Sunday, July 27, 2008

Aapki Zindagi Mein To Koi Jagah Hogi Humari...

Aapke dil mein na sahi
Zindagi mein to koi jagah hogi humari
Mann mein na sahi
Aankhon mein to koi tasveer hogi humari

Aapke hoton ki muskaan jis mein humari har khushi hai
Kabhi to wo muskaan humari wajah se hogi
Aapke dil ki khushi jis se roshan duniya hai humari
Kabhi to wo khushi humari wajah se hogi

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shopaholism Revisited

There's this e-mail that has done the rounds any number of times, which talks about the differences between men and women. One of the things it says is that a man will pay two bucks for an item worth one buck that he needs. A woman, on the other hand, will pay one buck for a something worth two that she doesn't need, but it's on sale.

Well, that's not exactly what we do. What we do is, we plan a shopping trip when we hear that there's a sale on at our favourite store. Then we go through all the sale items and don't find anything we like. Eventually we pick something that's really nice, but it's not on sale. We don't pay a rupee for a two rupee item. We pay the two rupees. Now we don't need this two rupee item either. It's just that we came out here to shop. And shop we will. Because it makes us feel good. Makes us feel nice and pretty. And that's really important in our world, you know.

Those who've seen How I Met Your Mother will recall how Lily, one of the female protagonists on the show, accumulates an insane amount of credit card debt by shopping for designer clothes and shoes every time she's upset about something. That's a slightly extreme version of what we all do. Today I bought some stuff that I'd actually been eyeing for a while but deemed too expensive. Today I got it at half price. Now because it was half price, I bought a little more than what I needed. And that, my dear readers, made me feel awesome.

By the way, interesting little write up on Wikipedia about the more extreme form of compulsive shopping. Did you know it's called oniomania? I didn't. Quite possibly, Alok did, going by his comment on my earlier blog entry on this subject.

More From The American Sister Chronicles

This week my cousin sister from America came to visit again, for four days this time. She and her friend stayed with us this time. I was in charge of showing them around the city for the two days that I took off from work. As it happened, Delhi's weather did not agree too much with Kiran. Where my mamaji and his family live in the States, it's quite pleasant in the summer and snows in the winter. And Kiran and her friend spent the last one month in Dharamshala where the weather is really nice too. So she's not used to this sort of heat and humidity. Got really unwell on Wednesday. So we ended up spending most of the day at home, watching Failure To Launch on DVD, chatting, stuffing ourselves with mounds of food... only going out for a little while in the evening.

On Thursday I took Kiran and her friend to the Cottage Industries Emporium. We had a lovely time shopping there and at Janpath. I've been to Cottage a number of times before this. I never knew they had a kids section. That day we explored that section and bought all sorts of toys including a hot pink stuffed elephant. Thankfully the weather was a little kinder that day, with the sun hiding behind the clouds and a pleasant breeze. So our Janpath shopping experience was pretty good.

Later that evening, my parents and Nikhil and I took the girls to Red Fort for the light and sound show. It was a nice way to peek into the history of Delhi. The show was very similar to what goes on in Golconda fort in Hyderabad. Interestingly, I saw the one at Golconda more than two years ago when I visited Hyderabad. But I wasn't even aware that there was a similar show at Red Fort until a few months after the Hyderabad trip. And I did not actually see it until this Thursday.

Had a late dinner after the show at Slice Of Italy. The only time we had non-Indian food during Kiran's stay. Because she actually likes Indian food a lot. And she relished it at every meal during her month-long stay in India.

On Friday morning I had to go back to work. And the girls were supposed to leave for the airport early in the evening, before I'd be back. So we said our goodbyes in the morning, in the hope of visiting each other again in the near future.

If I'd Known How Savage Love Is...

If I'd known how savage love is
I'd have shut the door...

Lines from Don't Look Away that plays in the background in the opening sequence of Mr And Mrs Iyer. I love that movie. I love these lines. I love the story. I love the way it's presented. The performances are amazing. If you didn't know better, you would just not believe that Konkona Sen is not South Indian. I have seen that movie a number of times over. It evokes this feeling that, no matter how bad things get, there is always something nice in the middle of it all. In the middle of riots and violence, you can spend a couple of awesome days falling in love. Although, as it turns out, that love was a little inappropriate and did not lead anywhere. Which brings me back to the lines from the song that I started with. Can you actually shut the door? Can you actually stop yourself from falling in love with someone with whom you think it is inappropriate for you to fall in love? I don't really think so. You can prevent yourself from expressing the feeling, you can keep it from getting in the way of your normal social and professional tasks, but you can't keep yourself from feeling that feeling. Because it doesn't knock on the door, you know. You can shut the door as tightly as you want, but it will just barge in.

That's what I think. I know a number people who've been through this sort of thing. I've been through it. I still know that a lot of people are going to disagree with me. But I'm pretty firm on this. If you were able to choose whether or not to fall in love with someone, it was probably not love to begin with. It was something milder that you would have got over pretty soon anyway. But if it was supposed to be love, it will take you over eventually. It might be a more selfless form of love, that does not need to be reciprocated in full measure, but it will be love.

But you know, I also sometimes think that if you haven't loved with all your heart and soul and had your heart broken, you can't really appreciate true love when you find it. You need to feel the pain, experience the total agony, in order to fully enjoy basking in the sunshine when the sun comes out from behind the clouds and smiles at you. And until that happens, you need to hang on to the hope that it will shine down in your yard and brighten up your days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Changes Revisited

A little while ago, a friend of mine and a fellow blogger pointed out to me that that most of my blog posts are pretty long. I didn't quite believe her until she pointed out that they were so, at least in comparison to her blog posts. This is the same me, writing these long-winded posts on my blog, who was once complimented by her English teacher in school for being the person to write the least and to score the most among all her classmates in her pre-board examination. The same person who could barely manage to write a twenty-word answer for a question with a forty-word limit. The same person who, for the above mentioned reason, always finished exam papers in half the allotted time. (Incidentally, I also always finished my Mathematics papers in half the allotted time, but that was for other reasons.)

In recent times, a number of my colleagues have told me that I'm quite outgoing and chattery (I know there's no such word, but you get the idea.). This is the same person who, in school, could not muster the courage to speak to a school mate or a teacher whom she did not know. The same person who was told by one of her teachers that she was a good candidate for the Head Girl of the school, but was not appointed because she was not outgoing enough. When this same girl, who had to settle for Deputy Head Girl, describes herself as shy in her blogger profile, her team mates stare at her with the most incredulous expressions on their faces. The same girl who used to think a zillion times before calling a classmate she wasn't too friendly with, spent her fourth and fifth semesters of post graduation calling up Human Resources personnel in all kinds of places for Tech Fest sponsorships and then for placements.

Times change. People change. I've changed a lot in the last eight years. Well, I think we are all ever-changing. But I've noticed changes in myself more prominently over these years after finishing school. There are lots more I can talk about here, but that requires me to think and I'm not in a mood to do that right now. I'm not sure which changes are for the better and which are for the worse. But you know, that's the law of Nature. That's the beauty of life. It's so completely dynamic. So unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes a small incident dramatically changes the way we look at things. Sometimes one evening changes our lives forever. But those are the incidents I look forward to. Those are the evenings I live for. Because change is what life is all about.

Being Yourself

Aren't we all a little inhibited about really being ourselves? Inhibited by what people are going to think of us? There was this episode of Friends in which Phoebe and Rachel went jogging in the park. Phoebe was running like the free wind, with her limbs running helter - skelter in a hilariously ridiculous fashion, almost independent of the rest of her body. Rachel was quite embarrassed at this and was worried about what people in the park would think. Phoebe made her realize that those were people she did not know and would never see again. That thought has stayed with me. It's amazing, the feeling you get when you free yourself from all your cares and don't worry about what people think, least of all people you don't know and will never see again. Because what are these people ever going to do for you? How is their impression of you ever going to affect anything? If you are ever unhappy, will they make you happy? So why do you care what they think? Break free from the chains, soar high, do exactly what your heart prompts you to do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weird Stuff From Movies That I Like

There are a few slightly odd things in various movies that I find really adorable, or really memorable. Here are a few of those:

Marriage proposals that went unaccepted:

Mallika proposing to Rahul Bose in Pyaar Ke Side Effects. I think it's the only time I've seen a woman propose to a man in an Indian movie. It makes the feminist in me feel really good. This proposal was eventually accepted... well, not really. Rahul Bose eventually proposed to her on his own. The original proposal went unaccepted. That makes the feminist in me feel really bad.

Shah Rukh Khan proposing to Manisha Koirala in Dil Se. He asks her to marry him. She tells him that she doesn't have the time. The poor guy is left completely dazed, trying to figure out what hit him. It's a very serious and yet hilarious scene.

Out-of-tune renditions of beautiful, classic melodies:

Ajay Devgan singing Chingaari Koi Bhadke in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. I'm not too sure about exactly what I like about this part of the movie, but I love it. Totally off key, but straight from the heart.

Khan singing Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Naata Koi in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. One of the most refreshingly different romantic scenes of all time.

Miscellaneous stuff:

Julia Roberts escaping from her wedding in a FedEx truck in Runaway Bride. The character she plays in this movie is a little insane and terrified of marriage. She tries to get married four or five times and realizes she's marrying the wrong guy and runs away. But when she was about to marry Richard Gere, she knew she was marrying the right guy but she'd become so used to running away at each of her weddings that she had the FedEx truck waiting for her right outside the Church and she made good use of it. Eventually she did marry the same guy, in an open field, where she arrived riding on a horse, dressed in a traditional white wedding dress.

Shrek and Fiona choosing to look like ogres instead of looking totally awesome in Shrek 2. They very effectively deliver the message that it's what's inside that counts. And well, they still look completely adorable!

It's so much fun, writing about weird stuff that I do or like. I should do this more often. Be prepared for more nonsense, folks.

Unrequited Love

Teri mohabbat humein naseeb na hui to na sahi
Teri dosti ne humein jeena sikha diya
Teri judaai ne aansoo to bahut diye
Tere saath ne humein muskuraana sikha diya

Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na

Those who've been following my blog and/or talking to me in recent time will know that I was really looking forward to Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. Last weekend I could not find the time to catch it. The paucity of time is also evident from the minuscule number of blog posts that I wrote last weekend. And it seemed to me that everyone on the face of this earth had already seen it within three days of its release. So I was worried I wouldn't find decent company to watch it in. Well, what do I know? I was wrong. I actually had a chance to watch it twice over, once on each day of the weekend, with two disjoint sets of friends.

Whenever my friends from school have asked me to join them for a movie that I'd already seen, I've said yes and gone ahead and watched everything from Devdas to Mithya with them for a second time. In spite of the fact that I did not enjoy Mithya when I watched it the first time round. Quite possibly I was in a really bad mood that day and not happy with the company I watched it in. Because I liked it when I watched it with my friend Aditi a second time.

This time, things were a little different. I'd already booked my tickets for Jaane Tu... for Sunday and Gullu wanted to watch it on Saturday. After some discussion, we settled for Hancock on Saturday. We had some trouble arriving at mutual consent on the show timing. In the course of this discussion, Gullu was constantly pleading with me to change my mind about watching Jaane Tu... twice. I obviously had to give in to all that eventually. I did. As Aditi said, by now I'm quite used to watching movies for a second time with this set of friends. So it was Gullu, Adi and me for Jaane Tu... on Saturday night. I think I would not have enjoyed Hancock as much as the repeat telecast of Jaane Tu...

Imran Khan is such a piece of eye candy! Looks wise, I think he brings together the best of Aamir Khan, Parvin Dabas and Jugal Hansraj. And not a bad actor at all.

Anyway, this is the first time I am writing a movie review. Be warned, in case you haven't seen this movie already and want to see it, this blog post may contain spoilers.

The situation in which they sing Kabhi Kabhi Aditi was hilariously disappointing. But it's an amazing song. It feels so happy inside my head. This entire movie was such a laugh riot. I don't think I have laughed this much since Hera Pheri. And I don't think I have felt such a close connection to the characters and the circumstances they are put into since My Best Friend's Wedding, which was ages ago. I could so well connect to Aditi (the female protagonist) and to everything she did or said throughout the movie. Everything, from her relationship with her brother, to her feelings for Jai, her personality in general, is so much like me. It's so much like a lot of us, I guess. That's the appeal of this movie. I like a movie when I can relate to the characters, feel what they feel, laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry. My brother watched this movie a few days before I did. I asked him how it was. He very enthusiastically told me that he liked it. I think this is the first time in twenty two years that he's given that sort of feedback on a Hindi movie. So I went with really high expectations. This is a level of expectation that only two movies have measured up to in the last two years. One is Taare Zameen Par and the this is the other one. We really need more people like Aamir Khan in Bollywood.

This movie has an amazing feel good factor to it. It's also wonderfully well written and well directed. I thought that only in fairy tales does one find a knight in shining armour riding on a horse chasing his princess. Well, what do you know? It happens in Aamir Khan's productions as well. Okay, not exactly, but just about. The airport chase and Imran's completely out-of-key rendition of Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Naata Koi puts this sequence straight into my list of the most memorable proposals ever portrayed in Bollywood movies, along with Madhavan's ruined monument sequence in Rang De Basanti and Kunal Kapoor's broccoli on a fork proposal in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. I came home with a huge smile on my face on Saturday night, humming Kahin To... to myself. That, by the way, is one of the most amazing songs I've heard in a while. So is Jaane Tu Meri Kya Hai, which, by the way, does not actually feature in the movie. I'll be humming these songs for quite a while now.

Related stuff I wrote earlier:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Selfless Love

How selfless can love actually be? How patient? Does stuff that happens in movies like The Notebook actually happen to real people? How many of us would actually put hours of effort into a relationship for returns that last five minutes? How many of us would be genuinely happy if they love someone who is happy with someone else? Well, I do believe that you haven't really lived fully if you haven't loved someone with all your heart and soul, even if you ended up completely heartbroken. But I think it takes a person of quite extraordinary character to love with complete devotion and selflessness. To give all you have without expecting to receive anything in return. To quote Rekha in Zubeidaa, "Pyaar ki aag dono taraf lagi rahe to jalti rehti hai. Warna bujh jaati hai." (Those may not be the exact words, but they carry the exact message.) Most of us are, well, human. A little selfish. We need a give-and-take relationship. We need returns for the effort we put in. We like making another person happy, but we also need that person to make us happy.

Just a string of thoughts to invite comments from people...

Being Friends

What is friendship all about, really? There are times when I wonder aimlessly about this. It's not just about hanging out with people and having fun spending time with them. That stuff is important, actually. But by itself it's all very superficial. These are not the significant reasons why we have friends in our lives. Those reasons are way deeper than this.

Back in our college days, Ruchi, Kavita and I had a discussion on what makes someone your best friend. I had a long list of stuff there. Like who's the first person you look for when you want to share your joy. Or who's the first person you look for when you need a shoulder to cry on. The one person you feel most comfortable discussing you most intimate secrets with. Kavita had an interesting take on this which has stayed with me after all these years. She said she'd try to figure out why that person became friends with her in the first place. Today, when I look reasonably normal and talk fairly normally, there are people who are nice to me. But what happens tomorrow if (heaven forbid) I meet with some sort of misfortune and I end up becoming really ugly and unable to talk properly? Who do I know who will still be my friend if something like that happens?

This was five or six years ago. Since then my viewpoint on this had been modified a little. It's still not that radical, though. I think that all of us find reasonably good friends when we are in college or working in a certain place. But the significant ones are the handful who take the trouble to stay in touch with you after you are no longer studying or working together. That's the most significant reason why I value my friends from school and then my friends from my undergraduate years over all my other friends. Because my relationship with them has stood the test of time and distance. On the other hand, I've already almost lost touch with the vast majority of people with whom I did my post graduation.

To me, keeping in touch with friends does not just mean seeing them regularly or talking to them regularly. I think it's more important that, whenever you talk, however infrequently that is, you catch up on the significant stuff going on in the other person's life. You know what matters and what does not matter to your friend. You tell them what matters to you and what doesn't. They know it when something's bothering you or something's not right with you. They know just what to do or say in order to make you feel better. They know when to leave you alone. They also know it when you say you want to be left alone but you actually don't. And you know all that stuff about them. It's a two-way street. You lean on me, I lean on you, and we'll both be quite okay. That's what I think it's all about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Quirky Traits

I'm sure everyone has their own oddities, their own typical, strange habits. I definitely have mine. Some of them bug my family and friends endlessly. Some don't. But all of them contribute to the definition of the person that I am.

I love cutting my nails. I do it about once in two days. I have never been able to figure out why it's such an interesting (Is that the right word?) activity for me. My mom and my brother are constantly poking fun at me for this. A whole lot of people suspect that I bite my nails, because I cut them so short. A lot of them refuse to believe that I don't actually bite them.

I love it when my friends scold me. I generally need someone to tell me to stop being a stubborn idiot, especially when it comes to taking medication for some ailment or going to a doctor. There was the time when I broke my foot and refused to quit the gym until Rachita gave me a sound scolding. And just yesterday, I was struggling with a really bad cold and refusing to take any sort of pills that would give me some relief. I still refused to do that after being reprimanded by Ashish, but just being reprimanded felt so good for some strange reason.

And then, of course, there's the one oddity for which my brother and my dad and my friend Sumit and some other friends have bugged me any number of times. I cannot go without taking a bath twice a day. Summer or winter, rain or shine, I need my morning bath in order to wake up properly and my evening bath in order to sleep well. This is something that Sumit, in particular, finds really strange. There was this time when he told me he would lock me up in a house that had no facility for bathing. He promised me air conditioning so I wouldn't feel too hot. He promised he'd show me Vivek Oberoi's movies so my mind would be pleasantly occupied. This was back in the days when Saathiya had been recently released and I'd become a major fan of Vivek's. I told Sumit I wouldn't give up bathing for anything. I'd probably go crazy in a day's time if he ever actually executed this plan. For that eventuality, he had a backup plan. He'd never unlock me from there.

And then there's this weird habit that my friends from school are a little too familiar with. I so totally enjoy correcting people's grammar and spelling. There was this time when I used to respond to Sumit's e-mail with his original text quoted, and all spelling and grammatical errors corrected and highlighted. It terrified him enough to run a spelling and grammar check on the testimonial he wrote for me, before posting it on orkut. This one's not really my fault, you know. I developed this habit because I spent way too much time on the editorial board of my school magazine. Now that it has been eight years since I left school, this has dampened a little but it still resurfaces from time to time.

There are possibly a number of other strange habits that I have that I cannot think of right now. But what I'm thinking right now is that, these are the sort of things that make life intriguing. I generally tend to like people who are a little weird, because they are more interesting. Not too weird, though. But I think we all do and should have some strange, unique traits that make us who we are. Life is more fun that way.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Some Lines From Songs That I Totally Love

From Tere Bina Zindagi Se from Aandhi:

Jee mein aata hai tere daaman mein sar jhuka ke hum rote rahein, rote rahein

And from Is Mod Se Jaate Hain:

In reshmi raahon mein
Ik raah to woh hogi
Tum tak jo pahunchti hai

From Mera Yaar Mila De from Saathiya:

Sirf ek teri aahat ke liye
Kankar patthar but saare sune

From Mora Saiyyan by Fuzon:

Pyar tumhein kitna karte hain
Tum yeh samajh nahin paaoge
Jab hum na honge to peharva
Bolo kya tab aaoge

From Bol Na Halke Halke from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom:

Umarein lagi kehte hue, do lavj the ik baat thi
Woh ek din sau saal ka, sau saal ki woh raat thi

PS: Bhavna/Ashish/Hemant: This does NOT sound like a bhajan!!!

From the title song of Haal-e-Dil:

Aaja tujhe haaton pe kismaton sa likh loon main
Aaja tere kaandhe pe umr bhar ko tik loon main

From Paas Aaya Kyon from Aggar:

Kyun yakin uth gaya dil se kahin wafaaon ka
Pyaar mehsus kyun hone laga gunaahon sa

When You Believe
from Prince Of Egypt:

There can be miracles, when you believe
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe

At The Beginning
from Anastasia:

I'll be there when the world stops turning
I'll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you

Closer Than Ever
from Bombay Dreams:

There'll come a morning
When we'll awaken
Closer than ever
Slowly but surely
Sooner or later
Closer than ever
Breathing the same air
Dreaming the same dreams
Closer than ever... before

How Many Stars
from Bombay Dreams:

Everyone needs a sense of belonging
Someone there who always understands
That precious gifts can come from empty hands

This is in addition to the ones I've mentioned here:

My Achievement Of The Day

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is a huge deal for me. I had a huge fear of driving with my parents sitting in my car. Both of them have a strong tendency to overreact and hyperventilate at little things. There was this one time when I tried to drive my Dad's car with him. He totally freaked me out the instant I took control of the steering. This was when I was just learning to drive. That afternoon I decided I simply could not drive with him. I could not let him teach me to drive.

A few months later I bought my own car and let my friends help me learn to drive it. I've faced any number of jokes from a lot of my friends, especially the guys, surrounding my driving skills. But eventually these friends helped me through it all. Jayant, in particular, had an almost magical effect on my confidence levels on two separate occasions. And Manoj dealt with me with an incredible amount of patience and regularity. Since then I've driven all over the city by myself and with my friends in tow. I've driven my brother Nikhil around. But I was terrified of driving either of my parents around.

In January this year I took the first leap. I took my Mom shopping in my car. That was a really short drive actually. Around three kilometres each way. Today I finally drove to Rajouri and back with my mamaji, Nikhil, and both my parents. Nothing bad happened. Totally peaceful. Feels good inside my head. I'm glad I faced that fear.

For Mom And Dad On Their 27th Wedding Anniversary

I always crib about stuff that my parents don't do, stuff that I didn't do because they discouraged me from doing it. Today, on their special day, I just want to take some time to appreciate everything that they did for me. I'm in a really good place in my life, and it's all because of them. I would not even have been able to write like this if my mom hadn't got me interested in reading when I was around four. I read somewhere that kids whose parents read to them learn to read earlier than other kids. I think it's probably true. My mom spent any amount of time reading bedtime stories to both of us when we could not read on our own. I read the same stories myself as soon as I was able to. She gave up the formative years of her career to bring us up. I'm told I was a terror to my parents and my grandparents in those days... howling late into the night and demanding to be taken outside the house in the middle of the night. She put up with all of that. No wonder she no longer has much patience with me :P. But she still has a lot more patience with me than I do with her. She's given up a lot for us. And I no longer regret everything I claim I didn't do because of lack of support, financial and otherwise, from my parents. Because I'm happy being where I ended up. In my own odd ways, I love my parents very much.