Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolutions or the lack of it...

It’s that time of the year again: yes, Christmas, New Year, birthday- all together. And like every year, I get super excited, I start making adventurous plans about how to usher in the new year, and top it up with extremely ambitious new year resolutions! No matter how different my plans or resolutions are, the end result is usually the same: i.e. I end up doing NOTHING adventurous or even remotely interesting on new year and I end up following none of my resolutions, which also explains why I still weigh approximately the same I used to some 3 years back (and I still can’t fit into the beautiful yet ambitious dress I bought two years back in the hope that someday I will fit into it)

So this year I have decided to make a different list, stating things I WILL NOT do in 2010:

1.Make unrealistic promises to myself, i.e. (losing weight, finding a job that pays a lot and involves a lot of writing, being in a fulfilling relationship)
2.Make plans of doing something noble and keep postponing the plan, i.e. (joining a gym, being a part of an NGO, getting in touch with long lost friends)
3.Well, basically making an ass of myself
But 2010 will be about simple things done right: i.e. being happy with myself (the way I am), not having too many expectations, not having too many forward looking plans, taking each day as it comes, laughing a lot, listening a lot, and yes, writing a LOT!!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Maverick turned conventional...

3 Idiots: the most awaited movie of the year, in a year that has seen a dismal performance by Bollywood with big budget movies tanking in the box office; the movie slated to bridge that gap between the masses and the classes; the movie that depicts what goes behind the scenes in the elite institutes of India; the movie which brings together the genius of a successful investment banker turned writer Chetan Bhagat and a successful filmmaker Raju Hirani (of the Munnabhai fame); the movie which was expected to showcase the versatility of Aamir Khan yet again (after all, he kind of has the knack of saving the best for the last, at the fag end of the year, when the expectations of the audience is really low after being put through some braindead nonsense in the name of creativity)…

No wonder the critics showered it with good reviews, and suddenly for a change, five stars seemed inadequate to describe what was considered to be easily the best entertainer of the year. The audience seemed happy as I closely observed the status messages of my friends on facebook and gtalk. Yet, I am going to stick my neck out, and at the risk of committing an act of national treachery, admit that I found the movie just about, well, five point something on a scale of ten! And, mind you I watched the movie on the day it released, on Christmas Eve, even before I had read any reviews or watched any trailers or heard any third person’s opinion…
Yes, it is hilarious at times (especially the “chamatkar balatkar” speech and the sequence where they mix up the exam papers), endearing at others (where Sharman Joshi finally stands up for himself during his interview in spite of being relegated to the wheelchair and Madhavan convinces his dad to let him follow his dreams), and some of the characters stand out despite their limited scope (millimeter and pia: for the first time, I found Kareena Kapoor appealing in her spirited spunky role).

Yet, something somewhere didn’t quite fit in; it seemed that the movie was trying too hard; that it was playing safe, keeping in mind the sensibilities of an average Indian audience and trying to give them their due of 2.5 hours of thorough entertainment (and hence the song-and-dance, the unnecessary delivery sequence, the typical kidnap of the bride from her wedding); that it was fully aware of the high stakes and hence being politically correct, and hence trying to make everyone happy, and in the process losing its plot a little! Too many events, too many twists in the tale ended up diluting the key message. Bit of an irony, given that it was about being a maverick instead of towing conventional wisdom, but the movie itself, ended up doing just that: being a conventional potboiler…

My favourite sequence in the movie: the scene where the bearded student (forgot his name) gives up after failing to meet the project deadline, sits in the dark, playing his guitar, “give me some sunshine, give me some rain, give me another chance, I wanna grow up again”… touches a chord with all of us, and yet retains that elitist IITian flavor.

Aamir Khan is brilliant as ever, and sans dark circles and wrinkles (unlike a visibly old college student played by Shahrukh Khan in KKHH) but then again, it’s kind of a sad commentary on the directors and the new age actors, when a 44 year old has to play half his age to sell a movie (or is it just another instance of playing safe?)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The "Aquired" Taste... why "acquire"?

So this weekend I attended (correction: I was forced to attend) a classical music concert by Pandit Ravishankar and his daughter Anoushka Shankar, thanks to my dad, who, thanks to his job, gets free passes to all such “elite” events, and he insists that it’s high time I “acquire the taste for good things in life!” Now I have never understood this concept of “acquired taste”. I mean, if I don’t like it, I don’t. Why do I need to “acquire” this taste? I am comfortable being myself: i.e. this tasteless, culturally challenged simple person, who doesn’t know how to spend her Sunday evening in Mumbai because there aren’t any movies left to be seen and she is yet to “acquire” the taste for the finer things of life. If anything, I would like to acquire the taste for wine, or at least whisky… I have been trying that for some time now, but I am yet to get there!

Now contrary to me, my dad is someone who has acquired many a new taste, and he insists that for an individual to grow, it is very important! Can’t argue with that… and to some extent, I did acquire a taste for some of the things which I hated to begin with: rock music, Jane Austen, and of course, boys (the latter has proved to be quite a disaster), but classical music? I don’t think so!

I mean, no offence to Pandit Ravishankar, but I am really no judge of instrumental music, so there is no point saying how awesome the concert was! He plays to a very niche audience: half of which is truly connoisseurs of classical music, and the other half is like my dad- corporate yuppies who have been offered free passes to attend the concert because their company is sponsoring it, or they have been invited by their clients, whose company is a sponsor! You get the drift! The problem arises when they decide to bring their ignorant, aesthetically challenged daughters who don’t fit in and who have no intention of fitting in; who dress casually in jeans and a T shirt amidst elegantly clad ladies wrapped in expensive sarees and big bindis; who have their eyes fixated on the “Exit” gate; who keep counting each second of the two and a half hour program (torture); who appreciate talent but from a distance; who would rather spend weekends lounging around in red pajamas with equally obscure friends; who are comfortable in their own world without trying to “acquire” the finer tastes of life…

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How I Survived a Wedding...

I hate weddings, or anything remotely to do with them: reception, sangeet, engagement, roka, and the thousands of other rituals associated with them. But lately that’s all that I have been inflicted with and it is getting on my nerves big time. Each time I open my Facebook homepage, there is some update on somebody getting married/engaged or changes in relationship status or worst of all, photos being put up of some obnoxiously expensive ceremony. As if that’s not enough, there will some 100 people commenting on the same, and another 100 people replying to it, resulting in a long chain of exchanges, all of which, note, are dutifully reported on MY homepage, even though I am remotely interested/bothered about it.

So with this kind of a negative attitude towards the Big Fat Indian Wedding scenario, I traveled all the way to Delhi (Faridabad to be specific) to attend the wedding of my ex room mate. It was a hard fought battle, and both the bride and the groom are close friends of mine, and most our entire CKB gang was going to be present. It was the first big wedding of our Symbi family, so we were all adequately excited, some (namely an alien called Webstar) more than the others! After a two hour struggle with my sari (borrowed from my mum) which left me with no time for make-up or hair (which, by the way looks abnormally flat on the scalp now that I have committed hara-kiri) we were on our way to Faridabad. As it is, I looked ghastly, and the bumpy ride through the Delhi traffic made it worse. So another two hours later, when we were finally there (and handsomely conned by the cabby), I was a picture of disaster! The Delhi cold kind of made it easier, as I wrapped a shawl around me and planted myself on a chair, determined not to move for the rest of the night. The wedding was long and detailed, as Kashmiri weddings are, with most people leaving or dozing off in between. We had no place to go, so we were stuck there, even after the bride, the groom, and the rest of the relatives had left, drinking n cups of coffee, and waiting for daylight, so that we can go back to Delhi. The next day, the reception went off smoothly, though the aftermath did not. While divulging further details will violate privacy norms, let me just conclude that may be free alcohol is not the best idea, especially when you have an early morning flight to catch. However, it did add to my list of experiences, so I am not complaining. This will definitely go down as one of my favourite stories I will bore my grandchildren into hearing repeatedly!

So yes, I DO NOT like weddings, I DO NOT like the obnoxious displays of grandeur that most weddings involve, and I definitely DO NOT like the elaborate rituals. But somehow, when I saw my old roomie walk in dressed in red, looking like a goddess, when I saw the groom look at her, when I saw their eyes light up, it somehow seemed worth it! Every bit of it: the years of struggle, the contemplation, and the grand finale! Finally it was the celebration of being together with someone you love, it was the victory of heart over head, and in the end, everything else faded against this simple yet profound reality. I have seen so many relationships fail the test of time, the test of acceptance, the test of parochial differences, and the test of narrow social norms. This one, though, survived it all.

It was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEDDING I have ever attended, and my roomie (the same one I had seen lounging around in obnoxious yellow pyjamas in Room No. 213 for two years) was the most beautiful bride EVER!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Being straight!

Being a straight A student: Not that I have ever been one (and thank god for that), but I have heard from friends who were that it wasn’t as easy as we think it is! While the rest of the world thinks you have it all, that it’s a cakewalk for you, that life is easy because you don’t seem to work hard and yet, the As just keep pouring in, you yourself are embroiled in an internal conflict. Being a teacher’s pet doesn’t exactly make you popular among your peers, you are considered an ‘outsider’ and u don’t quite fit in! You’d rather score less marks and ‘belong’ with your friends instead of considered a geek with no social skills…

Being straight forward: Yes, it has its disadvantages, and God knows I have suffered. For one, you inevitably say things without thinking them through, and immediately regret them, but by then, it’ too late. You end up hurting people you love, and you are perpetually caught with your foot in the mouth, until you feel completely handicapped in a social situation, to the extent that you are scared to open your mouth, afraid that you will end up saying the wrong things at the wrong time. And being in the corporate world just magnifies this problem because you haven’t mastered the art of diplomacy and you are yet to get over the disease which prompts you to lay all your cards on the table in black or white, unpretentiously…

Having straight hair: Yes, I am not someone who was naturally endowed with poker straight silky hair. So like most teenaged girls with frizzy, wavy unmanageable hair I grew up admiring movie stars and models who flaunted their shiny long hair which glistened on the screen as I dolefully looked down at my curls. Once in a while I would get them ironed temporarily, admire myself for a couple of days, and then be back to my normal self, cursing my hair every day after a particularly fast auto ride which succeeded in making my hair look like a tangled up birds’ nest. So till now, my hair experiments have been like my relationships: short lived. But post my Hyderabad hair experiment, I decided to go all the way, to make that one year commitment. Now that I am earning and all, I thought it was the best time to take that leap of faith (before I am thrown out and jobless again). So three hours later and five grands poorer, I was there finally! My childhood dream come true. Only it was a nightmare… I HATED MY NEW LOOK! Yes I did look awkwardly sophisticated, but I didn’t feel sophisticated. I just felt like my usual gawky, crude self with a wig! I so so so want my mess of curls back. At least I will feel myself!!!

Being straight: This one is a no brainer! You thought being straight was easy? It was conventional? It was the socially acceptable thing? Wrong! The point is it deprives you of 50 percent of the population, and being a girl it’s harder, because it deprives you of the better 50 percent! So you are stuck with the rotten half, and even in that rotten half, the good ones are already taken!!

When did being straight become such a pain?