Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sr Bachchan and his junior bahu can cause a civil war

The hottest pair of Bollywood's first family - the senior Bachchan and his junior bahu - can easily cause a civil war in secular India!
This was proved right yet again when Canadian stand-up comedian Russell Peter aired his view about the acting capabilities of the first daughter-in-law - Ms Rai-Bachchan.
As she's been bestowed the crown by over zealous fans, let's leave the Kapoors alone. Anyways the Kapoors have always been in a league of their own. And so was Amitabh Bachchan until the green-eyed beauty decided to add his pedigree to the only feather in her cap - the Miss World title.
Russell's words were not a prepared malicious assault. His comments came while promoting his latest flick. It was purely his opinion when he uttered, "Aishwarya is the biggest example of bad acting." He also said, "She is still good looking, isn't that good enough?" But the damage was done. 
A beautiful face and flawless skin might make a star, definitely not an actor - is an age-old truth. Sad to learn adulation of stars has reached fanatical proportions. Years ago, when a temple was built in Tamil Nadu in Kushboo's name, Bollywood tabloids blasted the South Indian culture. Wonder why they are quiet now when women activists are demanding an apology from Russell. Well, that's another topic at war - Bollywood versus regional cinema! So be it.
No Indian, media or otherwise, can be absolved from the crime of not letting an opinion be just that - an opinion.
But then, that's the pied piper effect of the Bachchan duo. They seem to lead yet another sect among the already caste-infested Indian diaspora so much so serious allegations and character assassination cases in Bollywood go without a hearing expect for the femme fatales involved who get two-minutes in the limelight recalling the sounds of boots.
No wise person will expect mademoiselle to speak up because she does not utter a word unrehearsed. And there can be no robotic comment to a truth told loud! But surprisingly, Sr Bachchan who seems off late to have taken up the role of spokesperson and chaperon of his son's wife has chosen to remain silent, too. But don't we see a pattern in his silence?
Remember, how the pregnancy was declared during the IIFA weekend that the family boycotted. That was a cheeky propaganda to be present in absentia. The same logic applies here. While the bahu has shut herself through family way, the more this issue simmers the better it is for the Bachchan brand!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Of Fengshui, tarot cards, black cats and mynahs

A civil engineer by profession and a husband and dad to vouch for family status he moved to the Middle East with stars in his eyeballs in 2007. The next two years he lived life king-size in the extravagant emirate revelling in being dwarfed by the magnificent towers he helped erect.
Early 2009, when he failed to receive a cheque he called up his parents who consulted the family astrologer to find out where the leaf due to their son was stuck. It's just a narrow bottleneck, it will squeeze through, they were assured and the engineer confidently ignored the pending cheque and instead signed three new projects.
Five months later, when two other payments refused to come his way, a colleague introduced him to a gemologist who suggested he wear a diamond ring not less than eight carat in weight on the little finger of his right hand for immediate positive effect. Without hesitation, he swiped his credit card.
By mid-2009, when one of the sub-contractors refused to answer his calls, he told a family friend who in turn suggested the wonder of numerology. No harm, no stakes involved, only a couple of letters in his name had to be re-arranged. The following week he sent out mails to all and sundry alerting them of the new phonetic stress in his name.
By the year-end when he had no balance to dip his fingers into, he sought the help of a Tarot reader, who assured to guide him efficiently. She explained the three cards that faced his silently-muttered wish were balanced. Man on a horse with a sword in his left hand raised meant the subject is rearing to go ahead. The second card of five of cups meant emotional reunions and the reverse bright yellow sun over a mountain top meant a bitter-sweet experience. But no worries. The three together says you will venture into new territories and land on your feet, the Tarot reader prophesied to his delight.
 With hopes renewed, the engineer mortgaged his ancestral house in his home country and signed another project when an acquaintance insisted. Though his sixth sense hesitated to co-operate, he believed the famous Tarot reader's third eye.
Learning about his property loan, a good-willed colleague suggested he re-do his current home to usher in good luck. In came a Fengshui expert who felt negative chi run inside her through her index finger that made contact with the doorbell switch outside his flat. Nothing can be done in a rented apartment, so alter positions of some things, discard others and buy new ones and re-paint every room in another colour, she advised. With credit cards' limit brimming, he borrowed the required amount.
Shortly, when banks started haunting his relatives to know his whereabouts, he rushed to a money lender to see him through in the interim. But when the latter insisted on having his or the family's passports as guarantee he pleaded another friend to lend him some cash and sent his wife and children to his parents in India.
As the wife prepared her bags, she said: "I saw a mynah on our window sill this morning. It's not a good omen." Now he became paranoid as beliefs seeped in through his partner too. Later when they set out to hail a cab to the airport, a cat crossed their path and the engineer took the lift back to his apartment, luggage and family in tow, only to rush into the immigration at the final call for boarding without a good-bye kiss even.

The numerologist, astrologer, gemologist; Tarot reader and fengshui  expert have done their job. Wonder what the palmist, vastu specialist, signature analyst, face readers, parrots and tantrics have to advice.

Hope they help him keep his sanity!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Occasion: Onam; Uniform: mundus; Activity: Eating

Beginning today evening and into Friday mallus in their mundus will rock!
Their day will begin by praying obeisance to their Godfather Mahabali. Luckily it's the weekend, else Malabaris (as Malayalis are ignorantly called in the Middle East) would have kept the ancient king waiting at their doorsteps until next Friday.
The difference (if applicable) ends here. Only time zones and mandatory work days can force Malayalis across the world to differ from their brethren in celebrating Onam. 
Otherwise subjects of Kerala - the bitter gourd-shaped landscape at the southern-most tip of India - and Malayalam-speaking non-Keralite suspects celebrate the harvest festival alike.
Prayers and divinity begin and end with the scratching of the match on the box and rubbing it on to the wick before drooling over the growling within.
Uniformity being the highlight of Thiruonam, men, women and kids will all adorn off-white outfits as if chicks from the same hatchery. No forgetting the legend of equality prevalent in God's Own Country once upon a time!
Not just yet, the significant uniformity lies in the treat. Yes, they also gorge and burp alike on similar-looking sumptuous spreads on green banana leaves.
The courses are manifold. If starters are placed at the left-hand corner of the leaf that is placed with its tip facing your left, then you can start eating from the right. But remember to fold the leaf bottom-up after you've licked your palms, this time, in the similar direction - from the wrist until the fingertips. Take care not to breathe during the act else the payasam (dessert if you may call it) will drip onto your starched mundu.
What a stain of shame that would be as you will be squatted on the floor with a droplet in the wrong place.  Those with pots for bellies and logs for thighs will be pardoned to lower themselves onto dining chairs but the rules of caution remain the same.
More the merrier is yet another commonality. The number of dishes on the leaf (15 and more is the going rate) will declare the prosperity of the subject. It doesn't matter if the base ingredient is the same - coconut, coconut and more coconut. Be it any vegetable combo, you must bite into coconut - grated, smashed, ground, sliced or garnished after it is cooked and fried in - yes, pure coconut oil.
 However, a strictly non-vegetarian feast until recent past has become a carnivorous affair for some today. Palates have changed, say defectors of uniformity who love to tom-tom the I-don't-know-Malayalam-culture phrase. Now, the common factor here is the pseudo-Malayali sect will be clad in jeans - mom and daughter and son and father alike - the length inversely proportionate to age or directly proportionate on the degree of pseudoism.
They will identify the dishes by their colours and makes than names. They will suck in rice from between their five finger tips and give scornful looks to those around who make rice balls peppered with pappad crumbles and toss it into their mouths. They will drink payasam with spoons than scoop it with bare hands off banana leaves.
Pseudo or natural, Keralites or stateless, mallus worldwide will ensure they eschew the routine lunch on Onam day. Mahabali's progeny adheres to uniformity at least on savouries!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A cleanliness freak for a wife

The wife relaxes her back after four gruelling hours. With a glass of ice-cold juice, she proudly takes in the interiors of her home...
Spick n span! Not a speck of dust on the ceiling even. Floor mopped to see her reflection. Toilet closets and sinks flushed and gleaming. Living area vacuumed and inviting. Kitchen oudourless and spotless. Vulnerably white drapery rods and curtain rings polished. Neat-to-fit wardrobes smelling Versace...when
The door bell rings. Who's that, she sings to herself. Not expecting anyone at 11am. She rushes to change her wet and soiled pajamas before answering the bell.
Lo! Surprised, aren't you? asks a beaming husband. Just thought of spending some time with you before the kiddo returns from school. He hugs her and  another surprise...Her favourite double chocolate delight with dark chocolate caramel topping.
Wow! Gimme a minute. A quick shower n am back. Feel so sticky.
She rushes to grab her clothes, spends a few minutes deciding what to wear and runs to the washroom...when she sees a tie on the bed.
Why is this tie here, she asks and hangs it on the holder.
Come fast, calls out the husband.
Hey, don't sit there, I've just vacuumed the sofa.
Okay Madam, no problem.
No touching that. Let the remotes sit in place at least for an hour.
Alright, no worries.
Uh, uh, no taking the juice to the bedroom. I've just changed the spread.
Oof! why do you want to step into the balcony now? Dust will fly in!
Here I’m in already.
Now what's it with you. Why do you simply walk up and down the hall? Have just mopped the floor.
Is this a home or a museum?
Why a home can't be neat?
You’ll make a good curator.
Keeping the home neat is a disorder with me, yeah?
The ice-cream is melting!
All you men are alike.
The ice-cream is melting!
Then why the hell can't you place it in the fridge?
You asked me not to walk up and down.
Yeah, now blame that on me, too, she freaks out.
The ice-cream is melting! he says, holding the cup out.

Give the damn thing here, she says, and pulls it off his hand…

Blop! a fat brown gooey mess on squeaky clean off-white marble floor.
You men can never maintain a neat home! Never. She storms off!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A tough conversation and tougher solution

True 'passion chasers' cannot be bothered about conventional jobs or kids or loans. They just go for it!
What percentage of truth does this sentence entail? All those who earn a living by working their passion vouch for it.
All we lowly mortals who can't take our minds off future insecurity and at the same time yearn to fulfill our heart's desire once we complete our self-assigned tasks, must read the below conversation.
Here goes...
To begin with are you clear of your passion?
Next, have you chartered a plan to realise it...Time, resources, support, knowledge, training and the kind. 
Done. Time glares out from the roster. A dilemma. Big one to crack.
Passion and dilemmas do not go hand-in-hand.
What about the 9-5 work?
Well, quit the damn job.
What about mortgages and lifestyle continuity for kids? 
Well, then gradually phase out the day job.
Sensible enough.
Then what if the passion does not attract equivalent cash returns?
Hold on that day job until such a time.
And what if such a time doesn't come and the stress tears the family fabric?
Then what you call passion is not exactly a passion with you.
Clarity is not a question.
Then you have no spine to face troubles enroute.
Backbone and resolve are great. But cannot see loved ones suffer?
What comes first: family or passion?
Then shut your thoughts and slog it out. Hardwork will bear fruits. No quick-fixes; neither in virtual nor practical world.
How long will it take?
Until you've mastered your talent.
But we are talking of passion?
Talent sharpened is passion. When you passionately work on your talent over years imbibing all the varied experiences is when you realise the so-called passion.
But some people live their passion early in life.
They are the ones who followed their heart at the first given opportunity. They are the ones who never compromised their hearts desire in the name of commitments and social obligations.
Doing these is not a crime. We are just being morally and ethically correct and fulfilling our duties to the varied souls that helped us in our survival in this world.
So be it. If you are so clear about your actions why crib about passion fulfillment being delayed?
Just that desperation is slowly turning into depression.
Then the time is ripe to take action. Period. If possible devote all energy and time to sharpen your talent. Else keep aside (strictly) mandatory hours and energy each day to listen to the call within.
Will it work?
Self-doubts and fear are not hallmarks of a passion chaser. Definitely not for beginners. Sit up and face it! From the moment you decide on it, believe me, your legacy has begun to be written!
Go for it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekend news

Boycotted news channels for 24 hours, couldn't hold on more, for I am bound by duty to keep the wolf off my door. The experiment was over the weekend, so returned to my workplace to edit the same stuff that I shunned a few hours before.
The first couple of hours after I made the decision were tempting. So picked up a DVD to watch a movie instead. But I wasn't achieving the larger point, I realised quickly enough before I could jump on the guilt trip. Not to feed the mind with anything that is not worth consuming is the reason for the sit-in, I reminded myself.
Truth be told, it didn't feel any different for majority of the day. Probably because the thought of news and News and NEws and NEWs and NEWS was echoing in my head. Someone repeating the word 'News' with a vengeance inside me. So though I didn't watch or hear news bulletins the word itself was undoing what I was desperately trying to lock-in.
Old habits die hard. Or was it my mind in denial! Walked to my book shelf without an aim and laid hands on the first one on the stack...'Everything that happens to me is fantastic' by Geoff Thompson.
Now is there an allegory, I wondered. I wanted to believe so. One of my fav authors Paulo Coelho's famous saying - 'When you desire something so desperately the whole universe conspires to make it happen' rang in my ears.
I ought to read Geoff Thompson again. Chewed on his words - 'Don't say you can't do it. It can be done. It is being done.'
At least I've made an effort to exercise my choice towards a saner living. So what if I need to surf and sieve news (negative and dark the better) at the website where I spent eight hours to earn my bread. At least I have begun. No news on weekends.
Hope the day comes soon when I will say no news for me that I wish not to hear. It is within grasp, but shall keep it waiting until the fox disappears from my doorstep.
Now is this fear of the future. For fear is the only factor that gets in the way of our dreams, I read. If so I need to work on it asap.
PS. I did feel good the next morning - after a seven-hour sleep. Was it the sleep or the no-news day followed by a calmer mind at rest that energised the feel-good hormones inside me.
Am waiting for the next weekend to figure that out.