Saturday, December 8, 2012

Who would've thought

that Aa would commit suicide. Was my first reaction when Sa told me that a school mate of mine recently passed away. I did not know Aa well at all, she was the coolest girl of my school. Good looking, fashionable and someone all of us had a crush on. I still remember everyone discussing a dress she wore on one of her birthdays (a white churidar with see through sleeves) which was a scandal back then (honestly, we were so repressed!) but Aa was someone who defined cool quotient and whom everyone wanted to be or be with.

My own interaction was restricted to a polite nod or a smile whenever our paths crossed in the corridors. But, over the years whenever conversation veered around school, Aa was a part of it because you wanted to know what she was upto, what she was doing and what was going on with her. That’s the trouble with benchmarks of childhood, you never out grow them, you never can.

So, when news came in that she committed suicide leaving behind a two year old son, I was thinking…what makes people so despondent that they think that the only way out is death? How could someone who had the proverbial everything be reduced to such a state? Looking back, I see a bright young girl who had the world at her feet and knew it. It’s astonishing how things come full circle. The whole incident reinforces my belief that what you see isn’t always the truth.

The tragedy brings to fore the simple truth that tomorrow is unseen and how life can come to a standstill in the turn of a second. There was a girl who, everyone thought was going to reach the stars, little did we know that she would become one of them.

My thoughts go out to her family and to Aa, who will forever remain the most talked about girl in the batch of 2000.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Turning ten equates going crazy

November is a busy month for me. The magazine I work with will turn ten in December and that for the editorial team means a crazy month. I had an absolutely hectic month, throw in Sa birthday, a cousin’s wedding and Ra’s engagement meant that it was only yesterday afternoon when we signed out I could breathe a sigh of relief. I did 26 bloody interviews this month and at one point, while working on three different stories I had no clue what and with whom I was talking. With all of us getting increasingly angry and worked up each passing day, it’s a wonder we closed the issue, even three days late! All said, it has been a productive month and I can happily lie low for a month or two before my editor again turns the heat on me.

Was reading Tavleen Singh’s amazing book “Durbar”, which has been receiving mixed reviews but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the first time I read non- fiction so quickly and the book offers a decisive as well as a different insight into the Indira- Rajiv years. Most people I discussed with said that it relied heavily on hearsay and gossip, and as a journalist I would say that they are more reliable than people at times. I also loved her interview with Abhinandan Sekhri on Newslaundry, a highly amusing episode in which the interviewer and interviewee cross swords and Tavleen was ruthless when the actor tried to be condescending.

Caught the lovely Bombay Jayshree in action after two years and was still as amazed at her grace and voice. Timeless performer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Its Diwali and as I'm writing this post people are going gaga bursting crackers. I've never really been a crackers person and the few I got this year cost a whopping 1700, but I'm both sad and happy that people are showing lesser inclination to burst crackers, be it due to increasing costs or declining interest, atleast in Hyderabad the festivities have been tapered down in the past few years. I'm sad because that's become the same with all festivals, no one has anytime to celebrate them and almost everything has become perfunctionary, Sankranti, Holi or Diwali.

Diwali when my grandfather was alive was fun, great fun and growing up as my siblings left the family nest I realized that festivals were fun only with more people. How many crackers could I burst alone or how many kites could I fly all by myself. Festivals like most things tell us about the importance of people and how sharing is okay once in a while. Unlike the innate consumerism of festivities, the fact that they offer a break from the routine makes them worthwhile.

This Diwali, for change I had two wishes and though I dare not hope too much, I do hope that they make the screening test of the powers that be. I have to hope for the best....time for me to enjoy some delicious food along with Hyderabadi spciality, phirni...

PS: While a friend of mine got 40 bloody thou as Diwali gift, I got a measly half kilo sweet box and when we opened it today they were totally dry and tasteless!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Blues

It’s November again and it has started on a beautiful note today, with a heavy down pour due to the rains. Feels wonderful to be up and about.
      -   Watched , the terrible “Student of the Year” yesterday and felt that I deserved what I saw because I knew it would be disastrous and still went along…Karan Johar seemed to have directed it in between his many reality shows, no sense cinema and the three leads were such funny faces!
      - I am so hooked to the Rekha Bharadwaj song from Barfi, “ Phir le aaya dil”. There is something so magic about her voice that it manages to enchant you each time you listen to it. I wish it was used in the movie though…
      -  November is a busy busy month as far as work is concerned. There is so much to do but I really don’t know where do I start, worked really hard on two stories and did 1 interviews last month and that story was chopped…so am a little pissed off and am taking it a little easy right now.
     -  Everyone I know is getting married, big time. Friends, the last remaining single friends of my siblings and to top it all, juniors from colleges. It’s getting so annoying that I have been off facebook for a while, cant face another status which says…”Starting a new life” or “can’t wait to get married!”
     - While I am on it, everyone I know is either getting married or if they already are, getting their first flat, car or baby and me, am still where I saw 6 years back. It doesn't bother me that much but I swear I cannot handle one more conversation about growing up finally or finally finding their feet.
     -  Read the amazing book “Book Thief” by Markus Zusak which I have been recommending to everyone I know, it’s written in such a brilliant way that it really tugs at your very core.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Say Sush

A long standing wish came true some time back when I interviewed Sushmita Sen. She was as dazzling in person as I expected her to be and the thing about her is that when she turns on the charm it really hits you in the face, there is no way in hell  you can escape it! Surrounded by beauty queens half her age, Sush really managed to hold her own and that’s really quite something. For one, I didn’t write down any questions and was really tongue tied in her presence. Two, to her credit she never shied away from giving any answer however personal. My personal favorite was when I asked her if she felt that her Bollywood career never really took off, the lady replied, “ I only fight when there is a position and two times in my life when I had to fight for the top position I won, the Miss India final and the Miss Universe final.” Amen to that.

Watching “English Vinglish” was such a treat. I cannot remember the last time, when I wished that a movie was longer. Sridevi remains the undisputed actress she always was and I just hope that she chooses scripts which do her justice! On the same note, Aiyya had to be the worst movie of the year, I really don’t know why I would spend 150 bucks to watch such nonsense.

Hoping to meet Yuraj Singh in a few hours from now, the PR is notorious for being flippant, so let’s see if Yuraj actually turns up! Will be back with that...
PS: a later update, did meet Yuvraj Singh...didnt like him much, very standoffish...

Monday, October 15, 2012

The journey of a bibliophile

A recent story I did and loved....
A staircase leads to a comfortable room which is bursting with books and is embalmed in a quiet that is hard to find nowadays, BS Prakash’s library is a book lover’s paradise, intimate but not intimidating. Rows and rows of books spread across genres of every imaginable kind greet the discerning visitor, from history, literature, poetry and classics neatly stacked according to author and genre. The elegance of the library is compounded by the old world charm of the house replete with wooden rocking chairs and spacious seating areas.

 Prakash’s tryst with reading started at the age of 3, when his mother gifted him a copy of the book, “The tale of two bad mice”. As he shows us the book which was presented to him in 1950 he says, “I have always been reading. I still have the fairy tale books gifted by my parents. It’s been a deep and abiding interest all through my life. Since I wasn’t an athletic type and we had no radio, reading was the natural alternative during childhood. My father and grandfather were avid readers and in fact, a quarter of my collection (about 2000 books) was inherited from them.” Today his collection has grown to roughly around 8000 books, and he admits that cataloguing them is a huge challenge.

The book collector remembers his childhood days where he bought books at many stores in Abids (a street in Hyderabad) with great fondness. He recollects the many times he bought classics for a steal, “I used to buy a lot of books at AA Hussain in Abids apart from that there was a second hand book store called Ilyas down the same road which had a great collection. The second hand market at Abids was a great haunt to buy different kinds of books, I once got 16 volumes of Charles Dickens for 32 rupees!”

 Also a part of  a club of theater and literature enthusiasts, Prakash says that reading opens up different worlds to the reader which is an experience in itself. Showing us the first edition of Charles Dickens’s “Pickwick Papers” which was published in 1837, a book  which has withstood the vagaries of time for almost three centuries, he also narrates many anecdotes which he says only enriched his love of reading, “I once bought a book of C Rajagopalachari’s writings for the Swatantra Party, in which two pages were stuck. Later I found that he had gifted the book to his biographer, Monica Felton. In my father’s books I have come across his thoughts on the ideas expressed by the author. All of it makes the process of reading very intriguing.”

 Lending his books to very few people as Prakash believes that most books which are lent never come back; he also strikes a chord with many people when he says that he prefers reading novels in paperbacks to reading on an Ipad or a kindle. Currently planning to write a book on the social history of a middle class South Indian Brahmin family he brings the interview to a close by saying, “Books for me brings out solitude from loneliness.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

A song that raised a thousand bogeys

Last week while driving to work, I saw a sign which said 360 degrees, inexplicably that reminded me of my Yahoo 360 blog which was my space to ramble in around 2004-2007…while I was thinking of it, one of my favorites blogs there wound its way into my mind…a post there with the following lyrics from a Johnny Cash song is one of my favorites pieces I have ever written and brought in a sweeping stroke of nostalgia, both for the song and the times gone by. I rushed to office and spent the whole day listening to Johnny Cash. Though I often think about the times in which I was in college, it never really succeeds in wearing me down as much as it did that day…
The lyrics of the song go something like this

Save my love through loneliness,
Save my love for sorrow,
I'm given you my onliness,
Come give your tomorrow

I am no fan of English music but for some reason Johnny Cash’s songs get to me like no one ever has. Read through the above lines and there is so much you see, such angst, such abundance of love and so much suffering that it calls out to your own pain and forms a bond. That day brought in so many memories of so many particular things. Memory is sometimes so fickle, you feel a pang for the past but the past as a whole, you never think about the individual entities which made the past a whole. This day and that song brought back such individual memories that I was lost the whole day: the way I used to read Harry Potter every day for years, the way I used to snuggle on the bed with those no longer here and was so content, the way I was so hopeful about things, the many long walks to muse about life, the way life seemed such a huge possibility when I used to talk with friend, the obtuse passing of times at bus stops, the thrill if I actually went to a place I liked…much of that hope is exhausted now, much of that warmth missing and most of the optimism misplaced.

The journey from your early to late twenties changes so much of you that it is hard to believe that you shed so much of yourself and still are you. As I pause, while I am writing this…it is difficult to believe that so much has been slowly lost over the years…an accumulated angst has occupied the place of hope and has made it home…I know not what is worse, that it refuses to fade or that I refuse to let go.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Books I recently read and loved

Reading is a getaway for which I’m immensely thankful, allowing me to know more about life, people and experiences in such a vicarious and voyeuristic manner. Though my reading has come down, I have read some immensely wonderful books, in the past which have enriched and touched me in so many ways.
A suitable girl: Vikram Seth

This book is so huge that you cannot lug it around, I placed it on three pillows and read it just like old ladies read out from Ramayana at a prayer meet. It also amazed me (again after An Unequal Music) about the unrivaled genius of Vikram Seth. I fell in love at the contents page itself, instead of names of chapters, it has couplets with a tantalizing hint as to what you can expect in that chapter. The sheer number of characters and the exquisite detailing which went into it numbs you. Full of characters you can relate to, an old world charm which no longer exists, it was a marathon of a book and the fact that it has a sequel coming out is just the icing on the cake! My family heaved a sigh when I finished it in five wonderful days and was brought back to the world.

The help: Kathryn Stockett

Gifted by Na, on my birthday this wasn’t my usual book. Narrating the journey of black maids in 1960’s who raise white kids, it opened my eyes to the sort of exploitation we thought was limited to our own country. Full of humor, pain and courage it describes an inhuman human in an incredibly humane way. Two days after I finished the book, the adaptation came on TV which was good but was nowhere close to the book!

Em and the big hoom- Jerry Pinto
This touching book, which by the way is simply gorgeous to look at, with its black bound cover and colored pages was a gift from Pt and was so engrossing. A story about a mentally ill mother and her two kids who try to decipher the reason behind her illness, it shocks you with its crudity and makes you wonder about the concept of life itself. A semi-biographical account of the author, the sarcasm, lyrical humor, the love and the grief really affect you. I, for one didn’t want the book to end even though the despair in its narration was heart wrenching. A wonderful, depressing book!

Monday, September 3, 2012

On a rainy afternoon...

It’s been raining nonstop for the past 24 hours and feels absolutely wonderful. On days like this I wish for nothing but a good novel, a bed and my old quilt. To do nothing but laze around while the gentle pitter pat gives you company is the stuff my heart yearns for. Add a bit of Ilayaraja’s music in the background and some piping hot chai, and I am officially in heaven. I don’t have so much on me right now, I am at work but am thankful that I can see the rain and enjoy its gentle smells, feel the company of the drops and soak in the constant comfort it brings. The many memories it coaxes out of me and the many people it reminds me, rain is unparalleled for evoking nostalgia.

What is it about rains which makes me long for monsoons every year- is it the fact that life comes to an absolute standstill when it holds forth, is it the feeling of tranquility it invokes in everything it touches or is it just another thing to hold onto, one not threatened by change or confusion? Rains have a wonderful way of making me feel at peace with myself, just to watch, just to be, just to be a part of something so serene. Every drop bringing in the same force and fervor, touching everything with the same passion while ensuring that everyone is a part of it, that everyone is a stake holder.

Everything about the rains hold promise and beauty throughout its stay, the overcast gloomy clouds which herald it or the green green trees which it leaves in its wake. The cool breeze which sways with the rain drops or the many pretences it washes away. It brings such simple joys and so many myriad thoughts.

Rain. A gregarious friend, a gentle lover, a great companion.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Birthdays, when I was younger were full of fun. A day I looked forward to for the simple pleasure of knowing that all my friends would call and those who really mattered would meet me. This year, I literally tried to run away, having booked tickets to Shirdi just so that I could get away from the tediousness of it all. I didn’t go in the last minute but frankly even though the day was okay, the run up to it was something I could have done without.

My closest friends have been going through pretty much the same thing this year. Sa, had a similar experience last year when she wanted to get away from it all. Na, who celebrates like no one I knew has been pretty subdued this time. Pt didn’t want any fuss and has been even quieter around that time of the year. As we grow older what is it that stops us from taking joy from things which were once such unequivocal avenues of pleasure?

Is it the fact that we are held hostage by birthdays to be really true measures of the extent of our failures? Or is the fact that it reminds us of the promise we showed but never really fulfilled? Or is it the simple lack of optimism that envelops you as you grow older and cynical? Maybe all the hype and hoopla around it? Or maybe the pressure to make it count? Whatever be the reason these birth-days are no longer fun- there are fewer people than there were and even fewer with whom we want us to be. A stark reminder of the many things that never worked out the way we wanted them to.

This year, I wanted to get away everything and everyone I knew….as everything familiar bred contempt. Whenever I am worried or depressed I know exactly what ails me, but for once everything around me bothered me. But thankfully the day went on decently, because I believed that it was an ordinary day not a special one. It did turn out to be decent and I’m so grateful for those few people who were around and wanted to stick around for me!

To birthdays, each one more gloomier than its predecessor.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


How important is it that you are truly who you are? I’ve been meeting with so many people who do exactly what they are supposed to do, irrespective of what they really want. Socialites who pretend to be everything they aren’t, people (including myself) lying to fit into various things- from conversations to jobs and those who have gone so deep that they can’t even realize who they are.

I met a lovely lady the other day, Shailaja Tahiliani, Tarun Tahiliani’s wife and was completely bowled over by her. At the launch of his first store in Hyderabad, the place looked like a war zone. With models hurrying around, the store manager’s fussing around and people generally acting important. I was rushing against a deadline and when I saw Tarun speak to her, I walked up to her, told her that I needed to get some work done and asked her if she works with the designer… She smiled, told me that she was his wife and told the PR to help me out. Later I heard her speak to half a dozen journalists who were amazed that she came from Guntur and spoke better Telugu than most of us.(believe me when I say half people I meet pretend that they cant speak their mother tongue, Telugu, as it isn’t cool enough)

All through the day, I was thinking about what keeps us away from doing things that we really want to, like not speaking a language as we are afraid as to how others might judge us, pretending to be cool as we are insecure in our own skins and wanting to belong in places which were never meant for us. Puzzlingly, Shailaja might or might not have succumbed to the pressure (I mean in all probability she married a gay designer) but the way she spoke and carried herself showed that she was at ease and that was what she was supposed to be doing. For some reason, all I’ve been thinking about for the last few days is whether I’m being true to what I’m doing and hopefully the answer will be a little merciful…

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunny Days

I met Sunny Leone yesterday and was totally floored by her grace and poise. We build so much impression of those we don’t know that it comes as a great relief when you are wrong. I expect someone fake, dumb and airy she came across as pleasant, well read and very intelligent. In the small time I met her and questioned her about her adult movies, she replied that she did what she did and it was not wrong in her eyes…no regret and no apology just because she made it big in Bollywood now. I was charmed on my part when she praised the city, and the way she handled herself when a mob of photographers almost fell on her…by simply saying… “Bhaiyya coffee gir jaayegi…” and making them retreat. Sunny days ahead.

I have been regularly irregular on this space because I didn’t feel like writing. Even thought I would delete my blog but something made me stop and get back. The past two months have been confusing and bewildering for various reasons and I am simply glad to be here. I have grown a year old and am hoping that wisdom will not be amiss this time.

Simply dont like the changes done to this website. Is there any way we can get the old, user friendly format back?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So many things in my head

This entire month has been a whirl of activity for me. It’s been an absolutely crazy time, of which I’m really grateful as it helps me focus only on the important things, I crib that I don’t get enough sleep. While my sister thinks I crib about everything under the sun, I take great joy in it. Wanted to write about many many things but will not stretch what can be said in a few words to an entire blog…
 - Watched and loved Vicky Donor. From the dadi to Delhi, it was a great movie. Wish the ending was twenty minutes shorter though. Snow White and Seven Dwarfs was just about okay. Julia Roberts was wicked but felt that something was missing throughout the movie.
- The mangoes are what I’m really looking forward to…had some yesterday but let’s just say they were really really sour.
 - Its been more than 3 months that I’ve thrown the Television out and am so surprised that it makes no difference. Life without the idiot box is so much more sharper…reading more, focusing more on things on hand. To think that it took me an year of dilly dallying to do that…
 - Work has been really haphazard of late. Sitting idle for weeks and getting done crazy amount of work in two day’s time. It’s been hectic but what I’m really looking forward to is a one month break from mid- May. No writing. Yes.
 - Is having a massive crush on someone who is going out with someone okay? Just cant help it though, just like I can’t help hoping that we will miraculously end up together!
 - Read Sandra Brown’s Lethal and really enjoyed it. As a rule I stay away from thrillers but sheer boredom compelled me to read this one and it was quite interesting.
- Finally got a raise at work…finally!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Imagine a life entirely different from the one you lead. What would it be?

Had to write an essay for the above question for Na, I know they are a tad similar but am posting them here as I don't remember the last time I managed to only just cross the word limit (here it was 250 words)...

An artist:
As someone always interested in the creative arts, the life of an artist, a creator and destroyer is something which has always intrigued me. The creative miasma of paints, thoughts which is a combination of imagery and sheer skill to bring to life images and instances which have been birthed in the labyrinths of one’s imagination is something which has always excited me. From a childhood which had many summers spent with brushes, paints and chart paper as friends; sketching and drawing as constant companions, the effortless transition to adulthood immersed in an art, wide and compassionate has been enriching and elevating.

My life and work as an artist has enriched me in numerous way. The challenge everyday to do something new, the effective outpouring of my energies which results in giving shape to a stray thought and the capture of a long struggle in the final strokes of a painting which brings it to life. The colors which individually look proud and unrelenting but work just as well when combined, the strokes, clear and independent but conveying the weight of an entire thought and the effective disbursement of energy and expertise resulting in raw ideas turning to creative outlets.

Taking cues and inspiration from the Nature around me, the people who shaped me and the experiences which transformed me, the life of an artist is one full of challenges and initiatives. What attracts me to the art of painting is the melange of opportunities it offers. A stroke here and a color there would change the entire way your work is viewed which makes the process of creation exciting. With each day bringing with it a fresh perspective and newer pursuits, it’s no one that every dawn brings a smile to my visage.

A book jacket illustrator:

An avid book reader since childhood who used to be lost in the many details of a novel, the life I lead today is perhaps a natural symmetric progression of my first love of reading: that of a book jacket illustrator. The old adage, “Do not judge a book by its cover”, never holds ground for me for what’s on the cover is only a prelude of what’s to come.

The art of giving someone else's work a face and an identity, the preface to a story and a calling card to the words ingrained in it is filled with enormous opportunities which excite me.

My life revolves around the minutiae and the symbolic, and to decide how best can a story be represented by one image. Something arresting but not overtly so, catchy but not trivial and finally accurate yet mysterious. The soul of the words written conveyed in a simple and effective manner. My work involves reading a book and providing it a single door of communication which will allow people to visualize the magic of what’s inside.

The subterfuge of colors and the solidity of narration are the two main ingredients of my work. My work poses numerous challenges and questions each day, while bringing with it the responsibility of providing a premise to someone else’s labor of love. To visualize a written word and interpret it in a delicate manner and convey thoughts, anecdotes and experiences is an immensely satisfying quest bringing out the best in me.

With something new to look forward from every new book, it brings out facets of my personality in unexpected ways. As every passing day brings with it something unique, it is little wonder that I consider my vocation an extension of myself and not merely a job.

Monday, April 9, 2012

TV Turn off

As someone who has sworn off TV, on a boring Sunday while I was flicking through the channels I was unfortunate enough to catch a two minute travesty which made me glad that I dumped the idiot box. The telecast was that of Nita and Mukesh Ambani’s “private” party for Sachin Tendulkar. Now how the private celebration was aired on National Television is anyone’s guess…but what was remarkable was the inane sycophancy involved. Priyanka Chopra tripping over herself while gushing about Nita and Salman going on and on senselessly…why does glamor and wealth always make us bend backwards? An inherent “class” legacy left by the British is still around and makes it presence felt at such nauseating events. That Sachin was sticking to it was a disappointment but guess even Gods like their adulation…

Riots in Hyderabad and just when we though we got rid of Telangana, we have a new headache, that of a far more dangerous communal riots. With curfew in place its business against for leaders and more worries for us common citizens. With the state the city is, it’s a wonder people are still coming here. Bad roads, terrible governance and a new disturbance every month…Brand Hyderabad.

Was at the fantastic Park Hyatt for a media lunch and was flabbergasted by the Gothic grandeur of indulgence…what was funnier was one of the owners (Rajya Sabha MP Subbirami Reddy) insisting people to check out the “lights” imported from Czechoslovakia. Yes sir, well worth the rumored 400 crores you invested!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From the archives

This was written in Dec, 2008, one of my first articles after I started writing. Was cleaning my drives and made me think of my first writing job....

There was a time when a serial on Doordarshan meant the penultimate glory. Family functions were postponed, meal timings were arranged in such a manner that no one missed any minuscule portion of a serial and television became the nation’s favorite pastime which was both addictive and alluring. From the charming Chitrahaar to the humility personified Hum Log, these reel life entities transcended their boundaries and loomed larger than life. The actors were real and wholesome entertaining was given the pride of place. Buniyaad, Fauji, Shanti, Swabhimaan, Dekh Bhai Dekh and Shriman Shrimati were only some of the serials with which people could identify with, chatter about them at impromptu places and relate to them as if they were an extension of their own life. They moved people with their piquant narration, had them in splits over innocuous humor and moved them with the compulsive play of human emotions. It was truly the golden era of Indian Television.

With the advent of cable television Zee took the reigns from DD becoming its legitimate heir, although it did not do such a holistic job, it did manage an enviable task-that of presenting to people the power of change. Serials like Tara, Banegi Apni Baat and Rishtey not only were path breaking but were also hugely successful in breaking stereotypes. They did not limit themselves to pose questions but also demanded answers. Breaking away from the moulds of propriety and chauvinism they played an instrumental role in the coming of age of Indian Television. With an assorted and assiduous range of soaps like Sailaab, Teacher, Campus and Hip Hip Hurray they succeeded in not only retaining viewers but also in attracting new ones. It was a path breaking era and one that explored hitherto virgin territories with finesse.

Circa 2000, entered Ekta kapoor with a magic wand and with her brought a change which would strip Indian Television of its simplicity and naivety. With Star Plus as home ground, she revolutionized television with her unprecedented success and a blitzkrieg to rival that of films. Garish saris and grotesque facial expressions became the order of the day and men became the weaker sex of the small screen. Kyonki, Kahani, Kahin Kissi Roz, Kahin To Hoga brought in TRP’s and money at an unparalleled rate. While the heroines became saintly and god like, vamps became meaner and more menacing. Idealistic Bahus were virgins, voluble and virtuous, capable of enduring inhuman agonies and anguish with a silly smile. It was a phase when Indian television changed forever.

Currently we are in the fourth stage where an alarming 63 channels jostle for attention, Real life Drama, expletives and abuses are all a part of an actor’s ensemble. There is no clear victor and the poor viewer is bereft of choices. Innovation is dead and formula is in. There is no clear winner today, everyone loses! The best entertainment is provided by 24/7 news channels!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Festival Frenzy

As a child I was overtly religious, and I guess to make up for it I never bothered much with either religion or prayer while growing up. Indeed, of late its been fairly extreme in the other direction however one ritual which has been followed is that of Shivratri. I know not if it is out of the memory of someone who introduced me to the ritual observing the day or merely something I do as I’ve always done it, the festival dedicated to the Blue throated God has always been something special. This year was no different and though I had a harrowing first part of the day because of some trivial rubbish, it has actually been an enormously cleansing day, simple, subdued and subtle. Festivals are supposed to be punctuations in the passage of time and life, but they should be so by choice rather than custom or belief. A day when you acknowledge the power of the one above you and abide by it as a testament to your own beliefs rather than others, in a short festivals are celebrations of ourselves and definitely not about deities and even less about token tributes. It’s all about us, as always and that was the fact I enjoy most about Shivratri, its all about me and I revel in that.

Having no TV around (the current one zonked off weeks back and I am determined not to get it repaired) is doing wonders to me and my reading. Finished off many pending books, including Wilbur Smith who gave his latest book when I interviewed him months back and which has been staring at me insolently for quite some time. It also keeps me more tuned in with my work and myself, how many times do I switch on and switch off the Idiot box even when I knew that nothing worthwhile was on! Trying to take a newspaper break but am wondering if that’s stretching things too far…

An agonizing two days and excruciating waits of almost 4 hours on two consecutive days meant that I interviewed Barkha Dutt and Nargis Fakhri. Not a fan of either, the former was all business like and brisk. The latter was surprisingly warm, even postponing her lunch when she saw me waiting and speaking without any airs. Maybe its got to do with her western upbringing but she seemed nice without being condescending and she SO tall, by far the tallest person in that sad and otherwise listless crowd, not to mention, the best looking belle of the ballroom.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

After a while

It has been a while I updated a blog and unlike the previous times, I felt no pressure or guilt to write in this space. It's been a laid back January. I didn't work much and even wrote my least articles in two and half years. I didn't read many books and was actually doing nothing but sitting and staring into space... This month though has forced me to be more active and am giving in and going out full throttle again. What is it about a break that rejunevates you so much... Is it the belief that you are going back to your space very soon, is it the fact that you feel that you've earned rest and at what point does it blur the distinction between a break and being plain lazy?

We are doing a food issue this month and I have been eating like a mad hatter day in and day out. My new found chubby cheeks agree and everywhere I go people arent hesitating to point out the face that I look "really" healthy nowadays. Not that I mind a bit of love handles but it sure is a new experience and I'm gradually getting used to it.

This past week, I have discovered the joys of sitcoms again and " The Big Bang Theory" has kept me hooked, I don't know why because except or Penny and Leonard everyone else irritates the hell out of me. Though I mut admit that it has cleverly used every trick in town to its own advantage. And I actually know a person like Sheldon Cooper...he even looks the same....god save us.

Watched the Adjustment Bureau and loved the which beats fate and does it convincingly!