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Showing posts from August, 2009

Money down the sea?

It's a bit scary to write about the great Maratha king, Shivaji. Those who do normally make it to TV. With news of their being stoned and beaten up.But the fact remains that Shivaji is, what one would could these days, a 'rockstar'. And this is not just in his native state of Maharashtra. I remember that we were big fans of Shivaji in school in the last century. We'd often play Shivaji and the Mughals those days instead of cops and robbers. Everyone wanted to be Shivaji. And this was in Calcutta at the other end of the country.The Government has recently sanctioned plans to build a statue of Shivaji in the sea. The aim is to make this taller than the Statue of Liberty. Reports peg the cost of the project at Rs 350. The aim is to honour his memory and make a tourist attraction too.Rs 350 crores is a lot of money. Especially for a state which is going through tough times and where there is a high incidence of farmer suicides due to economic depravity.Could this money hav…

A good book doesn't need a bookmark

Well this heading sounded more profane than a good film doesn't need a popcorn break.

I first saw The Scent of a Womanat The Nandan Cinema at Calcutta.

This was way back in 92. I was on my way to college and it was raining heavily. I had just started college and couldn't bear to stay at home. I had pimples... those who have watched the film will know that this didn't count for much.

I had to get off the bus at the Rabindra Sadan stop as the roads were flooded. I thought I'll go and check out what was running at Nandan rather than go back home. The Nandan compound was flooded. I had to wade through water to go to the back gate where the ticket counter used to be. The irony was that I wouldn't have got wet if I went straight to the theatre.

So I watched the movie alone with my pimples, soaked trousers, no intermission, no toilet break, no snack break. And I didn't realise any of that till the movie ended.

Need I say more?

Just another day in India

I went to Hearsch Bakery near Holy Family Hospital after ages to pick up a burger for breakfast this morning.

I saw an elderly gentleman, possibly in his mid sixties, standing opposite Holy Family in the alley. He was simply dressed like middle class folks of his genre, white bush shirt tucked out, grey trouser. He had a red and white jhola, the sling bag favoured by folks of his generation. He had round glasses, was slim and probably looked the way my grandfather would have looked twenty years back. A typical, middle class gent in the early years of his retirement.

And he had his hand stretched out asking for alms.

I remembered seeing him when I had come to Hearsch's months back. I was very puzzled even then.

I wondered what his story would be. Was he abandoned by his children? Was he laid off? He did look in good health. Didn't look particularly poor. Yet, there was a strange mix of serene desperation on his face. What would have driven him to beg? Should I offer him some money?…

Be afraid... very afraid

I saw the scaffolding come up for Ganpati Puja and I shuddered.
I work a stone's throw away from Mumbai's biggest Ganpati Puja at Lalbagh. Seeing the workmen awakened horrific memories of insane traffic and fighting for every inch on the way to work.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Ganpati Utsav. I love festivals and I think that they are a wonderful outlet for pent up energy. I used to live in Kolkata which used to come to a standstill thanks to do a Goddess. And I am not talking of Mamata Banerjee.
The thing about Durga Puja in Kolkata is that it is a holiday for everyone. Pretty much like Chinese New Year in the Orient and Christmas in the West. So those who want to celebrate it do so with unbridled passion. The rest stay home and chill without worrying about work.
No such luck with the Ganpati Puja here. Offices are open so you have to navigate through some pretty insane traffic situations to get to work. Those who celebrate it have to balance work and festivity…