Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just finished

Kiran Nagarkar's latest book, The Extras.
Go read it
Anvar Alikhan's review says it all.
It is wonderful reading about our old friends Ravan and Eddie again.
Nagarkar's brilliance shines on.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Granny Love

The frail old lady
accompanied by her family,
supported by stalwart young men
(and her four-clawed walking stick,
handed over to another while she ascends)
hoists herself up the stairs,
step by painful step,
pulling herself up by the bannisters
to reach the first floor apartment
where her grandson will have
the initial ritual with his bride-to-be.
Once she reaches the landing,
she asks her assistants to settle her saree pleats,
and give her a comb to tidy her hair.
She then pulls her necklace of gold beads
out of her cardigan, pats all garments into place
and enters the house,
beaming away.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kahaani- Please Mind Your Language

The SRE and I went and saw Kahaani last night. It was gripping, engrossing, and worthy of all the accolades it has been receiving. But, right in the very beginning we were disturbed by the thanks given to our Chief Minister. She is referred to as the Honorary Chief Minister of West Bengal.
I am quite sure that this is a total 'off-with-their-heads' moment.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Gripping Political Story!

The nitty-gritty of politics rarely appeals to me. I find myself observing the changing scenarios with a detachment that borders on indifference, which often makes me quite ashamed of myself.
Throughout the excitement and agitation of Anna Hazare's movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill, I was, as usual, perched firmly on the fence, knowing fully well that corruption in everyday life is a huge problem, and yet not at all sure what the movement would achieve. I still don't have the answers, but I am definitely better informed now, having just read Ashutosh's book: Anna- Thirteen Days That Awakened India. Ashutosh has been a distinguished Hindi journalist for several years now, both in the print media and in television. The opening chapter grips your attention with the excitement of the chase. Anna is supposed to have been discharged from Medanta Hospital, and it is not known whether he is heading for the airport or not. This is is April last year. Over the next few chapters, Ashutosh describes in detail the events leading up to Anna Hazare's fast in August. He also gives a personal perspective of major events that occurred in previous decades, which have greatly affected the Indian political scene, such as Jayaprakash Narayan's call for total revolution, Indira Gandhi's imposition of the Emergency , and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, many of which occurred when he was a youngster.
This is not a hagiography, but a dispassionate account of a series of events. The author freely gives his opinions on what he feels were the errors made at different times both by Anna and his team, and by various ministers and officials dealing with the fast. What is most fascinating are the accounts of different people who joined Anna's movement, people from all walks of life, age groups and socio-economic groups. Corruption affects all of us today, in varying degrees, sometimes with devastating consequences. (The recent film 'Paan Singh Tomar' shows how a national, record holding sportsman becomes a dacoit because his property is usurped by his cousin, and how both the local administration and the police refuse to help him regain what is rightfully his).
Let me add an excerpt from the blurb:
.......Ashutosh weaves together the story of the thirteen days that changed India. He had a ringside view of the developemts, stationed as he was at the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi, the venue of the fast, and had intimate access to the two warring parties: the UPA government at the centre and Team Anna. Evoking the Jayaprakash Narayan movement and Gandhi'd satyagraha, Ashutosh mines the history of India's post independence politics to understand the phenomenon that is Anna Hazare.

I feel very proud to say that Ashutosh is a part of my family.

Anna 13 days that awakened India, by Ashutosh.
Publisher: Harper Collins.
Price: Rs 199

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wasting, wanting!

There are two kinds of leftovers in my fridge
The ones that are eaten as they are,
or recycled in some other form,
but consumed, nonetheless.
They also definitely outnumber the other kind,
the few pitiful morsels that meet their end
in the kitchen bin, while I feel guilty
about wasting food,
and yet......
the rice which isn't enough to give away
the sabzi that my helper didn't enjoy,
and I have had my fill of, (and the SRE is away),
and the crusts that even the crows won't eat
(and how many breadcrumbs can I use anyway?)
the coriander leaves which turned into a soggy mess
and the three French beans which got left behind in the vegetable tray
and the tablespoon of baked beans, dried up and sad
(I never imagined that I could throw away a single baked bean
I loved them as a child, but now, the tin that was opened
for an urgent quick meal, contents transferred to a glass bowl,
those remaining contents
no longer hold any appeal)
more than guilt, the joy of an uncluttered fridge.
And I think of all the weight I put on
because of not wanting to waste food,
I am a monument to that childhood training.
I will still try not to feed the garbage bin
with edible food, but I will not die of guilt when I do!