Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our Holy Dip

Our two day trip to Haridwar-Rishikesh (21st – 22nd) was energy and fun. Wish I could borrow the keyboard from hill goat and script a travelogue. Never mind, I’ll give it a shot.

The Shatabadi at 6.55 in the morning was too hard to catch after Mauli’s late night birthday bash….but we managed. Thanks to mom-dad for literally packing us up and throwing us at the station, dot on time. For Mauli, the train compartment was a room that had suddenly started to move. The journey started well, we were excited and on a high from the previous day…the enthusiasm level was so high that even the horrible cutlets for breakfast didn’t taste bad.

As we reached Haridwar, a 10 minute ride from the station to Khukhrain Bhawan (don’t ask me the reason for this name) was inviting amidst the welcoming hustle bustle in the market. The rooms had been already booked for us and we weren’t supposed to pay a penny (sounds good na?). As we were to move in to our allotted room, the manager demanded advance rent. Anuj couldn’t refuse and shyly slipped the money into the hands of this snow-haired gentleman.


At haridwar market, floating jot near the ghaat, duo at Chandi devi mandir, Mauli enjoying his meal
Our free booking was also entitled to meals at subsidized rates, but when we asked for food, we were refused. A frantic call back home gave me the realization that we were in a wrong place. Now who in the world could think there could be two ashrams with the same funny name? But there were.

After a failed argument with the snow-haired gentleman we persuaded each other saying how lucky we were to be in an ashram which is right across the ghaat: the har ki paudi. Only later we started to realize that this was for real. After an invigorating dip in the Ganges and a tummy-full puri-chola meal near the ghaat (I hope my gym instructor misses this one), we drowned…in the bed. Got up to catch on the evening aarti: more than a thousand devotees offering their prayers with the traditional om jai jagdish aarti, divinity and serenity, picturesque and soulful. Post aarti we did float our jot (a small leaf boat filled with flowers and a lamp to be lit) in the Ganges and offered prayers for our ancestors and future generations (hmm…romantic).

A evening well spend with me, Ana, and Mauli sitting on the ghaat left lonely post aarti, well lit between the darkness of the approaching night, with Gods from the temples smiling at us. A dinner of chulhe ki daal, tandoor ki roti, and pyaaz and we gave in to the insistence of our bed to consume us. Day 1 was hectic day.

For our adventures on day two, wait for the next post. (For those who read hill goat will know where this comes from)

Me interviewed!!!

Me featured in this month's issue of the MITWA (Mentors, Indexers, Technical Writers & Associates) newsletter. Check the embedded newsletter:


Thanks Abby for uploading the PDF and sending me the code.

You can directly access the newsletter at: http://static.scribd.com/docs/2ymp7dtyk6ebd.pdf

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Water…but why?

Saw Deepa Mehta’s Water last night. Deepa is incredible in her work. The direction, the screenplay, the background scores, music, performances…everything was impeccable. But why?

I am not questioning Deepa, the director, but I sure want to question Deepa, the story teller. A story, so sad, so painful, so hurting: so intense that even your popcorn becomes soggy with tears. I agree with her excellence in conceiving and delivering her ideas, but I fail to understand why we want to show a dark page of the old age Indian society to the world. I mean why?

Every movie has to have intent: to entertain, to educate, to inform, or at least show that evil loses to good. But there has to be a purpose. Even Fire brought the same-sex relations to picture and kind of created a debate in the society. There were discussions, exchange of thoughts…and so there was a purpose well established and to an extent, achieved. But what about Water?

The movie set in India during the 1930s, tells the story of impoverished child widows, abandoned by their families and forced into prostitution. We all know about it and we all know that the social status of widows, if not too good, is at least better than what it was in the pre independence days. So why just portray the harsh hitting chapter of history and show it to the world?

Now I am no way trying to say that all that controversy around the movie was right. I feel that Deepa enjoys every right to go with her creation. But is it a film. Not by Wikipedia standards which says that Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful method for educating-or indoctrinating citizens. It cannot even be termed Alternative cinema as that is described as films and videos that provide an alternative to commercial media or to conventional topics and forms, dealing with subjects, points-of-view and formal elements not found in the mainstream. Water does not qualify any of these definitions. People who enjoy only commercial cinema would sure jump of the chairs and die.

Water is just about reading a sad, very sad page from history with absolute perfection. I admire that perfection, but why read something that just leaves you agonized. Why?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

So long

Hey days are really flying by, and this hated busy-ness…well I don’t really hate it...do I? But ya, last week just flew past. Work at office is real good these days and visit to the park with Mauli takes away the evening. Three days at the hospital (well no serious reasons, just found the doc too cute) wasn’t too good a reason to waste the weekend on. But it has sure generated a healthier me…instilling in a positive feel about this newly found love in life…The GYM (hey, close that mouth). My visit to the gym every evening is sure making me feel good (read as lighter) - courtesy the poor instructor whose machines must be creaking by the end of the month. But the guy sure motivates me and has promised me ‘perfect ten’. Amen

Movie update: too many on the list. 300 (i did'nt enjoy it), Red (DO NOT WATCH IT), Time Machine (super cool fiction), and Ghost rider (so-called horror which left even mauli laughing).