all of them, and decided to go ahead with Vodafone.
People who know me, have spent some time with me, know how much I talk against Vodafone because I’m an AirTel mobile user (What?! Everyone believes what they use is the best, right?). And thus, the common question from all of them was, “why” Vodafone? Now, I seem to know why. Though, their reasons, though, were different. It was widely because Tata and Reliance have been the pioneers and leaders in this world, and AirTel has heavily marketted itself. Vodafone, has been in the dark, and is even now.
But then why did I choose it? As I said, it offered me a cheaper solution (not considerably cheaper, though) than its competitors, and I went by the image it holds of being an MNC, which made me drop the ball in its court.
Fine till now, right?
I thought so, too.
I needed more information about it, and so, I resorted to my favourite medium to get information instantly, Twitter, with my first tweet about them, ever, on 11th August,

Vodafone Connect 3G USB Stick? Anyone knows anything :S? Help!

And that also, was my first disappointment in them.
Their reply came to me on 12th August,

Please refer to
http://www.vodafone.in/internet/pages/3gusbstick_mum.aspx?cid=mum  or DM us ur no. for further assistance.

My replies to them for that tweet, the same day,

I wanted info about the Vodafone Connect 3G USB Stick. Where can I get it online? I checked the website but I have some doubts.

And…

I had already checked this. Just DMed you my number. In case you’re calling, after 12 please!

For those who aren’t well-versed with Twitter, DM (direct message) is a way to share things with someone in a way that no one else would know. There were quiet a few DMs after that, and the following image is self-explanatory, I assume. The date of every message is at the bottom of each. (Click on it to view a enlarge it.)
DMs between @VodafoneIN and me (@setu4993)
Even after that, I didn’t receive any call from them. And that’s when I got pissed with them, but, held my calm because I still had some hope and trust in them. My bad.
I just went to a Vodafone Store on 17th August, and got myself a Vodafone USB stick, as a measure to end my shopping before I left for Pune on 21st. Checked it at home and it seemed to work fine for the 2-3 minutes that I checked. Packed it in my bagpack, and off to Pune on 21st.
The first evening in Pune, 21st August. A Sunday. The first thing that I wanted to do, when mom left after helping me unpack and settle down, was to go online and check my mails and tweet (things I did everytime I reached home, and all the time I was at home, too, nothing new). To my disappointment, I couldn’t connect. There was some error and I tried disconnecting and reconnecting a few times. Reboot. Still nothing. Called customer care on 121. They talked to me for some 10-12 minutes and then told me they couldn’t help me (!) because my registration was of Mumbai and by dialling 121, the Pune service center had been contacted. They asked me to note down the number 9820098200 (or something similar) and told me I would be charged Re.1/minute for talking to them.
Now comes the big deal. I was on a prepaid Vodafone connection. So, I couldn’t make any calls from that number, even to the customer care! Good thing, isn’t it heavy pun?!
I kept switching my SIM between Vodafone and AirTel.
The Mumbai guy didn’t help me much either. He said that I would have to visit a Vodafone gallery, the closest one, so that I could get some help. I asked him what would be the closest one to me, according to a few places around my room, that I knew about. He said he can’t help me with the closest, but, told me he would keep listing the places and then I should select which would be closest to me. Well, if it was Mumbai, it would be simpler. But, imagine the state of a customer who goes to a city for some reason, and on the first day, within 7 hours of reaching a new city, he is given a whole list of places where there are their ‘Galleries’. Duh! That’s customer service? That’s serving the customer some trouble, instead!
After that, I asked him the timings of 2-3 Galleries (whose locations I recognized, from the some research I had done in Mumbai, with Google Maps, about the localities). He said he couldn’t help me with that, either. And that left me stunned, like never before. Forget the location, not even the timings?!
It was almost 5:45 when I left my room and took local bus transport, in an unknown city, to reach the Vodafone Gallery. I got down at a bus stop, asked at a mobile shop, and was told that it would be closed today, it being a Sunday.
Fine.
Next day, just after my college orientation, I left again. In search of the Gallery that would get me my internet activated. I went to a Gallery, only to be told that I would have to go to the Vodafone HQ of Pune to get it working or to even get any information about it. I had to take a rickshaw, spend Rs.80 to take me to the Gallery, in the outskirts of the city, for something that should’ve been done there itself, and face the frustration. More than everything, why did the call center executive then specifically tell me that it’d be done at any Gallery?
Leave my case. Suppose instead of me, there was a business executive travelling to a city for 2 days of business, and he faced the case of internet not working. He would be told to travel the same just to be able to check an important e-mail he was going to receive? REALLY? Sick!
Even there, there were just 2 executives dealing with around 10 people, sequentially. (The Mumbai Gallery I bought it from, had 5 people at a given moment!) I waited there for 45 minutes and was finally told that my SIM card hadn’t been activated itself. Wow. For knowing that I had to wait more than 24 hours, call them multiple times, travel to random places in a completely new city… For that?
Even after that, things didn’t change. It was already a week and nothing changed. Tried connecting it, many a times, nothing. Dad went to the Gallery I had bought it from, they said they couldn’t do anything till I came back to Mumbai.
Luckily, I happened to come back to Mumbai that weekend. And it was majorly to get this Vodafone USB working.
I went to the Gallery from where I had bought it. Talked to 3 levels of Vodafone ‘Care’ guys there. And then came back being promised that it’d work fine now. I spent around 90 minutes there. They took 20 minutes to get me a new SIM card. Why? Because the guy who was sitting at the counter was lazy and stood up, after I explained him the issue and went ahead with just roaming around the Gallery. The next guy, told me that I’d be charged for those lost 10 days of internet too, which was the result of a fault in the SIM card they had given me! I requested to be able to talk to the manager of the gallery. I waited for 15 minutes. When he still didn’t come down (they have a first floor in the Malad, Mumbai Gallery which is I don’t know what), I freaked out and asked the guy how much more time would it take. He came down within the next 5 minutes, luckily. Even then, there was this executive named Premal (name changed), who was busy flirting with another colleague, in front of the branch manager, who was just watching them both and smiling and giggling, which delayed me by other 10 minutes. Even after that, I was told that there was no way I could get a 10-day extension for a fault on their side. Though, they said they’ll ‘try’ to add 10 days to my next month. All-in-all, great service!
I came back to Pune, and then tried to connect. I got connected in 1 in 100 attempts, disconnected again within seconds, and no page loaded correctly until I refreshed it like a zillion times! I was pissed at their services, terribly. And whenever I was online, I used to tweet about their poor service, even if that meant a dozen of retries before a tweet got posted (in laymen terms, equivalent to an email got sent).
I received a few replies from them too, asking me to tell them their problems and give them my contact details. I had given them the contact details the first time I tweet to them on 12th August! And my problems, well, they were very well-evident from my tweets.
There’s this tweet sequence, in particular that I want you all to have a look at:
1st tweet of the sequence, their reply, 7th September.
2nd tweet of the sequence, my reply, 7th September.
3rd tweet of the sequence, their reply, 10th September.
What should I say more? Even after telling them not to call me at any random time, even after sharing the specific time and requesting them to confirm before calling, they have the same complain? That’s customer service?
I called them up again after a day or two. Got transferred to the ‘Technical Department’ with whom I was on phone for 95 minutes (getting charged at Re.1/minute) and even that did no good.
This was when I had decided that I would be switching from Vodafone to Reliance for my internet requirements. And that’s the very reason I can write this blog right now!
I got calls from them, multiple times (even after telling them not to call me), after I made this public announcement on Twitter. I lashed out at everyone of them for poor service and bad customer satisfaction.
Yes, I was set back by Rs. 1699, the cost of the USB stick and one month’s rental as Rs. 700, unamounted stress, trouble and disappointment, bad customer service, and what not! But, I learnt a whole lot of things too…
And this is not just Vodafone. I have gone through similar with Idea Cellular Ltd. I know friends who have gone through similar troubles with AirTel, Loop Mobile, Tata Docomo, and Reliance too.
Someone always told me,

When you open a company, make it so big that there has to be a call center and people who call you for service, end up talking to them, only.

I always took it as a joke, but, realized that it’s real in this scenario.That does mean that the customer, a consumer is taken for granted and is made to go around a ‘ringa rose garden’ more number of times than a kindergarten student would, just to get his work done. That does mean that the private sector companies are no better than the public sector companies. I think, they’re worse.
You hope that they’d be better and they land you at the same level. Whereas, you know the public sector, Government owned will be such and thus you don’t have high expectations which would shatter!
If customer service really meant that much, we wouldn’t be running behind services companies to help us sort our problems and port out of their services. If it really meant that much, I would be compensated for my USB device which I’m ready to return even now, and with some better plan and offer, free of cost. If it really did, the Blackberry users who were affected by the Asian outage of RIM services, for 3 days, would be compensated by a 3-day extension at no additional charge. If it really did, no company would start unwanted services for users and then ask them to cough up the amount. If it really did, no service provider would charge an old user the same amount for every call and text that he/she was 3 years ago, and would inform them of better, similar, cheaper plans. But, it’s all ‘IF’ it really did…
And it’s evident through just all these last few examples that it doesn’t. Not one bit.
I know what I don’t want to do to ‘my’ customers, when later in life I own a company… Till then, here’s a lesson learnt…
I know I didn’t have to add all the screenshots that I did. I know that those who read me reguarly, trust me blindly about what I would post. But, this is for all those who are not regular readers, and to prove the authenticity. I’m an 18-year-old student, not a forger involved in spoiling the reputation of an MNC bribed to do so by its competitor. I’m a citizen, a customer who expects good service, who thinks getting a decent service is something he deserves. I’m someone.
Until the next post, remember, it’s true, Vodafone, is NOT ‘Happy to Help’.
P. S.: Here‘s an Excel file of the 41 tweets I had sent to them and only the 11-odd replies I received, for reference or cross checking, in different Excel sheets.
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>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…

Adios!

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.


>The 128th Hour…

>

I went to watch the movie ‘127 Hours’ day before yesterday. Reason? Simple. It was a winning story. It was made by the Academy Award Winning director Danny Boyle and the trailer was far more than just impressive. I must confess, that when I decided to go for the movie, I hadn’t expected it to be so amazing.

For those who don’t know about the story that the movie’s about, it’s the story of an Aron Ralston, a climber and canyoneer, by hobby. It’s a story about one such expedition of his. Being the kind of person he was, he went out to the Grand Canyon, that fateful weekend, alone. Besides, he didn’t even inform anyone about where he was going. That’s the kind of person he was!

Suddenly, one of the smaller rocks slipped from below his leg and he fell into a gorge. To add to his problem, his right hand got stuck below the rock, which didn’t move. He stays in the same position, while his hand pains, stays under the rock for 127 Hours, before he cuts his arm and moves on. That’s a triumphant, courageous, hopeful story. And much as everyone of us would want to believe it’s fiction, it simply wasn’t! This is a true account of Aron Ralston who went on to memoir those 127 Hours in his book ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ on which the movie is based.

You must be wondering am I talking about his 127 hours when the post title is the 128th hour, right? That’s exactly is the point I’m making.

Hope, is all I’m going to talk about.

How easy is it for us to get into the negative phase of our thoughts? Not dare to beat them or fight against them? Life is a gift and how many times do we forget that we are disrespecting the giver if we don’t make optimum use of this gift?

The argument I am possibly facing, situations, circumstances, etc. Completely agreed. But the fact that you’re reading this right now is enough to say that you’ve beaten those negative thoughts that would have probably led you to disastrous consequences and traumatic results! That’s what life is about. Standing taller than what you ever thought you could.

Now there’s this guy from the movie, Aron Ralston, a hero, undoubtedly. He even recorded a video for everyone who meant something to him on the 3rd day of being stuck. He had lost hope. Mind you, he was stuck in the same place for 5 days and 7 hours without food or water, accompanied with the pain and inability.

Simply, he did lose hope of surviving. But, he kept living, trying his best to stay, to live. He didn’t give up. He decided to let life take a toll on him itself. That’s hope.

How justified are we to lose hope in situations we face? Is it so easy to lose hope when building and believing in it takes eons? There can be nothing as beautiful as a hope to have a happy life. But, there can’t be anything as worse as a lost hope, either.

Feeling helpless, insecure, lonely, broken, lost, depressed or anything else, is completely justified. Only if we can come through it soon. Only if we can come out stronger… There’s a hairline difference between losing hope and giving up. And if either of them occur, it’s barely possible to figure out that difference before losing both. That’s how dominant such feelings are on us. And common, it has to be accepted that it’s we who let our negative feelings rule us over, over the positive ones. That no matter how hard we try to overcome every feeling that may tear us down, we do have that one feeling which says to us that it will dare to break us apart.

And it’s standing up against that feeling, with hope, in the 128th hour (read: the toughest of times) that makes the difference, that keeps us alive, that keeps life hopeful. If not for that decision of Aron Ralston, today we probably wouldn’t have had even the slightest of clues that a person with that name did exist!

It may sound that this is true in the case you want fame, success, want to make it big… But, imagine yourself in place of Aron. Would you have ever thought you would be the subject of a whole movie which the world would praise? All we can think of, in that moment of pain is a feeling that’s called hope. That hope which takes birth from the slightest of changes and stays alive till our death. He didn’t even think he would make it through alive, at first!

Hope’s crucial. The 128th Hour is when it all matters… But, these define the difference between victory and defeat, of life on the whole… That’s what’s the game-changer of the real world…

Adios!


>Ethanasia – To Live, Or, Not To Live?

>I happened to watch a brilliantly crafted movie today (urgh, yesterday now), Guzaarish, directed by one of the finest directors of Bollywood, Sanjay Leela Bhansali. All I had to say even when the movie was just half-way through was, “This is one bloody awesome movie!” And well, it’s the finest movie I have myself ever seen in Bollywood… Stupendous performance from Hrithik Roshan, his best role by far; a simple and sober but momentous role played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as his elegant nurse; a really strong storyline; great supporting roles from Suhel Seth, Shernaz Patel and Aditya Roy Kapoor, among others; brilliantly written dialogues, each conveying something exceptional, each which says something between the lines; mild but joyful chemistry between the leads; all-in-all make this movie a really great one. I even go on to say that I personally think, this movie is better than ‘3 Idiots’ which is considered to be the best as of right now… This is one such movie which makes me believe that there ‘are’ a few Indians who can make such fantabulous movies which can compete with of the best Hollywood flicks… This one’s of that caliber! Undoubtedly.

Won’t scratch the outline of the movie here, as I know many of my regular readers (well, those who I know read my blog) haven’t seen it yet. Don’t want to spoil their fun when they watch it… But yeah, there’s one point of the movie, the part from where its title comes that I want to talk about…

Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) has a desire to let go off his life, after suffering from paralysis and being a quadriplegic for 12 long years, legally, by filing a petition in the court for euthanasia, or in simpler terms, mercy killing. Somehow, suicide, as it is called informally, is one such sensitive topic which has people considering it as a taboo. Probably, in most cases, it is, too. But this isn’t about all those cases… This is about those few special ones…!

Running back into time, I had my first acquaintance with this phrase ‘mercy killing’ way back when I was 13 or 14. I remember one of my history teachers telling me about it and what it meant in one of her lectures. At that very time, and since that very time, I did end up thinking about what relevance it had, about how correct it is as a concept, and stuff… Though, the real catalyst for today’s post was this movie where this ideology, desire is bravely displayed and talked about, I can’t deny that my past score with this cognizant affair…

The first time we hear about it, I can bet anyone of us has this idea, opinion about it as a completely, blankly ridiculous urge occurring out of a moment of insanity. But (there’s always a ‘but’)…

Imagine this for yourself… Facing a deadly painful disease, disorder and being practically unable to do anything… Living everyday on the basis of someone else… Right from the basic daily-care chores to the complex stuff… Everything! And over it, going through massive amounts of pain and sadness… Feeling uneasy, worthless…

The first reaction that comes by if we actually imagine ourselves in such a situation and then return to sanity is ‘Shit!’

There. Just there. It somehow makes sense to me, that death by choice, if the person is mentally stable and sane, should probably be allowed in a few cases. Undoubtedly.

What kind of death would we prefer for our loved ones, passing through such physical or mental trauma? Those for whom we care about?
Option 1: Natural, painful, stretched death. The extrapolated death. Sadness in the eyes of the person who is going to another world, helpless feeling you face, unending distress.
Option 2: Silent death when the person is happy about being around every person who cares about him/her. No pain, no distress.

I know it’s not very difficult to decide here. But, when it comes to pragmatically living it, we all, would surely not agree to the second option. Why would we even agree to it? We would lose someone who matters to us, earlier than we would lose otherwise… We would want to believe that some miracle would take place… Something that would change everything, again to normalcy… Even after knowing that miracles occur once in a million and we want to believe that this case is that one in the million…

Human tendency of hope and belief. No denying it at all… But, for one moment, if we selflessly think about what the other person is going through and how legitemate would we be if we forced them to live, despite their will, going through all the pain they do… Barely justified, that we would be…

I don’t say that there needs a serious amendment in the Constitution Of India, or the basic humanitarian principles. Neither do I say that death by desire is justified… I just say that there have to be those exceptions, exclusions we need to make and let go… Hoping that our dear one, would be free of the immense misery they are going through… Pretty fair, too, I guess.

There’s this one dialogue in the movie which is delivered by Ethan’s on-screen mother (Nafisa Ali) which struck the chord of my heart the most (edited), “Whose life is it anyway? This isn’t my life, or your life, Mr. Prosecutor, or anyone who is sitting here, neither is it yours, Your Honour, that we can feel the pain Ethan feels. It’s his life and no one other than him can feel that pain and thus it’s rather ‘just’ his right to decide.”

Simply tells us how our life that exists is just ours, above and before anyone else. That’s it. Our life. And so, it’s our right to decide, To Live, Or, Not To Live, euthanasia or living, provided, the pre-requisite of the subject being emotionally stable, is satisfied…

Well, that’s just my view…

To Live, Or, Not To Live?

Adios!

P.S.: The title isn’t a spelling mistake. Those who have watched the movie will know why it isn’t so.


>Dreams – The Reality…

>Two of the most antithetic, contradictory words… Dreams and reality. And when I use them together in the title, that’s sure to attract a few raised eyebrows…

One of them talks about the reality we want, and the other is a picture of the reality that exists… Both, paradoxical to each other.

But yes, I am still talking sane. The reality of the dreams, or, the dreams of the reality… The way you put it, is how you would perceive it.

One of the most fascinating topics for me, has always been the occurrence of dreams, the reasons behind them, the connections they have to reality… And may be that’s the reason, dreams are the real game-benders in my to-be-maiden-novel ‘The Girl’.

Even so, I have been on a constant look-out for reasoning as to where, how, which and when do dreams affect us. It’s really a very faint and vivid memory that we have most of the times, but, the effects are drastic. That’s disturbing, at times.

I have always been someone who looks out for information… And when I realized that Inception was one such movie which would offer me help on this subject, I couldn’t hold myself to watch it at the earliest! The presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan’s direction and the hype created around this big budget flick were other stimulants which made me watch the movie at the first opportunity I got.

I won’t review the movie here. The reviews are available from various people in the international film fraternity in every nook and corner of the web… But, here I wish to talk about what I felt, how I can relate to it and what I think about it…

The first and foremost that comes to my mind, is a simple fact that has been highlighted even in the movie. The beginning of any dream is something you never remember… A fact, observed. We may still remember the middle parts and the end of the dream, but, how we landed there, how it all began, is the craziest mystery…

Again, where the story actually begins. Extraction. It’s just like stealing… An idea, a thought, a memory process. That’s all about just stealing. And still, not knowing that it’s already lost! And to my knowledge, that happens in real life too. May be not through forceful dream sharing and sedatives, but, by the simple wish and desire to let someone know something, but being reluctant to tell them ourselves… This does happen…

And then finally comes the art of Inception! Don’t we sow the seeds and ideas in our own heads? Deep into our past, somewhere, some thought, some idea, some realization has lead us to what we are today… Every action, every part of the behaviour we demonstrate, every series of thoughts, everything just doesn’t stem up from nowhere… It has a reason. And that reason is from our very own Inception to our own subconscious. Somewhere, someday… And this is not something that I am saying out of the blue… I can see that those thoughts which came to me when I was ten or twelve, those dreams, their effects. Those are what have made me ‘me’ today.

It’s an addiction. Once you begin dreaming, thinking, convincing yourself, you end up doing it again and again, even without knowing that you are doing it! That’s the Inception of out lives…!

Pretty much into the movie, all of us do doubt the existence of reality or being in a dream… I doubt the reality of this world that’s so-called ‘ours’. Our civilization (which is no more civilized, painfully). Is it possible that we are actually just sharing a dream of this world? That we really exist somewhere else and live here? That we are just the projections or we are sharing the dream of someone superior, who is the play-maker? That there is someone who has designed and planned it all? That these years that we spend here, would seem like minutes when we get back there? That when we die, we wouldn’t end up really dying, but just waking up? That when we are dreaming (not day-dreaming), that’s just a dream within a dream? Or even multiple layers of dreams? That this probably isn’t the real world? That the real world is free from the pain, sadness and all negative emotions that are just ‘projected’ out here? That this is just to teach us how we should live like humans when we wake up in the world we can then make for ourselves? Is this for our enlightenment? To open our eyes to what would happen do if we spoilt our real world like this? Is it so?

This is something that I am desperately, inquisitively wanting to know…

Do tell me if you find the answer!

Sie sehen!


>Lessons Learnt From ‘3 Idiots’

>Hello,

After watching this movie, I was awestruck. I must confess, I even shed a few tears during the course of the movie. Don’t ask me why (many have, by now), because I really don’t have an idea.

To be frank, I was going to skip this movie, but, someone then advised me saying that I ‘must’ watch it. And so it was, on the last day of the year that has just gone, I went to watch the movie with my friends.

As the movie gossips hit the headline way back in May-June, I thought his was a movie that would have much to do with silly people, like Krazzy 4 was. It was only later that I was informed that it was somewhat based on ‘Five Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat. And even later (actually after the movie), that I realized that it was about a life that ‘could’ probably be mine.

And so, here I am, jotting down the lessons I learnt from this amazingly exceptional movie.

1. Flourish Thy Friendship – The very first scene of the movie when Farhan (R. Madhavan) gets out of his flight with an excuse and then Raju (Sharman Joshi) forgets to wear his pants in a haste to meet their friend, Rancho (Aamir Khan) whom they hadn’t met since their graduation five years back, is true reflection of what the importance of some friend’s is in our lives. The friendship that flourishes once, will always…

2. Fearlessly Protest – When the ragging is going on, Rancho gives the one of the seniors a real electric shock and makes him realize that he won’t succumb to ragging. Isn’t that what we need to curb the evil of ragging? It just keeps passing from one batch to the next just because of a wish to revenge.

3. Speak Your Mind, Voice Your Opinion – When the director of the institute comes to address the students, Rancho asks a question which may seem silly, but, it’s somehow, really sensible on further pondering. It means that we shouldn’t worry about what the world will say, but, just get out there and say what we feel truly…

4. Greatness Lies Within – Teachers aren’t Gods. You can’t agree to any and every point of theirs. You need to learn from them, but, only what you think is to be learnt. If you think they are wrong, don’t behave rudely while trying to prove them, but, defeat them at their own game.

5. Don’t Rote Or You Will Rot – Do I need to explain this point? Everyone who has seen the movie surely had a laughter ride while watching this scene!

6. Give Free Helpful advices – If you see something about which you have a better perspective, don’t be afraid to tell. You surely have an opinion, may be it’s not the best, but, it’s yours and unique.

7. Help, It’s Helpful – Sometimes, you don’t know what your help can do! Just do it. You may face tirades because of it, but, when your help is seen, it will surely be counted for.

8. If You Can’t Convince, Confuse! – Well, if you get late while completing the paper, just mix the papers so that the supervisor can’t make out which one is yours. Similarly, if no one is trying to understand you, just blurt out some nonsense and make them confused about their own opinion.

9. Don’t Ever Drink! It Makes You Careless – As seen in the real world too, people don’t really know what they do when they are in the hangover. They sometimes do the right things, but, complicate things even more the other times.

10. Respect Elders – Whoever they may be, whatever they may have done to you, they deserve respect by virtue of them being elder to you. So, give them what they deserve.

11. Selflessness – Be selfless. There is a world around you which expects somethings from you too. May be the expectations aren’t sold, but, you need to buy them without being conveyed.

12. Chase – Chase excellence, not success… If you excel, success will automatically follow. I don’t think this has to be elaborated more.

13. Fool Your Heart – The heart’s a funny organ. It gets afraid with small things. Make it realize that nothing will ever be wrong even in the worst situations and you will be out of them soon…

14. Follow Your Heart – Do what you think you can do best. The world is just superficial. You are not answerable to them. You are answerable to yourself over what you create for yourself, the world you live in.

15. Innovate, Change – Think differently, out of the box. If you know a=b, don’t end your answer there. Check if a=c. May be even that will help.

This is no review. There are many on the web. This is just a compilation of the things I think we need to learn from ‘3 Idiots’. Some aren’t conveyed directly, but, need to be deduced upon. Hope you can connect to the scene the learning is from.

Kudos to this amazing movie!


>2 States by Chetan Bhagat

>Well, well, well… I read my first Chetan Bhagat book. To be very honest, I was biased against him since the very beginning. But, while reading the book, even more. And, to add the spices, was the super credit controversy regarding 3 Idiots which blew my mind off. But, I can assure you that this review of the book is not at all biased. It is completely a fair one. To those who have read the book, it would make sense. To the others, may be not much.

Well, the name, ‘2 States’ was a reason I picked up reading this book first (apart from the dominant reason that someone had recommended it to me) because, as known to many around me, I am a firm supporter of love marriages and even inter-caste marriages because I believe that everyone has a right to choose who they want to marry and choose their life partner, beyond the invisible boundaries set because of caste, religion, language, nationality, state, etc. So, I was rather optimistic to read the book as I had the opinions of someone who probably has the same ideology as mine.

2 States… The story of Ananya and Krish. The story of a couple who first met as classmates in IIM-A, the most-renowned B-school in India. So, they both were of the cream of India. Welcome to their world…

It isn’t an easy thing to convince your parents about your choices and that’s evident in every house. Any how, this story is much about the problems they faced and the way they tackled them together.

In the very beginning, the author describes the way they first met, the early feelings he had for her, heir study sessions, the lectures, the trauma Ananya, a university topper in Economics, faced when she realized that economics here had more to do with mathematics, and how she felt that it would be a blotch on her personality if she took help. And how she hated guys who proposed her every now and then, even those who weren’t friends, and how she had developed a hatred against IITians for being such.

And, our hero’s application of the old, simple strategy-avoid and obtain. I wonder how it works always. All I felt (till now) about the book was goody-goody.

The first setback I had with this book, the way Krish told her about his feelings for her, an explanation to why he had been avoiding her, “I have to avoid looking at your face as much as possible because when I look at your face, all I want to do is kiss you.” Which guy says that to the girl he loves? If you say this to a girl, then what I can infer from this is, that you are just interested to make the girl yours, prove to the world that even you can have someone so beautiful (Ananya was the most beautiful girl of the batch, not just for Krish, but, for everyone) as your girlfriend. Right, just to shed the tag of ‘just-friends’ and become the ‘happy-go-lucky couple’. If that’s all he wants, wouldn’t he dump her for the girl who was a Miss Universe.

And then, Krish proves me right. Because, all that he talks about in the whole Ahmedabad act is, the physical parts of a relationship like making love with her, having a live-in relationship in the hostel, kissing each other, staring at each other and passing chits in between lectures. Wow. Has love lost the emotional touch?

It isn’t long and they are all set for their interviews via campus placements. They are placed in the jobs they wished to have. Krish in CitiBank, the company which paid for times than any other, and Ananya, in marketting of HLL. In the meanwhile, Ananya is proposed by Krish for marriage, and she says yes.

As the convocation comes close, they plan out how they want their parents’ first meeting to be nice and expect them to like each other. However, it doesn’t happen like that.

Then the real story begins. The time they were in their respective cities and wrote letters and talked on phone rarely. When both of them had to meet prospects from their community for marriage forcefully through emotional blackmail most of the time. All that was on Krish’s mind in the meanwhile was lust and the physical interaction! Disgusting.

Then Krish moves to Chennai for his CitiBank job, convinces Ananya’s family that he’s the right guy through a series of events and functions, they agree to give Ananya’s hand to her. Krish moves back as he’s overdosed of Chennai (in six months) and arranges to get Ananya to Delhi for a week to convince his mother (he thinks convincing his father is unimportant). Operation Delhi succeeds. But, a greater task remains. Both the families have to love each other.

For this, a Goa vacation is planned where things go wrong and that’s when the strings break. Even after colluding, the mission fails and they break-up.

The real drama unfolds. Krish gets over-involved in his work to avoid thoughts about Ananya. He calls, but, they go unanswered. He is disturbed. One night his father asks him for help and he agrees as he’s tired to even fight with him. I don’t think he would miss this opportunity to fight if he was well. And, his father goes to Chennai on a day trip and manages to convince Ananya’s parents for the marriage.

They have a nice wedding in Chennai according to Tamil customs and the story has a cute ending.

Although, it wasn’t very interesting, the language of the book purely suggests that a thesaurus was referred to again and again. Also, a few phrases are placed in the wrong place just to enhance the literary value of the novel. Anyday, I would prefer reading the Twilight Saga again over this book which portrays love without the emotions it is most famous for. It’s sad that this book portrays Indians to the world as people who are divided on the basis of states. I don’t think India is so ignorant of cultures imbibed within it. The children are shown to have stringent opinions about their elders. I believe, this book, breaches the Indian pledge of secularism.

Even then, for those who haven’t read it and don’t trust this review, go ahead and know for yourself.

Cheerio!