Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rukh Kis Taraf

At my surprise birthday party, all wanted some serious stuff, and I was blank... these lines came later in the night.

इस कदर के हुस्न पर, हो फना रहमत कभी
रूह को जन्नत नसीब, तन जले इस चाह में।
होगी बेहतर मौत मुझको बेबसी की जिंद से
खाख होगा दिल मगर, ख्वाब होंगे अब्र पे॥

(Rahmat can give up his life on this beauty, better ayhow than keeping a life of want and despair. Even as the pyre burns my body, heaven will be assured for the soul and the clouds for my dreams)

बेवजह रहता परेशाँ, बेवजह की आस में
बाट जोहे उनकी जो हैं बेपरस्त इस राह से।
आ चुकीं हैं फिर बहारेँ, आँख मूँदें क्यूँ रहें
एक ख्वाब है नुमायाँ, बेहतर है क्या हकीकतें॥

(Pointless is the worry, and the wait for the one who will never come by. It is spring only if you open your eyes. Is there a better reality than the advertised dream.)

Thanks guys for the nice party... for making me feel good about myself!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apur Sansar

And thus I finished Ray's trilogy at long last. I didn't expect the story to end on a happy note. But, it did. I don't expect the story to end happily. Will it?

Apu goes back to college in Calcutta after Ma's death in Aparajito, but moneyless, he drops out before graduation. He lives off tuition and gets some money writing short stories for magazines and by selling his books one by one. Harihar, Apu's father, was a playwright with his dreams shackled by daily drudgery of feeding a family. Apu seems to revel in the freedom afforded to him by orphanhood and bachelorhood. He is writing a novel, which he says to his close friend Pulu, is half autobiography (his poverty and resolve) and half imagination (love which he's still unaware of).

That changes, when he marries Aparna, Pulu's relative. Love seeps gradually into their chance relationship aided by Apu's care and Aparna's softness and before long they are inseparable.

Aparna's face by the light of the matchstick that she used to light Apu's cigarette. "What's that in your eye?". "Kajal"

Aparna goes home for her first child and writes back to Apu reminding him of his promise. Apu spends the entire day trying to steal moments away from the prying eyes of people so he can read a line or two of what his fondest one has written.

And just when he finishes the letter near home, Murari, Aparna's brother gives him the news.

Everyone. Everyone who has been in Apu's life left him. A long silence in which even the clock stops ticking, or maybe it's time itself that has stopped.

This time, to live anyhow and move on is not Apu's resolve. It is his fatalism.

He writes to Pulu, "I want peace". He had been a karmyogi in the face of every bereavement. This time, it's renunciation.

The novel, Apu's single dedication before Aparna, is also no more. Is nothing left?

Five years hence, Apu has been roaming the country and now wants to go abroad... peace still not in sight. Pulu instead coaxes him to go fetch his son and care for him. Kajal has grown up at his grandfather's house.

Kajal reminds one of what Apu was in Pather Panchali - playful, mischievious, innocent, curious. It takes a while for the child to warm up to his father, and then Apurba Kumar Roy takes the last piece of life that's still associated with him, with him. What survives, is life.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Birthday Cut

Term 5 finished with a whimper after that apology of an exam of Property Finance, which was an insult to the intelligence of even the most academically uninclined (or alternatively most entrepreneurial) brain. But what's the big difference... it's over!

I rode out to get a new haircut done for my Bangalore trip. Now, maybe I am the only one like this... but what do you do when your nose or ear or forehead itches while the barber is at his job? You bring out your arm from beneath the folds of the overall and itch. Well, not me. Since I was a kid, I was terrified by the Navdurga Hair Art barber below the Golden - Silver Apartments of ours at Baroda. I don't remember how he looked like, but I sure knew what the Ustara could achieve if need be. I also remember that first nick, after which I refused to go to the same guy again. That has left two scars in my head. I do not small-talk with the barber and I do not itch when it itches while on the chair.

Today, was different. I requested a special cut at the Loreaal in Madhapur, and got it done too - A close shave at the back, and kinda short but not spiky in the front. I also talked to the barber a little bit. But most importantly when the tiny hair decided to stay put and offend my nose, I itched. Not once, but thrice.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday, which was less happening than today's visit to Loreaal. Or was it? I got a nice gift from the kid I teach the guitar. A Reebok woollen vest... sleeveless. Hmm, hmm. Wonder when I will have enough bi/tri/multi-ceps to flaunt the flashy maroon garment. Till then, the jacket shall help hide the mombatti's of my bare arm whenever I try it on.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What can 2 letters do?

Comes a little 'h' followed by tiny 'i', and there go 30 minutes of important study time staring at the laptop screen. What a big waste!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


On the 6th of November, Deutsche Bank called CAS at 10 in the morning and said "So-and-So and Sumit Kumar are also shortlisted. Interview at 11".

Don't shortlist me. Me no complain. Don't give me a chance to see if I fit in. Me ice cool with it. But, come on, don't make a mockery of my limited and dwindling capabilities by calling me in last minute, talking to me casually about my experiences as the college cultural secretary and if I ever wanted to start a tech company, and then deciding that I don't belong to the hallowed ilk. Because fyi, sir, I know I don't.

After all real interviewees were done and gone, two of us stood there awaiting our turn, I certainly feeling second-rate. Came by the PPT star himself in a hurry, took me to an AC8 room, where he talked to me about his uncle who had to tie a rubber band around his fist to remember to-do's. We really had a hearty chat for 20 minutes, and just as I thought, nice he's made me quite comfortable before starting some real questions, says he 'Nice meeting you!'. I felt like the man in the song 'Norwegian Wood'. Jilted after a one-night-stand, or worse, one in which nothing happened...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sophie's Choice

Finished a great movie finally… Sophie’s Choice - an indirect comment on the holocaust, whereas Schindler’s List was more direct and moving. I am affected much, just like that night at the Tawakkal’s when during the Spielberg classic, I had wept just a little bit and hated hatred a lot. This time, though, the feeling is different. Styron, the author of the novel must have already done the magic of bringing together two complex lives of Sophie and Nathan with the able minded trusting friend, the story-teller Stingo. The director, Alan Pakula, has done a perfect job in rendering it for those of us who are slow with books.

Sophie, whose father, ironically, was anti-semitic, was taken to Auschwitz by the Nazis. She survived, though her children couldn’t. In Brooklyn, Nathan gave a new life to her… a new love that was the last recourse for her to escape the many deaths that she had withstood. They lived a dream and Sophie was happy at least in her mind, while Nathan had his own problems with his mind. Stingo came along in their life; touched it very gently without moving much of it. He didn’t change much, but Sophie changed him completely. As she tells him her story, and as he tells their story to us, I see again several things that I keep forgetting to. But, above all I see that pain is all around, and there are people conquering it to at least live a life of sham happiness. Sophie’s choice was not only the one she made at the concentration camp, but also the one she made at the end… to the end. There was no weeping to be done in this movie… it wasn’t supposed to raise any issues with Holocaust. That was just a prop to indicate… no etch other thoughts permanently on one’s mind.

There are two other Ray’s I’ve managed to squeeze in: Shatranj Ke Khiladi (Thanks Ch and Ka) and Agantuk (thanks LRC). Both interesting, but will write about them some other time.

Ah, yes. And today I won a race, or maybe I lost the race, or maybe I wasn't in the race after all. Or maybe maybe, it was not a race at all. Naah, it isn't about the Deutsche Bank... (funny coincidence, Deutche and Nazis). It's something else.