Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...
Monday, August 27, 2012
This article was published in Word Splash, an e-zine, in the August issue Living a Legend
When I was a child, I was never glued to the television set. Watching a full movie undoubtedly was out of the question. I was never what people may term as a movie-buff. I started watching movies much later. Though several times I tried sitting with my parents to watch a movie, I would be in my seat for only a few minutes because my boredom cells almost always compelled me to leave the room within a few minutes.
The first movie that I fully watched was one of Rajesh Khanna’s. And I cried after it was over. Watching the legend cry on screen, I could not stop my tears. My sibling and cousins laughed at me when I wept after watching the movie in the tiny television set of the 90’s. When I tried wiping his tears in the television set itself, everyone around me broke into a hysterical laughter. The film was the famousHaathi Mere Saathi, made for children with itsDisney-ish appeal replete with a friendly elephant. The more appealing character in the film was the hero of this movie, the legendary Rajesh Khanna. He became my favorite actor ever since, and still comes first in my list.
The “first superstar” of Hindi Cinema, as he is still referred to, had seen it all; he had been an actor, a director as well as a politician. His first movie Aakhri Khat (Last Letter) is dated back to 1966. Incredible as it may sound, 73 of his movies ran for more than 50-weeks each (Golden Jubilee Hits) in movie theatres across the country. He remained the highest paid Indian actor for a decade till 1979. In the period from 1980-1987 he still was the highest paid along with veteran actor Amitabh Bachhan.
Unlike the highly paid actors of our generation, Khanna was not born with a silver spoon. His real name was Jatin Khanna. With no father or relative in the film industry, he had participated in a talent hunt organized by Filmfare and United Producers in 1965 and was the winner that year. He then changed his name to Rajesh Khanna at the advice of an uncle. He rose to fame with blockbusters like Aradhana, Ittefaq, Baharon Ke Sapne, and many more.
Apart from being an actor and winning numerous Filmfare awards, he served as a Lok Sabha member of the Indian National Congress from New Delhi constituency from 1992-1996.
Rajesh Khanna, fondly called Kaka, was the one who gave Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar their first break in Indian Cinema as screenwriters for the movie Haathi Mere Saathi. The duo became so famous that it was mainly because of them that the job of being a writer for films became popular.
Rajesh Khanna can be named as the most popular actor in the history of Hindi cinema. His obsessive fans used to write him letters using their own blood as ink. His cars were often found to be smeared with lipstick marks. He was mobbed by fans in his public appearances and they would keep cheering and chanting his name as he passed by. The craze for him was so intense that girls used to marry his photograph and used their own blood as the vermillion.
The demise of the legendary actor has left his numerous fans, friends and family grief-stricken. He died at the age of 69 on 18th July 2012 due to deteriorating health. As a tribute to their father, both his daughters – Twinkle and Rinkie Khanna have expressed their desire to convert his bungalow, Aashirvaad into a museum.
The superstar has left on his final journey, perhaps to join the celestial stars as children say. But his last words still ring in our ears reminding us of the great actor he was. At his last breath, all he said while leaving the world forever were the words an actor says while leaving the sets of a film shoot “Time is up. Pack up.”
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A huge fan I am of the actor Salman Khan, but as asked by my friends for an unbiased review (i.e. assuming it was just another actor and not THE Salman Khan) here it goes:
5 stars is what I would give it just after recalling Salman's face once, but "committing" to my promise as stated above, I am giving it somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. Now, I know that many critics have given it 3 stars but ignoring every other review or the star's charisma I give it a 4 that goes solely to the movie. One star I have deducted because the dialogues at the very first scene did not live up-to my expectations. Nor was Salman looking his very best (I felt like he was having a cold or the likes of that). The action scenes were not over shown or dramatic like that of Bodyguard’s (albeit it came as a nice surprise to me). But the unexpected twists and turns after the interval of the movie are what made the movie one of a kind. You would expect something to happen while the opposite happens. I could feel the people sitting around me thrilled and anticipating. When Zoya (Katrina’s character) was shot the whole audience of the Hall was praying to let her not die. When Salman was shot in an unexpected situation the whole audience let aloud a gasp in unison. When they succeeded the whole audience clapped and rejoiced. Such things are what make a movie a great one.
Katrina has done a commendable job in the movie. The stunts pulled by her were worth applauding. It is undoubtedly her best. Salman was again in a different character with a different attitude than the characters of his previous movies. The recent Salman Khan movies were all blockbusters. This was supposed to be one too. And no matter how it turns out for other viewers I would say it has the most gripping story than all the other ones. No one seemed willing to miss any part of it. There was hurry among all in the snacks’ queue during the interval. After the 2.5 hours, everyone came out of the Hall with a smile.
I would, finally, conclude that it was worth my 200 bucks. I would have been missing a great deal if I didn’t go for the show. And no matter what, like all Salman Khan Movies, the Hall was full packed with a cheerful crowd.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
This entry is written for a contest of Indiblogger http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/
I was just wandering on the corridors of the school after my geography class with my fellow IXth grade classmates. And there was he, crossing our aisle smiling at one of my friends. Awestruck, I took a moment to regain my consciousness. ;) Clever me, I did not waste a minute and asked my friend who was he. And within seconds I gathered as much information about him as possible.
"Teddy bear" was the first word that came to my mind (and also to my lips) after recalling him once more. A silly name it was to give to a handsome and yet cute guy christened Rahul. But for the next two years he spent at our school, this became his nickname. Ovations to me :).
But he was not someone who would sit quietly after learning that I gave him a nickname just after a few days of him joining class XIth. Just the day after we got introduced to each other by our mutual friend priyanka, he started calling me "Polar bear". :O. Now that was injustice. How can he call such a pretty girl a bear? I still do not have the slightest idea what made him call me so. :O. Never mind, some boys are dumbos by birth. :D.
So this is how it all began. It seems more like beginning of enmity than love. But then again, we were too young to understand what true love is.
Days passed by, and we became more and more fond of each other. He would give me a ring on my phone and we would talk for hours. I remember once he bought me a pair of earrings, Silly me, I asked him how much to pay him for it.
Then one day when I was talking to Priyanka I learned that he had a girlfriend. Wait, what’s that sound? Oh, it was my heart breaking into pieces. But yes, he actually was in a relationship with someone. At that time what bothered me was why did my heart break after getting to know that? I consoled myself by thinking that maybe this is what people call as crush, may be hearts are actually "crush"ed after having a crush.(LOL)
So I made up my mind and continued our friendship. My crush could never replace our friendship. But the story did not end there. It was in January 2006 when he told me that he broke up with his girlfriend for some serious reason that was unknown to me then. And I was stupid enough to feel bad for him than to cherish the fact that it would be just me and him from then on.
Time passed on and he never got a chance to tell me that he discontinued his relationship with that girl for me, nor did I ever ask. All that I learned from Priyanka is that the other girl was unfaithful.
It was on an April morning when Priyanka told me that my Teddy bear's going to propose me that day. May be he had it prepared from a few days. But this came as a shock to me for the fact that I had “moved on” since I learned about his girlfriend, and also because those days I was topped with too many proposals to give him a thought. I broke a sweat. Yes, I was inexplicably nervous and I had no idea why. Getting proposals was nothing new to me nor was rejecting someone. But still I definitely was nervous. I wondered why I was behaving so weakly and consoled myself thinking that it was the peer pressure I was getting that day. Obviously, I was too young to think of the reason, love. And believe it or not, I actually thought of rejecting him.
Till the last teaching period, every student of my class was aware of the coming proposal and everyone was giving some reason or the other to accept it. But I had already made my mind. Then the musketeer, Priyanka came up with the reason that he wants to teach his ex a lesson and that’s why he's proposing to me and as a friend I need to help him and that after he finishes his XIIth our relationship will be over. Now for humanity's sake (read: stupidity) I agreed. So there was he claiming that he loves me, with a clean heart and I accepted his proposal thinking that there's mutual understanding that this is just an act.
Days passed by and I continued to carry the misconception with me. I did not realize when this sacrifice turned into love nor did he realize when love became a suffix to the term 'true'.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Five + 1 Things your ophthalmologist should tell you (while they don’t usually)
Revelations of common myths about your eye
It has been five long years that I am bespectacled and every time I visit my eye doctor, I come home with a disappointment. No matter how frequently or how infrequently I get my eye checked up, it always turns out that I need more powerful glasses. Being a girl I hate the fact that I have to wear specs the rest of my life. More heart rendering is the fact that instead of recovering, the ability of my eyes to see clearly is decreasing every day. (Will I get blind one day?) I wanted to know why and ended up having an hour long chat with an eye surgeon who lives nearby my place. After the chat I feel like never visiting my old ophthalmologist again. I hate her now. I am already suffering with eye problems but I don’t want others too. So here I am, sharing the knowledge I gained, so that you know what to ask for while getting your eye checked up. The following are the myths I had or my friends had and the truths as told by my new neighbour – Dr. Bhattacharya. (Now if you never had the myths that I had, don’t look at me in disgust, people may think silly at times)
1. We go to visit the eye doctor usually at an older age and end up saying –“Playing too much video game ruined my eyes” or “I used to watch TV from the chair closest to it, now I am ruined for the same” or “The teacher’s bad handwriting ruined my eyes”. Well, no way can the above sentences be true. As the doctor said, and as we all had studied in class VIII physics that we have eye problems because the images which were supposed to be formed on the retina (imagine it to be like a tiny curtain within the eye ball) get formed in front of it or behind it but not on it. And that’s why we see the stuffs as smaller or larger but not as their actual size. (See your old science book for further details, don’t expect me to explain any further as I am only here to clear the myths and not the concepts :-P ) . Now this is a syndrome that can’t be created by itself after watching much TV or playing much e-games or even studying too much. If you are myopic or hypermetropic it’s because you were born that way.
Parents usually don’t realize that their kids might have eye troubles. When kids insist to get a closer view while watching TV, parents think that they like it that way. The kids never realize because they think everyone else sees the world like they do. It’s when they get their usual seats rotated in the classroom that they realize that they can’t see the written words of the blackboard clearly when they sit either on the first bench or on the last bench. That’s why it takes us from 7-15 years or so to tell our parents that we need to get our eye checked up. If your kid has a similar problem, you better take them to an eye clinic.
Now don’t feel bad and think that you are “defective by default”. You are not. Bhattacharya Sir explains this quite in a funny way – “An Ostrich’s egg and a Hen’s egg may be larger and smaller respectively than a Duck’s egg, but nevertheless they are eggs. “
2. Every time I used to go to my previous Ophthalmologist she used to say, “You need so much power, I am afraid, I suggest glasses of lower power, so that you can adjust with it from the first day itself”. Now this is where she was wrong, as said by Dr. Bhattacharya. As a result I adjusted with my new glasses pretty well at the end of the day but my eyes still could not see things clearly (I need cylindrical power too) and faced stresses. Consequently I ended up needing more power on my next visit. She again decreased it and the cycle continued. Recently I realized that in one year the power I need increased a lot. Now a fluctuation (increase or decrease) of 0.75 is considered normal by doctors. Unfortunately mine wasn’t.
Moral of the story: Next time your doctor says the same way mine did; tell him/her to prescribe you 6 by 6 power. Now 6 by 6 is a ratio which means the power you need to see things just like anyone else with normal eyesight does. (It is called 6 by 6 because it enables you to see the alphabet chart in the eye clinics clearly from a distance of 6 ft.)
Unfortunately I was given 5/6 so I still have problems while trying to read words on the class blackboard.
3. Eyelid swellings (called sty when it is major) is a problem I started having from a few months. I had eyelid swellings thrice or four times in a period of six months. Doctor said it’s because I need more power. Friends said it is infectious and I should wash my hands with sanitizers before touching anyone.
Uncle Bhattacharya says, “It’s so not.” It is not infectious and is a characteristic of a person just like his/her soft skin or thick hair etc. It is not directly related to the power you need but indirectly it holds true. When you have trouble seeing with your eye or you have dirt in your eye you rub it. You rub it so hard that it leaves your eyes red and the eyelids lose their outer skin (epidermis, if I am not wrong). Now when new skin is formed they might be formed in a slightly larger amount than required. As a result a tear gland is blocked and you have eyelid swellings.
Moral of the story: You should wash your eyes regularly not to let dirt stay. Massaging eyelids softly can open blocked pores if any.
4. Eye Surgery: For squint eye if you undergo a surgery, all they do is cut and loosen the muscle tissues holding your eye ball so as to bring the black part of the eye ball (pupil) to the middle position. Scary.
Scarier it is if you want a laser treatment (LASIK) for your eye, to adjust your power permanently. While doing that they cut a tiny part of your cornea. Then they expose your eye to laser beams which cut the lens inside your eye ball tangentially at parts so that (fills me with dread even while writing this) the image formed falls on the retina. The cut part of the cornea is again fitted into its place. (Ewww!)
5. Contact lens are advised for cosmetic purpose (i.e. if you want to look good, and avoid the marks of your spectacles) and for comfort too. While wearing specs you have to lift your head or turn left and right to see things clearly that are not in front of you. This is because spectacles are so made that the area near its boundaries doesn’t have the same power as the middle portion. But contact lens covers the whole cornea and as a result you can just roll your eyes in whichever direction and see things clearly. Advantages are many but their disadvantages are that you can wear them continuously for maximum 8 hours. They come costly for those who have cylindrical power, and they are to be changed every year. They are to be kept in a liquid solution which doctor gives you.
Common myth is that if you wear contact lens your eyes will itch. It only itches if dirt gets its way in and this is because spectacles protect your eyes to some extent from dirt or any other particles that, in its absence, would have hit they eye directly while it ain’t so in the case of contact lenses.
6. Tear glands are located behind the outer part of each upper lid too along with the corners near the nose.
There is no moral to this point. I didn’t know this, wondered if you do.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
If I have to narrate the story of my marriage, the entire story, well, then it might take a week or two for you to read. So making the long story short let me take you directly to its climax. It all began with a phone call; A phone call that was the root of all our differences.
“so.. wanna go out tomorrow?” it was the first thing he said after I picked up his call on the landline (In those days cellular phone was a luxury for only those who were willing to pay bills for their incoming calls too).
Mother was waiting nearby so I could not say anything that might seem “bad” to her prying ears. As suspicious as ever she sat by my side pretending to look at one of the fashionable fountain pens I had between my fingers.
“Yes, I was just doing the homework, it will be done by midnight.. I will hand it over to you tomorrow at college.” I answered him something totally irrelevant to what his question was.
“Huh? Oh.. ok.. see ya.” He hung up.
After answering to Mom’s inquiry about who was on the other side of the line and why couldn’t he do the homework himself, I returned to my study table with a grin. Message received. I was amazed at myself that I could, in such a short time, think of such a smart answer to escape from Mom’s suspicions, moreover it was an encoded message easy for him to decipher. I rock!
At midnight I sat beside the telephone which was, as luck would have it, in my bedroom. Having understood my message clearly he rang me exactly at midnight. My message to him was simple – homework will be done by midnight meant I will be awake and you can call me at midnight; while the latter part of what I said meant that in case you are unable to call we will meet tomorrow at college; and of course the affirmation in the beginning of my sentence meant yes, I will go out with you. Clever!
“Hey, where you planning to go tomorrow” I asked with a hushed voice just to avoid waking up my parents from the shrill of my voice.
“Somewhere cheap, don’t want a hole in my pocket.”
“Yeah sure, but how will you ever a handle a girlfriend if you flinch like this while taking a friend out once in a year, and do I have to remind you that I deserve this treat from you, after all I had won that bet.”
“whoa! whoa! Girlfriend? Who wants a girlfriend? I am going to marry the perfect bride that my Mom chooses for me.” He retorted.
“Oh, come on Adi, no one, I repeat no one believes in arranged marriages, they are a curse.”
“Really? So you wanna say your parents’ marriage is a curse?”
“No.. I mean..”
“It means you are the outcome of a curse,, no doubt in that.” He laughed hysterically.
“Phew! Okay, let me rephrase that.. IN TODAY’S GENERATION no one believes in arranged marriages.. I mean, how can you decide to spend your whole life with someone whom you have met just once or twice before marriage? Not to forget the physical proximities. How can such things happen with someone you had never known your whole life?”
“Huh? Don’t pressurize your tiny brain.. Just know that in a race we put our bet on the best pony. In a similar way, if you wanna marry, then marry the best person, most suitable to you and only an arranged marriage can conduct those PIs and GDs and select the best candidate.” He laughed after delivering his statement that really made sense.
In my defense, I spoke “Alright, you may get the best person, but that person may not be the best for you.. You may not be compatible with her.”
“Why? Of course they will have to pass the compatibility test in the PI we will be conducting.”
“But one day, in fact, one single interview is not enough to know a person. You can know their qualities and abilities but not their emotions and feelings.”
“Who cares about emotions? My Mom will handle that.”
“Then why don’t you let your Mom marry instead of you marrying her”
Maybe he was enraged or maybe because it was around 4:00am by then, he just said “Not Funny” and hung up.
After having a sleep of mere two hours, it was time to wake up and go to college. We bunked a class and met for his treat at a nearby chaat house.
Recalling about the debate of the previous night he brought up the topic again. “Well I was sleepy last night so here it goes- My Mom makes the best choices always. She is flawless in choosing and deciding.”
“Wake up and smell the coffee. You are marrying, you aren’t buying clothes.”
“Nothing can stop you from blabbering, right? I don’t understand why are you so pro love anyway? Most of the love marriages end in divorce, and you wanna know why? That’s because they have little respect left for each other since they would have known each other from years already.”
“It’s not disrespect. It’s just lack of formality, the freedom to be completely oneself with each other, the comfort to say anything and everything.”
“Well, there may not be any disrespect but there sure is distrust. They don’t trust the other with the company of anyone of the opposite sex.’’
“It’s not distrust, dear. It’s their love for each other that result in possessiveness and jealousy.”
“And this thing called Love dies soon after marriage. Don’t you know that? Lovers change after marriage. Their priorities change. Everything seems sweet until the doomsday arrives. He will start treating you like shit from the very next day. That’s why I say, date as many girls as you can but take home the girl your Mom chooses for you.’’
“Now that’s cheap talk. Girls aren’t playthings. If they date some guy it means they care for him.” I snapped back with anger.
“Cool down! All girls aren’t like you- One Love kinda. They will date many but finally take home someone with the cash.’’ He said that with a smirk.
“Phew! True love happens only once, so does marriage. And one should always marry someone they love. That’s what I know. So love marriage suits us all the best. And that concludes this debate of ours.”
“Ya sure, and what if the person, whom you love, loves someone else, and that someone else loves some other person, and that person loves another and so on.. Then the whole world will run after one another with Varmaala’s in their hands” He laughed and went to the counter to pay our bills.
What he said took a moment in my head to settle down with a meaning. Well, it did make sense, if no one in the world loved back the person who loved them and instead loved someone else then there will be complete chaos.
I went near him and replied with a sad face. “If such a thing happens with me, I guess I won’t marry anyone”.
“Exactly! And if there are more stupid girls like you in this world then the world will surely be a bachelor party and instead of population explosion, we humans will be extinct” He answered with a content, maybe thinking that the discussion is over and he won.
“Well, they always say marry the person who loves you and not the one you love, so I guess, I will marry the one who will love me and it will still be a love marriage” This time I wore a smile on my face.
“Sweetheart! The guy who loves you must be loved by yet another girl and he would also want to marry her applying your funda.”
“Oh shut up, there has to be couples who love each other and no one else.”
“And what about those who aren’t loved back? Or they haven’t developed that feeling called love for anyone?”
I was quiet, unable to admit that my logical explanations were actually illogical.
He spoke, “So, I guess no love marriage for them?”
“So, that’s it dear,, couple who love each other, and people who are loved will get the privilege of a love marriage. Others will have to go for arranged marriages.”
“Or can remain single forever?” I interposed expectantly.
“Yes.. true.. it depends on their choices whether they want to go for an arranged marriage as their parents and grandparents wish for or they want to wait for love or enjoy being single and career oriented forever.” He replied elaborately with a tranquil smile.
“Hmn..” I agreed. We walked silently for some time till we reached the college campus.
“So, do I deserve a vote of thanks for the treat?” He said brushing his hair with his hands.
But I was preoccupied with thoughts already to listen to him. All I replied was- “But don’t they say that there is always someone made for you in some corner of the earth?”
“What? You are still there?” He laughed but controlled his laughter as soon as he realized I was in no mood to leave without getting an answer.
“Well, ya it may be true that someone somewhere is made for you and only you. But the world’s a big place dear. It’s difficult to search each and every corner” He grinned. I was all ears so he continued, “Umm.. I guess in arranged marriages too the other person was actually made for you and that’s why you guys met and got married, although not coincidentally.”
“Hmn,,” I agreed “But…”
But before I could complete my query he answered as if understanding my question even before I uttered the words. “Since there are fewer women than men, some guys have to remain single. And some people do not try harder nor wait for their true love so they either end up having a failed marriage or a marriage with compromises or being single. The parents of some may not agree with their choices so again there are such marriages. And some people, by default, do not have the right person for them maybe because they are not good enough” He ended his speech with a loud laugh.
I smiled too. I couldn’t disagree with him anymore. We both had our reasons explained now. I had my silly queries answered too.
Years have passed after that long debate of ours and I still smile recalling each and every explanation of ours. Want to know what kind of marriages we both had?
Well, we ended up being together. When my parents were looking for a groom for me I realized I loved Adi and no one else. I told him it was only he with whom I could be happy and remain forever. The next day his parents were at our doorstep. Both families agreed and the wedding was planned.
We have a 10-year old daughter now. And when she asks us if ours was a love marriage, I say it was.While he still disagrees and says it was arranged by our parents. J