Sunday, March 25, 2007

Music ho toh aisa...

What season is this? Yes, its the tag season. I have like a million tags to do, so am starting with the earliest one. I was tagged last year by faith but never got the chance to do it for one reason or another until I forgot about it completely, only to be reminded recently (wow am already rhyming-shyming). Also, this is a music tag and so always fun to do. Let the drum rolls begin...

Your favorite lyricist and the lyrics you remember the most...

Gulzar Saab. Always was and always will be. The depth yet simplicity of his poetry is something to be felt not listened...

"Mera kuch saaman tumhare pass padha hain,
o saawan ke kuch bhege bhege din rakhe hain,
aur mere ek khath main lipti raat padhe hain,
woh raat bhula do, mera woh saaman lauta do,
mera kuch saaman, tumhare paas padha hain..."

(Movie: Ijazzat)

Your favorite song on friendship...

The first and last song that comes to my mind on friendship is from my favorite movie of all time...

"Yeh dosti, hum nahin todenge,
todenge dum magar, tera saath na chodenge,

o tere jeet mere jeet, tere haar mere haar,
sun le mere ayar,

tera gham mera gham, mere jaan tere jaan,
aisa apna pyar,

jaan pe bhi khelenge, tere liye le lenge,
sabse dushmani..."

(Movie: Sholay)

Best song potraying life's emotion (zindgai se bhara hua, zindagi ke baare main...)

Kishore Da was my favorite male playback singer esp. his sad songs but this song tries to unravel the mystery of life's journey...

"Zindagi ka safar, hain yeh kaisa safar,
koi samjha nahin, koi jaana nahin,

hain yeh kaise dagar, chalte hain sab magar,
koi samjha nahin, koi jaana nahin..."

(Movie: Safar)

Which song are you humming today?

He is my all-time favorite singer and the song on my lips is...

"Hothon se choo lo tum, mera geet amar kar do,
ban jao meet mere, mere preet amar kar do,

na umr ke seema ho, na janam ka ho bandhan,
jisse pyar karein koi, woh dekhe keval mann,

nayee reet chala kar tum, yeh reet amar kardo,

hothon se choo lo tum, mera geet amar kardo,

aakash ka soonapann, mere tanha mann main,
paayal chankati tum, aa jao jeewan main,

saasein de kar apne, sangeet amar kardo, mera geet amar kardo..."

(Movie: Prem Geet)

One song which brings tears to your eyes...

I remember watching this movie as a kid and choking up on this song...

"Jeena yahan, marna yahan, iske seeva jaana kahan,
jab humko awaaz do, hum hain wahin, hum thee jahan,

apne yahin dono jahaan, iske seeva jaana kahan,

yeh mera geet, jeevan sangeet, kal bhi koi dohrayege,
jag ko hasane, behrupiya, roop badal phir aayega,

swarg yahin, narak yahan, iske seeva jaana kahan..."

(Movie: Mera Naam Joker)

A song which gives you hope, a reason to try again and again, a reason to say that life is beautiful...

One of my favorite comedies had also one of my favorite songs...

"Aanewaala pal, jaane waala hain,
ho sake toh isme, zindagi beeta do, pal jo yeh jaane wala hain...ho ho..

ek baar yun mili, maasom se kali,
ho khilte huee kahaa, pushpaash main chali,

dekha toh yahin hain, dhoondha toh nahin hain,
pal jo yeh jaane waala hain...ho ho..."

(Movie: Golmaal)

When you want to be with yourself, silent and content but with music, which song would that be?

My favorite Chitra Singh's number that I listen during silent nights...

"Tu nahin toh zindagi main aur kya reh jaaega,
door tak tanhaiyon ka, door tak tanhaiyon ka silsila reh jaaega,

dard ke saare tahi, aur saare guzrae khak se,
sab dhuan ho jayenge, ek fakeya reh jayega,

tu nahin toh zindagi main aur kya reh jayega..."

(Movie: Arth)

If you have to express love for someone with a song which would that be...

It doesn't get soulful than this...

"Tere bin main yun kaise jeeya, kaise jeeya tere bin,
lekar yaadein tere, raatein mere kaati,

mujhse baatein tere, karte hain chandani,
tanha hain tujh bin raatein mere, din mere dinke jaise nahin,

tanha badan tanha rooh, namm mere aankhen rahein,
aaja mere ab roob-o-roo, jeena nahin bin tere..."

(Movie: Bas ek pal)

Five songs which you listen to the most...

1. My favorite song about fursat...

"Dil dhondta hain phir wohi fursat ke raat din,
baithe rahein tasoovere, jaana keeye huee,

jaadon ke narm dhoop aur aangan main leet ke,
aankhon pe kheech ke, aanchal ke saaye ko,

aaundhen padhe kabhi, karvat leeye huee..."

2. A beautiful love song...

"Maine tere liye he saat rang ke sapne chunne, sapne surele sapne,

kuch haste, kuch gham ke, tere aankhon ke saaye churaaye rasele yaadon ne,

chotein baatein, choti choti baton ke hain yaadein bade,
bhule nahin beete huee ek choti ghade,
janam janam se aankhen beechaye in raahon pe..."

(Movie: Anand)

3. From my favorite album, Aandhi...

"Tum aa gayee ho, noor aa gaya hain,
nahin toh charagon se lau jaa rahein thee,

jeene ke tumse wajah mil gayee hain,
badee bewajah zindagi jaa rahein thee.."

(Movie: Aandhi)

4. My favorite song when I first moved to Canada...

"Ek akela iss shaher main, raat main aur dopahar main,
aabodana dhoondta hain, aashiana dhoondta hain,

din khali khali bartan hain, aur raat hain jaise andhaa dhuan,
inn sune aankhon main, aanson ke jagah aata hain dhuan,
jene ke wajah toh koi nahin, marne ka bahana dhondhta hain..."

(Movie: Gharaonda)

5. I listen to this song almost everyday because it reminds me of Kashmir...

"lehrati huee rahein, khole huee hain baahein,
palkon pe ghehre halke, yeh reshme duhalke,
yeh hum aa gayee hain kahan,

woh dekho zara parbaton pe ghatayein, hamari daastan hoole se sunayee,
suno toh zara, yeh phoolon ke vaadi, hamare hee koi kahani hai sunate,

sapno ke iss nazar main, raahon ke reh-guzar main,
yeh hum aa gayee hain kahan..."

(Movie: Veer Zaraa)

A song for the person who tagged you...

This is for you faith...

"Bholi se surat, aankhon main masti, aaye hayee,
aree bholi se surat, aankhon main masti, door khade sharmaye, aaye hayee,

ek jhalak dekhlayee kabhi, kabhi aanchal main chup jayein, aaye hayee,
mere nazar se tum dekho toh yaar nazar woh aayein,

hmmmmm, ladki nahin hain woh jaadu hain aur kaha kya jayein,
raat ko mere khwab main aayein woh zulf bikhrayee,
aankh khuli toh dil chaha phir neend mujhe aa jayein,
bin dekhe yeh haal hua, dekhun toh kya ho jayein..."

I won't tag anyone but this tag is interesting enough for anyone to give it a shot. Let the music begin...

Monday, March 19, 2007

On my way back... was raining, like it always does. I ran to catch my 3 pm ferry but missed it by a whisker (read 6 minutes). An old punjabi uncle jee, who saw me there and approached me. He must be atleast 90 going by his demeanor.

"Chalo Chaleye", he said.
I was a bit confused by what he just uttered.
"Haanjee", I said very politely.
"Tusi Nanaimo naee chalna", he said.

A young punjabi munda approached from the other side.

"Papajee, aee saade naal nayee nee", he told him

Although, it was a bit bizzare but the old uncle jee reminded me of Dadajee and a smile came across my face.

There was still 2 hours before boarding, and there were few punjabi kids making noise in the waiting area (someone new reading this must be thinking that I am somewhere in Punjab). I picked a quiet corner a bit away from the main lounge and started reading Amitav Ghosh's "The Hungry Tide".

"The dolphins quiet, regular breathing had lulled Piya into a doze from which she was woken by a sound that seemed to come out of a dream..."

The story of Piya and Kanai, set in the hauntingly beautiful Sundarbans, took me to a different world altogether. I was in the small raft when Piya was following Dolphins with Fokir rowing the raft and Tutul pointing to the Dolphin and her calf. I could feel the Dolphins around me hunting for fishes, going through channels as the tides were changing. I was in Morichjhapi when Nirmal had to take refuge in Kusum's dwelling with Horen. I was in Lusibari when Nilima asked Nirmal where he was going and he lied to her for the first time..."

The ferry for Nanaimo was leaving with Uncle jee...

I went back to the departure lounge, waited a few minutes there. A group of girls soccer team was was coming from Vancouver and the girls were very loud for me to concentrate on the book. The ferry started loading a few minutes after and I grabbed a chips packet and took my corner seat near the window. It was still raining outside. The ferry started moving very slowly and I could see a bird sitting on top of the railing area from my rain shattered window.

The weather was lazy enough to put me to sleep. I got up in 15 minutes and decided to go outside for a little stroll to freshen up. It was still raining but not enough to wet one completely. I went to the top floor of the ferry and saw a beautiful small lighthouse as the ferry was passing by it.

The first word that came out of my mouth was "Aah...heaven". The lighthouse was as tiny as the island itself. I found it fascinating that I was passing through these small islands while in my backpack was the book set in small islands of Sundarbans. I tried imagining the setting of the novel with my passage but the sophistication of islands on my way were no comparison to the rawness of Sundarbans.

We passed along the most beautiful house on the next island. An orange colored house located facing the ocean with forest all around the place. It was the most visible house that I came across during the journey that passed through several small islands. It was the kind of dream house, one can only wish for...

Our ferry was leaving a long trail behind and seeing the ferry cut the rough waters is a sight in itself. A big lump of steel cutting cold water and making the way is an impressive sight indeed.

It was beginning to get dark and the lights outside the ferry were coming on.

My eyes were on the water though. A lot of things were going through my mind like the waves moving from one side to another by the passing ferry. I was looking for my next shot when I saw "it". I thought my eyes were playing games with me and this was not possible but then "it" jumped out of the water to confirm to me that "it" was indeed a dolphin. I had heard stories how sometimes dolphins would come beside the ferry and usually they would come in a bunch, so if the captain saw them he would announce and everyone would rush outside. But this dolphin seemed to be lost from its crowd because now my eyes were searching the deep water but I couldn't see anything but the wavy darkness...

Monday, March 12, 2007

The World is Flat...

Indeed it is. I read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat", which is one of the most fascinating books of our century. It is as the cover says, A brief history of the twenty-first century. A century that has just started but one that will shape the world for the future. We all know the forces of flattening because if you are reading this post then you are part of the flat world. Its the reason why you have broadband in your house or the reason why Indians are earning more than ever or the reason why Indians living anywhere in the world are connected to their roots. We have all been either part of these forces or heard about them. Outsourcing, offshoring, blogging, wikipedia, googling and the list goes on. If you are part of any of this then you are living in a flat world. But these are just the dots that we know about, the book does a good job of connecting these dots and painting us a picture, how these are all interconnected. Its one book that every person of the flat world should read to integrate the rest of the unflat world with itself.

I will not review the book but answer two questions that Friedman asked everyone who he came in touch with, Where were you when the world got flat? When did you notice you live in a flat world?

I was on my way to Canada when the world got flat. The world got flat in 2000, when I had just finished my degree and could not find job in my Automobile field and thus applied for Universities in Canada and Germany. I eventually choose Canada but I had 6 months before I could start my degree and so to pass the time, I joined one of the first call centers in Delhi. I was working with a subsidiary of K-Mart, an American retail giant. At that time I didn't knew I was stepping onto a flat world. I left that company and moved to Canada. It was around 2001 when most of the world went flat but it went unnoticed from where I was because I was adjusting to a new country, a new lifestyle, a new University and new friends. Next year also passed in a blur because I was working 8 hours a day, studying and sleeping the rest 16 hours. I didn't had time to notice the world around me.

It was in 2003 I realized that I was living in a flat world. I came across a blog and read how anyone can create their own content and publish it to the rest of the world. I started blogging but remained anonymous. I would mostly write reviews of books and change my blog everytime I wrote a new post. I would get some comments but that was the extent of it, until I wrote about a murder case of an Indian girl in Canada. Suddenly, people from all around the world came and commented and wanted to know what happened and so I started updating the same blog. That blog ended with the case but I had just realized the power of blogging and community. I then wrote another review of the book of short stories, Seventeen Tomatoes and kept updating it and rest as they say is history. I made some amazing group of friends from all over the world and we all blogged on number of issues but I think that was just the beginning. As a blogger I have now matured from just writing everyday happenings of my life for strangers to collaborating with my blog-friends on personal, social, professional and political issues. I sorted out the people I connected with and have made life-long friendships and some beautiful relationships.

Ironically, a shift happened when I left India, suddenly the world realized that India is a place to be. I started hearing a lot about outsourcing and the anger among American public about it. But for me outsourcing is a great opportunity. The NRIs that came before me and worked in traditional jobs in US/Canada/UK had no future back home but for me there is an opportunity to work anywhere in the world including India. Infact, if you had asked me 4 years ago, "Will you go back to India and work?", I would have said, "I prefer not to" but if you ask me the same question today, I will say "I hope to" . And that's what flat world has done. It has given Indians and Chinese opportunity to work from their own country and still earn all the benefits of Western world. Although, I don't think lines for US visas has decreased but it certainly has made it less desperate.

One theory that Friedman has proposed makes lot of sense to me. The theory says that any two countries that share a global supply chain will never go to war against each other. I had already thought about this before reading this book and I think this theory gives a chance to India to improve relations with Pakistan. Currently, all seems well between the two sides but it can destabilize anytime with some random act. I think the only way to prevent future wars is to intermingle the two societies and India could and should take leadership in this. I envision a day when Pakistani students can apply for IITs or any Indian University, a day when Hindi movies are played in every Pakistani theater, a day when Pakistani cricket players can play in Indian clubs like in county cricket, a day when going to Nanaksar (a sikh pilgrimage where Guru Nanak Dev was born) is as easy as going to Amritsar. All this will do is make people realize that we all can gain from each other much more than lose by fighting. I think the current status quo is not very stabilized because even though India has progressed a lot to create world-class companies, Pakistan has not progressed as much because of their political scenario (or non-political scenario). It is in India's favor to have a stabilized and progressive Pakistan that gives hope to its people like India is giving. All this is highlighted in the last chapter of the book where Friedman talks about India and how even though India has the second highest Muslim population in the world, it is the most stabilized nation with most progressive Muslims. This is because India's democracy and secularism gives hope to people and hope is a powerful thing that can make the rest of the unflat world flat.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life is full of surprises...

...and surprise it was. I was taking my evening shower (I am always taking shower it seems) and came out to find a small package at my door. It was a bit surprising because I wasn't expecting anything and my birthday is not for atleast 8 months. I opened the door and when I saw the place where it came from, my first words were, "Oh My God!!"

A package that came all the way from the land which is 9000 years old, Nepal. I didn't even had to blink to know who it might be from. She is known by different names/identities but everyone these days know her as Miss Juneli, a writer, a reader, a poetess and above all a dreamer.

The first thing I noticed was the packaging, it was so neatly packaged. It had all sort of goodies, three books (Five Point Someone, One Night @ call center, Delhi city of yoginis), a beautiful postcard, a handwritten letter and in a beautiful Hindi at that, a CD about Nepal, few bookmarks to go with the books and even the unique envelope which is made up of map of Nepal.

Thanks a lot Juneli. I don't think I have enough words to express my Thanks. It was unexpected but in a very good way. I have made so many friends through blogging and you are one of the special ones. The thing that everyone likes about you (and I can say for everyone) is your caring nature, thoughtfulness and respect for everyone. It has been great knowing you and your thoughts through blogging. You always seem to care about everyone else and in a very unselfish way. Ok ok ab zayada taarif nahin karunga...he he. It has been great knowing you. God Bless Ya!!

P.S : Delhi, A City of Yoginis...what an apt title for me and all you people whose minds are wandering off, this is a book about Delhi's

Friday, March 02, 2007


Ten is a powerful movie by Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami. I had heard a lot about Iranian cinema and how it is one of the most unique among any other mainly because Iran is such a paradoxical society. Most Iranians that I have met here are as modern in thoughts as anyone from western society (more so than average Indians) but what the media projects is a society run by crazy mullahs. This makes them not only a fascinating culture but gives chance to their filmmakers to show both sides of their society.

Ten is a hard-hitting documentary style movie shot in the car of the protagonist, Mania Akbari. The car has a moving camera in the dashboard and there are 10 episodes (approx. 10 mins each) with different people and different stories. One of the most interesting character is Mania's own son of 10-12 years.

Mother & Son - First story is about Mania and her relationship with his 10-12 year old son, Amin. We learn that Mania is a divorcee and her son lives with her ex-husband as he doesn't like Mania's new husband. Amin is a very interesting character in itself because he has grown very fast because of his parent's divorce and has a mind of his own. He doesn't like the ways of his mother and the fact that she re-married while his father is still single. He get angry with her very often and even calls her idiot and raises his voice occasionally. We don't see Mania in this story, just hear her voice while she is driving.

Sisters - Next story is very typical, when the sister of Mania goes with her to buy a cake for Mania's new husband and they discuss normal issues like Amin, her new relationship and all. They have a good relationship as sisters and shares all their problems.

Go Pray - Mania has lost her way and so she asks an old lady if she could guide her. The old lady wants to goto a Mosque and so she comes along. Old lady is very nice and tell Mania to pray to get rid of her all her worries. Old lady comes to this mosque 5 times a day to pray and even though she has lost her family, her faith in God is still very strong. She asks Mania to come to the mosque but Mania politely refuses.

Give & Take - Mania gives a ride to prostitute at night and because it was night time prostitute confuses Mania to be a man and sits untill she realizes that Mania is infact a woman. The prostitute is at first reluctant to open up but eventually does. Mania asks her why she does it and she replies, "I enjoy it". Mania seems more curious about her and at one point indirectly suggests if she would ever consider lesbian proposal, to which the prostitute refuses. Prostitute then tells her that she was in a relationship but he cheated on her and since then she lost all faith in men. Prostitute then tells Mania that all relationships are "Give & Take". If Mania's husband gave her a necklace, he expects something from her too. She then says the most controversial line of the movie, "The only difference between a prostitute and wife is that wife is a wholesaler while prostitute is a retailer". The story ends and we see the prostitute getting off the car and going to the side-street. She negotiates with one client and eventually goes with another.

One thing that stuck me was that when we see the prostitute from behind, she is wearing hijab like a typical Iranian women and dressed from head to toe.

Full of contradictions - We meet a friend of Mania, whom she met after going to the same mosque, the one that old lady had suggested. Mania tells her that she is not religious but she hasn't found the piece of mind and so she has started coming to this mosque. Her friend tells her that she comes regularly even though she is also not very religious. She tells Mania that she is engaged but the guy seems "full of contradictions"

Exchange - In this story Amin's father drops him and at first tells Mania to bring him by tonight but later tells her that she can keep him for the night if she wants. This time Mania asks her son about him and he tells her that he watches cartoons as his father has got the new dish, although his father has locked some channels as they show sexy stuff. She asks him if his father watches those sexy channels at night and he says "yes" and smile comes across Mania's face when she comes to know this about her ex-husband.

He's gone - Mania gives a ride to her cousin who keeps crying because her boyfriend just broke up with her. Mania tells her that she is weak and clingy like most women and so guys take advantage of her. They go for dinner later.

Amin - In this part, her son Amin accuses her of being selfish and that she only love her job and not him or her family. She asks him if his father is seeing someone and he blushes. She tells him that his father needs a homely woman and not like her who can't cook food for him. He tells her that whoever she would be, she would be better than Mania. The son and mother eventally laugh about it.

Laughing & Crying - This is the most powerful part of the story. The friend from the "Full of contradictions" returns back and tells Mania that her fiance broke up with her and she now misses him. Mania asks her why is her hijab so tight and when she loosen it we see that she has shaved her head. She asks Mania if she looks hideous and Mania says that she still look beautiful and her friend starts crying and laughing at the same time. We come to now that she shaved her head to give a reason for her break-up.

End Credits - End Credits roll with Amin asking his mother to take him to his Grandma for the night.

The movie gives a glimpse into various faces of Iranian women and their society. A society full of contradictions with itself. The movie has real people, real emotions and real reality. The movie shows different aspects of Iranian women (or for that matter any women), women as mother, divorcee, sister, grandmother, prostitute, friend, fiancee, girlfriend. It was one of the most thought provoking movies I watched this year. The movie was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival.

Victoria to Victoria...a new picture up @ kaarindah...