Friday, June 24, 2005

Self Respect

Lost in the thoughts of materialized views and parameterized cursors at 7:30 in the morning i was watching the trees go by next to my window seat in the train. The world seemed divided by a simple binary logic- the haves and the have nots. The 'have time to sleep' and the 'have not time to sleep' I was among the have nots ofcourse. The sudden appearance of the Ticket Checker jolted me out of the slumber that i was beginning to let my myself enjoy.

He was big, burly and rude. At first i could not understand why a man strode right in the middle of the ladies compartment and looked at us askingly. When i saw the all the rest of my fellow travellers fishing inside their bags, purses, wallets, i figured out the rest.

I took out my ticket and showed him and so did the other four of the six of us women seated on his left. But sitting next to me was a woman who seemed to take an eternity to take out her ticket. We all guessed it. she was travelling ticketless. Instead of a ticket there appeared in her hands a few medical prescritions.

She was going to the city to get herself checked by a doctor. There was no money in the house. For the past one month she had been travelling ticketless. Infact, she had no money to bus a bus ticket for herself.For the past two days she hadn't eaten anything.

All this was said, quitely and with dignity. As if the humiliation of it all were sufficient punishment to atone for her deeds. She stood in front of the checker, waiting to hear what he penalty he would impose.

None of us were surprised when he walked away without a word. As train reached the next station, two beggars aboded, asking for alms. Nearly everyone in our compartment opened their purses. I watched the irony of the situation. Sitting next to me was a person who probably needed money more than any of the beggars and yet her self respect would not allow her to beg. It is more difficult to be poor, when you want to keep your dignity intact.

I slipped some money in her hands silently just before getting off the train. I couldn't look into her eyes, because then, the humiliation would have been complete. I still don't know if i did the right thing because somewhere deep inside me i feel ashamed to know that i murdered a soulful of self respect for a few rupees more.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


I haven't seen the movie yet but having the unfair advantage of being a Bong, i read the novel last week. The novel is cute and yet delves deep into the psyche of the Indian male (not again!)

I am told Sanjay Dutt looks as Bong as Steve Waugh in Udayan. In the novel, Lalita the girl was 13 years old. Ofcourse, our censors will go snip, snip, snip, if we show child marriage.(Thank God! no one fagged in the movie)

After Devdas, this is the second of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's novels to be adapted for movies in Hindi. But the distortion is painful.

If i manage to watch the movie, i guess i am going to review by directly comparing with how much the movie has strayed from the book.

The truth about Sumana

Last week, i received a mail from this truly weird person i never heard of called V. He mails me a one liner


How you know Sumana?


I reply:
Hi ,

I know 4 different Sumanas' They also spell their names differently. The way you spelt it, i know 2 different Sumanas'.
So kindly give me the surname.
Its question time folks and my questions are as follows:

  1. How you know me?????

  2. Who are you?

  3. What difference does it make if I know Sumana (1, 2, 3 or 4). Hopefully none of them work for the Al Qaeda or have links with Dawood Ibrahim

  4. If you have an interesting offer for any of the aforesaid Sumanas, feel free to say it to me. I will be only too happy to convey the glad tidings. This is ofcourse subject to the condition that you answer truthfully the first 3 of my questions.

Guess i am done with it. What kindof a name is V? You must be a guy, isn't it?

V replies:
Ur reply is so fantastic.
i hope u are doing some p.hd or u did the same before. any way i will give a clear answer for all ur points u raised about my mail. now i have little bit busy yaar in office here in dubai. any way i am an indian guy

thanks V

Indian guys! My life for some strange reason has now been reduced to dealing with Indian guys who have water in their brains. I once knew an Indian guy who was worth being called a man but, he saw the company i was keeping and stayed away for fear of infiltrating his cells with H2O.

No reply from my side and V mails again:
Hi anwesa,

how you doing? hope very thing under control!


I finally lost it completely:

Would do you mind going back to school and taking your grammar classes again? If you are more proficient in Arabic, mail me in that. I'll take classes and try to read your mails. But spare me this ordeal of having to translate your English into the English that "we" speak.


PS- no longer interested in knowing how i know Sumana ?????

To be concluded...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pirates of the Caribbean

Last week I watched the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Curse of the Black Pearl.
This 2003 movie is an adaptation of the Disneyland theme-park ride the Pirates of the Caribbean . Directed by Gore Verbinski, POTC is a all and out thrilling movie with rope swings, swashing swords, rocking ships, deep sea dives, spear fights, hidden treasures and of course the sea.

An ancient curse befell the crew of the 'Black Pearl' when they stole the Cortez treasure. The pirates are doomed to a state of living undead until the treasure is returned and the blood of the thief is spilled on the treasure. Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) owns a medallion from that treasure and the pirates are after his blood. He loves and is loved by the beautiful Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) who is captured by the pirates. Captain Jack sparrow played brilliantly by the talented Johnny Depp helps Will rescue Elizabeth and frees the pirates of the curse.

There are some awesome moments in the movie, especially when the pirates turn into living skeletons on full moon nights. The ship fights seem real and are good fun to watch. The motley crowd of pirates and their pet parrot add to the magic of the movie. This is a light-hearted movie without a moment of monotony. The fast pace makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.

Johnny Depp steals the shows with his portrayal of the eccentric Captain Jack sparrow. He is whimsical, moody, and hilarious and yet has to be taken seriously because of his fantastic knowledge of the seas, ships and warfare. This ranks as one of Depp's finest performances alongside 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'Chocolat'

A great entertainer, POTC is a must watch for all those who love good ol' action in the high seas.

Bunty Aur Bubbly

It’s a reel pleasure to see father and son sharing the same canvas on screen. And to say that they hit it off perfectly would only be doing justice to their performances. Bunty Aur Bubbly is a two and half hour rhapsody that is sure to leave you wondering if it really happened. One condition- remember to leave your brains behind, when you start watching.

Rajesh from Fursatganj and Vimmi from Pankinagar are two simpletons who dream of making it big one day. He has an idea that can make loads of money and she rather fancies herself as the next Miss India. When their dreams are cut short and they find themselves in dire straits, they change their names to Bunty and Bubbly and steal money and goodies by befuddling people. With each success, their confidence grows, till they take on mind-boggling challenges including leasing the Taj Mahal. They meet their match in Dashrath Singh- the policeman. Amitabh Bachchan proves once again why he is the super star of the millennium. He steals the show with his portrayal of the eccentric bidi-smoking, chana-munching cop who sets out to catch the swindlers by their collars.

The humour is good in the first half, but it does get monotonous in the second half. After a wonderful directorial debut with ‘Saathiya’, Shaad Ali could have done better in this movie. A great star cast has ensured interest in the movie, but has failed to sustain it for the entire duration of the three odd hours. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is tuneful and melodious. Most of the songs are big hits, but quite a few of them are unnecessary. Aishwarya Rai appears in a completely redundant ‘item’ number, which jars the narration. Rani Mukherjee plays the effervescent young girl who sobs uncontrollably when she misses her parents. Abhishekh Bachchan excels in his role of the young man who refuses to bear the brunt of guilt. He enjoys his role as a criminal to the hilt.

B&B makes no attempt at serious thought provoking cinema. There are no lessons to learn, no logic that explains why things happen and no common sense incase you are looking for one. Just be prepared to be assaulted by a heady mix of nonsensical events, catchy music (‘Chote Chote Shehero Se’), fantastic fancy dresses (Rani’s clothes are gorgeous) and a world of clean and good ol’ fun. To end with the words of our crooked Bunty ‘There are two kinds of comedies in this world- those that draw laughter from within and those that force you to laugh’ B&B I fear belongs to the latter.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Fan

The first time I noticed her, was one sunny morning a few months back. She coyly walked towards the platform and stood waiting for the train. Nothing exceptional about her (warning- you are looking through the eyes of a woman), neatly dressed, young and in all probablity - a student. The 7:32 was almost there are I forgot all about her and joined the battle to capture the lone window seat that seemed to be calling out to me. She glanced at me briefly, or so I would believe and that was all that happenned.

Next day, I saw her again and found her staring at me. Quite all right, women do stare at women for all the right reasons. I checked out my clothes, no..they weren't great, but they weren't sad either. I looked at my shoes- polished- my bag was quite all right. She stood there are stared at me, quietly and without expression. I stared back and she continued to stare

I saw her as I was returning in the evening. I did not get a seat and she was also standing at a point, bang opposite me and doing what I knew she could do best- stare at me. I was in doubt. Its not a great idea to be oggled at by men. It causes me immense discomfiture- even appreciative glances do- let alone a woman. Was she blind then? No...didn't seem so.

After that, she took to missing the morning train, if I was late, so that she could be on the same train as I was. It was with sheer agony that I took the lone empty seat in front of her last week. Thirty minutes of hell, she continued to stare...

Someday,I shall find the answer.