One of my friends at work has a fascination for the color blue and has so many anecdotes connected to it.

Once on a railway station somewhere in U.P, his father had a really hard time when he put his foot down saying that he would go only on the blue train, which was incidentally going in the opposite direction.

God plz have mercy on the fathers.

If you alight at Dadar station and exit through the west side, then walk parallel to the highway towards Matunga, through the mish-mashy salad on the ground, leftovers of the morning wholesale sabzi bazaar, then you will pass beneath the iron bridge.

Much tear has flowed under this bridge. Handkerchiefs come out of their solitudes from pockets and purses to protect the pollution weakened lungs’ of their masters and mistresses. This is the adda of the green chilli wholesellers.

They sit behind the mounds of green.

The lord of the tear drops.

The hungry one toothed monster was digging into the tarmac. Unable to swallow, the chunks lay upturned, the creamy tar layer crushed underneath, like a pastry shop ransacked. The age old rivalry between the water supply department andt he road developement corporation, wasw at play. Only a few dudes on bikes with exceptional skills tried to meander through the four wheeled jungle.

The only people trying to suppress their smiles were the peanut sellers.

Baaba jee

He was a gold medallist from the agra university. His qualification was such that when he applied for a post of bank cashier they made him the manager. But his philanthropist attitude made him give away loans to poor wretched souls (who actually deserved them)and denied big shots. But the higher authorities didnt like this very much. So in a 1 short month feb{of the leap year} he was back on the street looking for a job.

Then he applied for a teaching position in the local school. He was so overqualified in the sleepy town that they made him the principal. But again his helping soul got the better of him and he gave away all his salary as poor children’s fees and he was always broke.

That was the end of Babajee’s career and to this day people of the village never educate their children more than it is really necessary. It has been heard that babaji’s earning his living these days as a “beharoopiya” (of multiple personas), a fancy dress actor dressing up as lord krishna and radha every alternative day to get alms.

Weed weed everywhere

Yesterday afternoon was one of those days when I just have to get out. So with the sun overhead i set out to climb the hill nearby.

After the 15 min climb, with shadows of eagles for company i reached the top. Being the ninth day of navratri, and the temple on top being that of “THE” devi, there was a small ‘bhoj’ (feast) going on. They had finished eating and seemed to have come from far off places. Women lazed around in groups while the children and youth were discharging their hypergluco-adrenaline-blood.

I went descending the other side towards the lake. From the base of the hill there are numerous trails leading to the periphery of the lake. I took a familiar one. The grass had grown incredibly high. That along with the light shrubs which began to reach my shoulders. I was getting the idea that few had walked that path. The kurta i was wearing now had numerous “velcro” seeds and small caterpillary bugs on it. Ater some enjoyable struggling some more i reached the lake.

to be continued

The anatomy of a police chase

First of all let me tell you that i am a ‘law abiding’ 😉 citizen and am not into anarchy stuff. And the following is not a anarchy tutorial. Not that I claim any expertise in what I am going to say quite the contrary, but i believe that “failure has more lessons than success”. And this is a try to get rid of the self despicatory thoughts in my head.

For the fast food addicts: I got caught by the police, I tried to escape, they chased me, and after some huffy puffy run they caught me (with a lot of luck though.

Now for the connoissuers this the whole deal after which the tutorial will follow:

” I had gone to LTT (lokmanya tilak terminus), Kurla to recieve one of my relatives. I had got there by local which goes upto Tilak Nagar station which is just next to LTT. I had a ticket till Tilak nagar. The train was to arrive at 5:00 and just reached the station in time. The keypoint here is that i did not buy the platform ticket.

THey came and lots of hugs and smiles followed. Apart from me another of their relatives ahd also came. Now we turned towards the taxi stand lugging the bags. Just before the finish line like ghosts 4 Tcket checkers materialised. I saw one fot them first and avoided him but another one got me. I slipped the bag to the relatives and asked them to leave as these people like leeches suck off as much money as they can. there were some 5 people who were like me. The TCs made us stand inside one of the small police cabins.

THen came the demands, “pay Rs 500 or go to jail, etc… without any bargaining on aur side they lowered their price to Rs 250. I had all of 130 bucks, in my wallet. I was pretty desperate. i have always bought tickets, and once i ditch it and get caught. I was very angry with the God of Probability. WHen we told them we did not have even 250 they made us follow them to the railway police lockup. I knew that these were just ploys to get as much as possible from us. They walked in the front with us following them. There was a gap of a metre between each of us. I was the last. It was too hard to resist. They were not paying any attention. I gradually slowed down, so that the distance between me and the TCs was abt 10 metre.

Then I turned and ran. I did not turn back for a long time (time had dilated then), after some time (a few seconds) when I turned back i saw 2 of them following me. They were a good 80-90 metres behind me. They must have realised my flight after some time. There was a bus stop ahead and bus approaching it. An auto which was coming from the opposite direction suddenly stopped in front of me. The bus conductor held the go ahead bell thinking that I was running to get on the bus(which i was but for a different reason). A burly man stepped out of the auto and grabbed me. For a moment i was dazed, as he was totally unexpected. It was later that i learnt that he was a railway police sonstable on his way to duty and upon seeing the drama had came up with the correct analysis (he knew the TCs while the bus conductor didnt). Now where are these brainy constables when there are terrorists around. The first thing the TCs did upon reaching there was to punch the hell off me . :) it was not that bad as i quickly started pleading and their heart melted on seeing my innocent teary eyes.

They dumped me in a auto and took me back. there i came to know that the other 3 had also had mad a run taking advantage of the chaos proceeding my flight. Off those 3 they could only get hold of one of them. THat guy made things a little easier for me as he was resisting a lot and got the brunt of their boots. They did not touch me, because i was acting real guilty and they thought i was a better prospect to fleece more money than the other guy. ANd they were beating him to make me nervous. They quite succeeded in that too.

Now the threats began anew. From an initial demand of 5000 bucks they came down to 1000 bucks after much pleading. Some pointers for pleading in situations like these, (remember though that to use any of these you have to loose all your dignity, so use only when you have none of it left).

* I had not recharged my cellphone for the last week.

* I showed them some boils on my body which where there because I had no money for the treatment.

* I also gave them a glimpse of the socks I was wearing one of each pair.

All in all after lots of teary eyed begging they let me go keeping my cellphone as security and asked me to get back in an hour with 1000 bucks. I got back to my base and borrowed the money and went back. On the way, i had got 2 of the Rs 100 notes into 10s.

I purposely ran the last 400 metres to get very sweaty and with my breathe out of control told that i have brought the money. They asked me how much have i brought, upon which they suddenly became very angry saying that they had agreed upon 3000 bucks. They know no shame. Anyway they took pity on my condition and gave me 200 bucks for which i thanked them.

Lots of you will consider me a fool to have done what I did, and well….you may be even right. But than again can a fool see his own foolishness, because i have seen traces of it. I do not claime to have done the right thing or the best thing, but at least now I would not feel guilty about not trying. ALso in addition i have learnt some lessons which have cost me 800 bucks. And the lessons i have got, does not have, “dont run away from the police” in it. I will not go as far as saying that, I consider it as a course with a fee of 800 but thats not far from the truth. Apart from the course i also got some bonus punches, thats the whole truth. As for the tutorial please hang on, I’ll write it soon along with the lessons.

Click and EARN

We have a tendency to copy everything from the west. Not that it is bad. I read somewhere that most ideas genrate in the west. I am not contesting that statement nor accepting it.

THe latest case is the get paid by clicking on links. ANd this is for indian citizens only. And the going by the advertisents, some of which are from at least known companies (like ICICI bank, citibank, and NGO’s like childline etc.) maybe they are really telling the truth.

They have a tracker which only allows one link to be clicked in an interval of abt 30-60 seconds. and pay from 1 Re to 5 Re per click. Also there is a sign up bonus of 500 bucks. ANd off course there is a referral system where you could refer friends and get a cut. So if you have some 10 mins of spare time and free internet ;), click on this

cooking things up

Its quiet some days since I have posted. But when I am not cooking the bloggy version of saambaar I am doing the actual thing. My friends have rented a house nearby and invested in some kitchen appliances. But none of them have any instinct for cooking. It took a very confident me to get them to buy things and start. I never told them that I have never done this before.

Leaving a few incidents like when I opened a pressure cooker without letting out the extra steam, its been fairly easy. And the food turned out not too bad either. But alls well that ends well, fortunately it seems that i have a pair of god gifted cooks hands. Its funny how the rice I cook endures a variable number of whistles in the pressure cooker but still comes out good. And now homemade food is never very far. All I have to do is to call and ask them to buy all the things and go and supervise.

Bacheya ye Asemaan (The Children of Heaven)

If I do not write this now, the last remnants of its memory will be lost. So without further ado –

This movie is about children so good, that everyone would want to father [v] or mother [v] kids like these. In fact I believe that every newborn has the inherent potential to be like the characters in this film. So start planning if you havent already.

PLOT OUTLINE : Ali and Zohren, bigger brother (10 year types) and younger sister (7 year types) face a problem. To the 99% (hmm…maybe less) world population the problem would seem trivial, but to them this is a big issue. Nevertheless they decide to handle this on their own. With a sick mother and a father with a low income, they have an exceptionally balanced mixture of innocence and maturity. Also even though they are needy, when they see some one more so, they know the right thing to do.

INkBLOT REvieW: Ali is out in the market with his sister’s torn shoes for repair. While some further grocery shopping he loses the shoe, when a ragpicker takes it by mistake. This is the beginning of an ordeal for him and Zohren. He convinces her to not tell mother about it. In one small room which constitutes their house, with little room for privacy zohren uses innovative methods to communicate her worry about being unable to go to school, without her only pair of shoes. They finally decide her using his sneakers for her morning school and then bringing it back for Ali who has school in the afternoons.

This becomes a routine, with she racing home everyday with her heart in her mouth. Even then Ali is late everyday for his classes, leading to his headmaster noticing and warning him. Finally he sees a way out of this problem and tries to end it. The way he does this would bring a mixture of laughs and tears to everyones eyes and I do not want to spoil the fun. YOu better watch it yourself.

Now some of the things which impressed me greatly. Such child actors I have never seen before. Especially Ali, who emotes with such ease without going overboard, I give him my very own Oscar.

THe director Majid Majidi has taken care that the center of focus remains on the kids without the other issues like poverty, the rich-poor divide, the hope of the next generation doing much better economically etc etc. Saying that he has shown the background of the ethos of the iranian society which is essential for our understanding the central issue. BUt essentially the subject is universal and you could see the same brother sister duo at a traffic jam selling flowers and magazines, IF you look carefully.

DEVRAI- review

Language – Marathi
Director – Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar
Cinematography – Debu Deodhar

Devrai means ‘the sacred grove’ in marathi. The concept of the sacred grove finds its place in many regions. In kerala they have the “Paamb Kaav”, which is infact a sacred grove offered to snakes. After declaring a piece of land as a “kaav” no cultivation or gathering is done there. Gradually the land is taken over by ant hills and then snakes.

PLOT OUTLINE – This is the story of Shesh, who is a schizophrenia patient and completely obssessed by devrai. So much so that his mind renders a whole devrai for him with mango trees and creepers anywhere, anytime. We in fact get inside his mind and can see his imaginations. The plot moves along the path of Shesh’s
recovery assisted by his sisters utmost care and his own inner will to be sane.

INKBLOT review –
I like films which have layers. Which convey a message subtly enough that the audience do not feel being force fed by the director. This film does that and more.

It tries to help people in understanding the idea that mental diseases like schizophrenia are very similar to physical ones in the fact that are curable and are caused by inconsistencies in the body. On a sidenote, I have read that the gene responsible for schezophrenia is tha same as that of high intelligence.

At another level it delves into one of the questions I had in mind for some time. The question as worded by me is – “The world consists of two kinds of people, sane and insane. Here sane and insane mean what they do in real world, the one
in majority think only their actions are sane and whoever strays from the norm is insane.
The question is what would happen if one day the number of insane people outnumbers that of sane.Of course we have to assume that the insane people think that the actions of ‘all’ their members is normal. What would happen than?”

Well it is more of a probable situation than a question, and the answer would be they would put the ‘sane people’ in the asylums.

The situation which i have worded with such difficulty is shown in the movie. Its not on the outter level but it is there.There is a scene where Shesh’s sister has just read a book on devrai and questions her husband if any of the things her brother says is wrong, about saving the trees etc..Also where the husband acknowledges the confusion after seeing the violence and senselessness in the news.

And off course their is the message to save the environment.

One thing i was really impressed was by the cinematography. In the scenes of his virtual world tha camera moves around chaotically like a lover’s fingers through her tresses. The camera goes down and gives a snake eye view, which reinforces the oneness that Shesh shares with devrai.Another thing i noticed was using mirror reflections throughout the movie to good effect.

The actor playing shesh does a wonderful job and his confusion can be seen even in his eyes. Sonali kulkarni has done a good job overall but I think at some points she has overdone the village belle in the city routine. Considering that they had lived in U.S for a while (if my memory is correct) and in pune for so many years, and the fact that her english is also good without any village accent.
Her husband has done a far better role. Gradually moving from the ‘irritated with brother in law’s behaviour’ to empathising with him.

Another thing which fascinated me was the portrayal of parvathi, the Devrai deity. She is shown as someone with great power, but distraught. WHile Shesh is
jealous of any men around parvathi, he also knows that she should not be dessecrated. His love for her has components of love to a mother as well as a lover.