3 Idiots & Chetak Bakbak: Yeh Kya Hui?

January 2, 2010

Following the brouhaha between Chetak Bakbak and the 3 Idiots team, Video Vinod Chopped-ra decided to get everyone in a room and decide how these differences can be settled so that he can concentrate on writing his next blockbuster with Himes bhai in the lead, titled ‘2010: A Greater Love Ishtory.’

The discussion is preceded by everyone ritually dancing to the groovy dance moves by the 80-year-old-looking-13-year-old.

After taking a breather, Chetak Bakbak (CB), Ameer Kan (AK), Rogered Kumar Hairaani (RKH), Abhi-jaata-hun Jyotshi (AJ), and Video Vinod Chopped-ra (VVC) were sitting in a circle with the famous single-butt-styled 3 Idiots chairs. To mediate the conversation, they called upon Chatur who insisted that the ‘Balatkar‘ he referred to in the movie was in fact a prediction that he had made on 5th September 3 years ago, which would affect the movie post it’s release.

Chatur: Maananiya atithiyo – main aapka swaagat karti. Mahabharata abhi part 2 nikali. Usme main samay ka role karti. Yaad kariye 3 years ago, isi place par, main bolti tha ki ek time aayega jab hum sab phir idhar hi milenga aur humko hamara past haunt karega. Lekin hum yeh bhi bola tha ki hum tab tak super star ban jaati aur tum log fighting karti. Haha…my prediction was ekdum theek. Ab tum kya bolti, Bakbak? bolo bolo…

CB: I am hurt.

AK: Aila, now by what?

CB: Aah…this pin that was pricking me while I was sitting. Yes – now this whole copycat thing that has been blown out of proportion… VVC/RKH – why don’t you admit that you had planned this and the fact that it took Abhi-jaata-hun 3 years to write this script was because he couldn’t find a pen that Ameer thought was perfect for writing?

RKH: (Silence)

VVC: Kee honda yaar? Koi gal nahin. I have referred to you in the rolling credits. Why do you want to create a scene yaar?
CB: My mumma couldn’t see my name. Even I eventually found out that it was there from my millions and billions of fans in India.

VVC: Oye, your maa must have forgotten to take her spectacles with her. No wonder she was sitting in the hall for 20 minutes after the movie finished. Lack of concentration yaar – hota hai, hota hai.

AK: (Interrupting) No no Video, dil hai ki manta nahin. This is just a stunt. Chetak just wants additional publicity because the movie that I made .. err.. RKH made was so good and is a super hit. What kind of a ‘purush’ is he?

VVC: Chill Ameer. Main Hoon Na!

AK: Aila, why are you talking about that chhichhora who dances in marriages right now?

VVC: No baba, not him, not him. I meant me.

CB: (Crying) Something something ille. Talk about me. I am hurt.

AK: Let me speak since I am a super actor, interfering producer, ghost director, and a six-pack builder. Chetak – why are you making baat out of batangad?

CB: But Ameer, my idol (whom I will bulldoze with my pointless rant), they didn’t show me the script, they didn’t let me watch the film first, which is why I lost the bet with my millions and billions of fans and had to pay 350 rupees from my pocket for each person in my building’s society to watch this movie. I want paisa vasool now.

VVC: But Chetak yaar, this was all part of the contract. As for allowing you to watch the movie first, I had only 3 chairs in my screening room and you wanted 1 seat for yourself, 1 for your popcorn and the last one for a mountain pile of your new book (2 states). Ameer wanted to watch the movie each time I would screen it and chop and cut and edit some scene or the other. That’s why I gave one seat to your popcorn, 1 to your pile of books, and one to Ameer. That is why you lost out na? Now, don’t do cheating bachcha.

CB: Oooeei maa … that hurts too!

AK: Look – the real writer of this film is Abhi-jaata-hun Jyotshi. Talk to him. Oye, Abhi-jaata-hun, where are you?

AJ: Oh teri. Abhi aata hun.

AJ: Yes Ameer Sir. How are you sir? Sorry sir, had gone for toilet break.

AK: Arre arre no problem AJ. You know Chetak, right?

AJ: Yes Sir, of course I know Chetak. I had copied everything from his book only. Whatay book saar, whatay book! I felt love with each word I copied. I would like to give you my tohfa Chetak. Kabool karein.

CB: Mumma!

AK: Hey, AJ don’t spoil the plot. Put your trousers back on. You will eventually give your tohfa to him, but for now, just hold on to whatever you have back there. I think there needs to be a change in plans. I will do all the talking from now on. VVC, RKH, and AJ – keep your mouths shut. I am a perfectionist. I will take care of it. Haan to – Chetak, bol.

CB: So, are you going to give me due credit or not? I am talking about right in the beginning of the film, before your name.

AK: Oye, watch it. I will give you my Ghajini scream, bare my body, sweat a lot, do pull-ups, and beat you up after that.

CB: Ok ok sorry Ameer. How about after your name, but mentioning that more than 70% has been copied from my book?

AK: Ummm…

VVC: (Interrupting) Nahi yaar Ameer, that will make me look like the Anu Malik of movie direction. Can I say ‘initialized by Chetak Bakbak’ instead?

CB: Lekin yeh ‘initialized’ cheez kya hai, yeh ‘initialized’ cheez?

AK: Dekh Chetak – you have to lose some if you want to win some. Khelna hai to khelo, warna get out.

CB: Ameer, look – I want to end this soon. I think British Dundee is catching on to our ploy.

AK: Woh taklu? Let him be. Let me tell you the problem yaar. Abhi tak feel nahi aa raha hai. You have to cry a bit more, whine a bit more, tell the media how your billions of fans are hating it and how much more your Mumma is crying. Thoda aur feel lao, aur emotions lao. By the way, the look is good huh? Unshaven look and all…achha hai accha hai. Tear your kurta a little bit the next time you go on TV, ok?

CB: Ok Ameer. So, it’s a deal then. I’ll whine and then you give me my spot.

AK: Yes. VVC aur RKH – theek hai na?

RKH: (silence)

VVC: Koi baat nahi yaar. Sab chalta hai, yeh bhi chala lenge. But I want tears – real ones – from your eyes, like the ones that people shed when they watched my real-life autobiography ‘Kareeb’.

CB: This is too much yaar. I am threatening you now. We are on the 8th floor. I will jump down. Watch it, ok?

VVC: Arre Chetak munde, you are taking it too seriously. I was just joking. Whatever Ameer says.

AK: But there has to be some marketing buildup for this. It looks too easy right now. AJ, I have been giving you credit all along about being the script writer. Kuchh to soch na yaar.

AJ: My tohfa is always for you Ameer Saar.

AK: Chhee…keep your tohfa to yourself. Kabhi to theek se dhoya karo yaar. I only like Chatur’s tohfa since he also gives me a 1+1 free offer of a silent killer fart with the tohfa. Learn something I say. Anyway, done deal Chetak.

“You cry and
we wipe it dry
but only if this issue is tweeted by Stephen Fry

VVC: Wah wah Ameer. Kya sher hai.

AK: Woh kya hai na Video, I am practicing poetry for my next film, which is also K…k…kkkiran’s directorial debut. She wants me to play a poet called Teelu and so I’m getting into the skin of the character.

CB: The one titled ‘Dhobi Ghaat’? What’s the connection between you being a poet and Dhobi Ghaat?

AK: Wohi toh – marketing strategy. I can’t tell you now. Later later. I am doing a role of a dhobi who secretly writes lyrics for Karan Joker’s movies. But all this is hush hush – theek hai na?

CB: Ok – done deal. I have a TV interview right now. Watch the way I cry and say that I don’t want anything, but am hellbent on kicking up a fuss about it. Sab set hai na phir Ameer bhai?

AK: Sure sister. Pakka pakka. As an added sweetener and if you do a good job, we can talk later about one of my sequels to 3 Idiots titled “2 P’s (Phunsuk and Pia)”, where I will directly rip the story from your latest book and which will again be directed by VVC and RKH. We’ll make it a big reunion by getting AJ to write it for us again.

CB: Oh ho…more sales for my new book. After my publisher refused to sell the book for more than Rs 95, I had to do something to make my rozi roti. This is perfect. Can’t wait Ameer…can’t wait. Tra la la la la. Mummy – fun is coming.

Ameer: Theek hai…accha hai…accha hai – it’s all settled then. RKH?

RKH: (Silence)

Chatur: (Shocked) Arre, yeh kya hui? My Mahabharata part 2 turned out to be phuski? Yeh nahi ho sakti. Oye Phunsuk ser, I will complain to Mookes bhai and there will be another balatkar on the film about how the set was captured without his permission.

AK: Oh teri! Arre Chatur. One battle is over, but the war is left. Don’t worry yaar. Stick with me and I will teach you the ropes.
VVC: Ameer is right. Jung abhi baaki hai mere dost, jung abhi baaki hai.

Chatur: Yeh jung is left? Yeh kya hui? Anyway, if you are also saying, then main maanti. But, I want a big role in the next film, haan? Nahi toh I will make your sthan my dhan.

VVC: Haan Chatur, my brother from another mother. I will give you a contract right now that you will be mentioned in my next film. Guaranteed!

AK: Chalo bhaiya, finally. Aal eez well then. Theek hai na Rogered?

RKH: (Silence)

VVC: Arre Ameer. Iski bolti bandh hai. He is still in shock after my stunner blockbuster ‘Eklavya’ as well as my expert media-handling styles. All settled. Aal eez well…aal eez well.

Song Packaging In The Hindi Film Industry – Part I

December 28, 2009

The idea to write this post came to me yesterday on a flight from Hyderabad to Delhi, while I was browsing songs through my iPod. Usually, the hallmark of a great song is one where you lose yourself completely in the song.

I am an avid movie watcher and most often when I listen to certain songs, it brings back vivid pictures of the actors from that song and the emotions they went through. While the interwoven lyrics and melodies are the larger reason why songs work or don’t work, there is yet another critical aspect of these songs that determines how popular the song becomes, which is the picturization and the production values.

As a result, I decided to write and share with the readers of this blog post, songs that are not only melodious in nature, but have brilliant picturizations with regard to the plot of the film, as well as with regard to production values and overall ‘feel’ of the song. Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I do writing.

Aaj Kal Paon Zameen Par – Ghar (1978); Singer: Lata Mangeshkar; Music: RD Burman; Lyrics: Gulzar; Director: Manik Chatterjee; Starring: Rekha, Vinod Mehra

This is a song that has haunted me ever since I’ve heard this song. The visuals of this song further strengthen the impact of the song. To me, it is one of the few romantic songs that strikes a chord, where the synchronization and mood of the song match the picturization as well. Natural acting and excellent cinematography makes it one of my most-loved songs. Simplicity is one attribute that stands out in this song. Incidentally, this is also one of RD Burman’s favourite compositions as suggested during an interview in the 80s. This song was very close to his heart as well.

Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye – Anand (1971); Singer: Mukesh; Music: Salil Chowdhury; Lyrics: Yogesh; Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee; Starring: Rajesh Khanna

Few songs touch the cord and describe the true meaning of life as this one does. The thoughts of a dying man, who’s living each day painfully at a time come to the fore through the words of the song. A beautiful melody and very few people (if anyone else at all) could showcase a man standing in his balcony wondering about when death will come to him.

Incidentally, there’s an extra paragraph in this video clip that doesn’t exist on the cassette/CD of this movie. Watch this clip just for that paragraph.

Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli – Anand (1971); Singer: Manna Dey; Music: Salil Chowdhury; Lyrics: Yogesh; Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee; Actor: Rajesh Khanna

By now, it must be evident how powerful a screen-presence Rajesh Khanna demanded. Only Hrishikesh Mukherjee could pull off a song where they show nothing but a man walking down the beach with a few helium baloons in his hand throughout the song and not make it boring at all.

Roop Tera Mastana – Aradhana (1969); Singer: Kishore Kumar; Music: SD Burman; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Director: Shakti Samanta; Actors: Rajesh Khanna; Sharmila Tagore

Very few people know that this entire song has been completed in a single shot without any breaks. This was not intentional, but just speaks about the intensity and dedication of the actors to their work. One of the best seduction songs ever produced.

Aasma Odh Kar – 13B (2009); Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Chitra; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Neelesh Misra; Director: Vikram K Kumar; Actors: Madhavan, Neetu Chandra

The reason why this song makes this list is because it is perhaps one of the few songs that has been shot in slow motion for the major part of the song. Further, keeping with the theme of the movie, the melody has a haunting feel to it.

Kitni Baatein – Lakshya (2004); Singers: Hariharan, Alka Yagnik; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Farhan Akhtar; Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta

If there’s one song where the acting emotes more than the song, it’s this one. The silence between the two actors says a thousand words between them. Simply (and without saying too much), brilliant!

Ye Hawaayein – Luck By Chance (2009); Singers: Amit Paul, Mahalaxmi Iyer; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Zoya Akhtar; Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Isha Sharvani

A wonderfully shot song, which was not easy to shoot, especially with two unknown actors trying to re-create romance the way traditionally, good-looking couples do on-screen. However, having said that, this is one song that has been picturized with an aim to please and has the ‘feel good’ factor going for it.

Main Agar Kahoon – Om Shanti Om (2007); Singer: Sonu Nigam; Music: Vishal Shekhar; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Farah Khan; Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone

This is one song that has been picturised in a dream-like sequence, creating different themes to suit the mood of the song. A very-well choreographed song and perhaps one of the best romantic numbers in recent times. This is also an insight into how, if certain directors want, can create romantic musicals that can still do wonders for the dying art of creating melody.

Dil Dooba – Khakee (2004); Singers: Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal; Music: Ram Sampat; Lyrics: Sameer; Director: Rajkumar Santoshi; Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar

Not a great/catchy song at all, but the way it’s been shot in sepia (?) is very interesting and makes it a treat to watch.

Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili – Kareeb (1998); Singers: Kumar Sanu, Sanjeevani; Music: Anu Malik; Lyrics: Rahat Indori; Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra; Starring: Bobby Deol, Neha

I am sure that when you read the name of the song and saw the names of the artistes who were involved in making this song, you would have wondered what this song was doing here. However, there’s something about this song and the way it’s been filmed (incidentally, this is the last film that VVC has directed yet), that mesmerizes you. These folks took romance to an entirely new level – twilight, river with ‘diyas’ floating all around, wet actors, waltzing to the song, extra long ‘dupattas’…. It’s unconventional and that’s what makes it different.

Tumhi Dekho Na – Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006); Singers: Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Karan Johar; Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee

Of all the songs that have been featured in Karan Johar’s movies, this one stands out as the best. One that contains imagination, emotion, and all the ingredients of making it a song that one relishes audibly as well as visually. Great use of pastel shades and colors. Amongst my personal favourites as well. When lovers meet…this is what happens.

I’ll be back soon with subsequent parts to this thread.

Thanks for watching/reading.


Song Packaging In The Hindi Film Industry – The Concluding Part

December 28, 2009

Continuing my previous post on Song Packaging, I thought I’ll follow up the post with some new additions, many of which have been suggested by my readers and some that I might have missed out in my earlier post.

Kya Karoon – Wake Up Sid (2009); Singer: Clinton Cerejo; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Ayan Mukherji; Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma

A song that captures the youth in its essence. If you want to understand the mind of today’s teenager who wants to live life for today rather than worry and think about tomorrow, here’s a song that tells you exactly that. What especially stands out in this song is that this song is the typical day in the life of a fresh, college-going student. Guess it takes a young director to bring out the emotions and feelings of the younger generation.

The scene where Ranbir seems to be floating in the air without a care in the world is the defining moment of the song and is representative of a feeling that every teenager must have experienced at some point in time in some way or the other. Generalistic, but true.

Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan – CID (1956); Singers: Md Rafi, Geeta Dutt; Music: OP Nayyar; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Director: Raj Khosla; Starring: Dev Anand, Shakila, Johnny Walker

If there is one song that defines the characteristic of a city like Mumbai, it is this one, which has rung true since the year it was produced. The practical nature of the song is overwhelming and one can really identify with this song. This is also one of the few songs that have been entirely picturized on a comedian (although a song featuring Johnny Walker was but obvious in a Guru Dutt production) and has survived through the ages. Even today, people can’t picture anyone but Johnny Walker singing this song as he roams the streets of Mumbai characterizing everything in sight and telling the story of the city through a crude but true lens.

Dost Dost Na Raha – Sangam (1964); Singer: Mukesh; Music: Shankar Jaikishan; Lyrics: Shailendra; Director: Raj Kapoor; Starring: Raj Kapoor, Vyajanthimala, Rajendra Kumar

Raj Kapoor’s first color magnum opus was a runaway success and brought out one of the best films that Indian Cinema has ever seen – the second coming of the Great Showman. Raj Kapoor’s acting prowess is best noticed in this song when he sings this song knowing fully well what transpired between his wife and his best friend. The pain is evident in his expressions with a sort of self-submission to his ill-fate when he faces the camera and is accentuated very well by Mukesh’s voice. But, the moment he looks at Rajendra Kumar and Vyajanthimala, while he pretends to not know anything, his furtive glances tell them that he is fully aware, but prefers to not acknowledge it.

Rajendra Kumar and Vyajanthimala’s expressions are filled with guilt, and moments of their togetherness float by their eyes, which has been captured extremely well by the cinematographer and the director. Just proves to the world at large that one doesn’t have to bleed or shout in anger to express emotions, unlike today’s movies. This is called ‘acting’, where not a word is spoken, but emotions are communicated via looks.

I have intentionally included the song in 3 parts, where the buildup to the song, the main song, and the concluding portion of the song play out all the emotions of one of the most powerful moments in Indian cinema. A majestic masterpiece.

Roz Shaam Aati Thi* – Imtihan (1974); Singer: Lata Mangeshkar; Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Director: Madan Sinha; Starring: Vinod Khanna, Tanuja

*My dad’s suggestion

One of the few songs that have been experimented with and shot at twilight in the 70s. The colors are magnificient and completes this song. Camerawork and lighting were immaculate in the challenged days when no digital photography existed and means were limited. While the song may not be an all-time favourite, it is one which is apt for the mood that the surroundings suggest.

Dhoom Taana – Om Shanti Om (2007); Singers: Abhijeet, Shreya Ghoshal; Music: Pyarelal; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Farah Khan; Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone

This is the second song from the movie Om Shanti Om that has been featured in this series of posts. There are only 3 reasons why this song makes the cut:

a) The music has been composed by Pyarelal, yet he doesn’t find mention in the inlay card of the CD. This is incidentally, the only song that he has composed after his partner’s death (Laxmikant).

b) Digital morphing and photography at it’s best when Deepika Padukone is seen dancing with superstars of yester-years. Very cleverly done. Makes me imagine and wonder what if these stars were brought back to their glorious days and asked to act in movies today.

c) Fantastic set design. The screen comes to life.

Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam – Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959); Singer: Geeta Dutt; Music: SD Burman; Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi; Director: Guru Dutt; Actors: Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman

If there was one director that significantly changed the way we looked at Indian Cinema, it was Guru Dutt. Any list would be incomplete without having a song featuring one of his movies/himself. Guru Dutt’s sheer genius comes to the fore in this song. Note once again, that this song does not have any lip syncing, but the actors’ emotions speak louder than words. The lighting and effect of the scene have a lingering effect that tells the story of the entire movie in a matter of a few minutes.

The final shot of the song is one that associates itself with the sad demise of the director and is the one last lingering memory that Hindi film lovers hang onto till today and will forever continue to do so. That was the magic of Guru Dutt.

Bade Achche Lagte Hain – Balika Badhu (1976); Singers: Amit Kumar, Rajni Sharma; Music: RD Burman; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Director: Tarun Majumder; Actors: Sachin, Rajni Sharma

Innocence personified. A young, engaged couple sitting near the banks of the river let their emotions flow without being explicit about it. One of RD Burman’s best compositions and Amit Kumar’s first hit song.

Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan – Mera Naam Joker (1970); Singer: Mukesh; Music: Shankar Jaikishan; Lyrics: Shailendra; Director: Raj Kapoor; Actor: Raj Kapoor

The perfect song to end this chapter. A song that will make you teary-eyed even if you have no context to the song. The autobiography of a man who was an entertainer till his last dying breath. Incidentally, this movie bombed at the box office and left the Greatest Showman on Earth penniless and heartbroken on seeing that a subject which was so close to him was shunned by the public to which he had dedicated his entire life to.

If you were to watch this song again, this is perhaps the song that sums up Raj Kapoor’s life in totality and leaves you in awe. It is safe to assume that Hindi Cinema will never see another Raj Kapoor ever.

The Kids These Days!

November 29, 2009

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time, but did not get the time to do it. Finally, with some time on my hands after escaping from work early, since it’s my wedding anniversary today and my wife is out of town, I thought I’d at least do something that I’ve wanted to in a long time. And that my readers, is share my thoughts with you.

Today’s topic that I have decided to write about is one that frustrates me to no extent to see the kind of spoilt ingrates being churned out by society. A child’s life today is over-protected. As we steer more to the western school of thought and the fact that hurting a child can lead to terrible consequences, the percentage of unsuccessful, low on esteem, frightful, and often queer folks has increased multifold.

There used to be a time when parents would wield a stick, teach a child discipline, and let the child fend for himself in difficult situations. This would be the norm and the done thing. However now, the times – they are a changin’.

Today’s parents are into ‘child worship’. This excessive devotion to children is just mind-numbing. Today’s professional parents are constantly overscheduling and overmanaging their children, and are robbing them of their childhood. Even the simple act of playing has been taken away from them. Something that is supposed to be spontaneous and free has become rigid and overtly planned. Nowadays, a 4-year old should not be playing outside in the sun. He should be inside studying and cramming hard for his Kindergarten entrance exams. All this is for noone else, but for his parents pride and egos.

Children today aren’t allowed to play the ever so famous ‘chor police’, because it includes “victimization”. They aren’t allowed to play ‘tag’ because it includes ‘exclusion’. Instead, they are encouraged to play indoor games involving strategy, games involving intelligence. Where has all the fun gone? These are not droids that we want to churn out. Humans are what we are and humans are what we are expected to produce.

Having said that, when the child finally gets to play – whatever game he/she is allowed to play, the child will never lose, because in today’s world, no child ever loses…everybody wins and noone is a loser. Everyone gets a trophy. No child today ever gets to hear those all-important character building words “You lost”. Instead, these kids are told “You’re the last winner”. Often, these kids don’t hear the right words right up until their twenties, when their bosses tell them to their faces, “You’re a loser!”. And then, this 20-year old child crumbles, goes into depression, and then the psychiatrics take over.

Turn off the internet, the idiot box, the CD ROMS, computer games and let your kids stare at a tree for a couple of hours. Every now and then they will actually come up with one of their own ideas. You want to know how to help your kids? Leave them alone.

Children these days are overrated and overvalued. They’ve become little cult objects. Today’s parents have a child fetish and that’s not a great thing. Often, you’ll get to hear “I love my children”. Well – everyone loves their children…it doesn’t make the person who’s saying it any more special or what they’re saying more believable. Stop praising your kids in front of others (or even in front of the kids themselves). Noone whom you’re telling these things to wants to know, because noone cares. What is this mindless rambling, the neurotic fixation that suggests that somehow everything has to revolve around the life of your child?

What is it with mobile phones and kids these days? How can parents give a 7-year old a cellphone and encourage him/her to talk using that phone? Calling them up in the middle of the day and asking them “Did you eat? Did you go to the loo? When are you coming home? Where are you now? Who are you with? Don’t play with boy ‘X’ because he is a mean boy “. No wonder kids these days run far away from their parents as soon as they are able to. I don’t blame the parents for asking these questions too much, but what I am objecting to is this obsession of not being able to leave their kids alone to fend for themselves and make decisions on their own. So what if it’s the wrong one? They’ll make the mistake and learn. It’s not the end of the world. At least you end up teaching your child one of the most important things in life – being bold enough to take a decision.

Kids love showing off shiny, new things. I remember I used to take pride in a pencil-box my parents once bought me. I would go around showing it off to everyone I knew in school. Often, if I would get good grades, I would tell my friends that it’s because of the lucky pencil/eraser I bought the other day. That is innocence personified. Not like today’s kids, who go around showing off their mobile phones letting other kids know that they have GPRS and can watch videos on their phones. This then forces the jealous kids to make demands of their weak parents, who, for the sake of showing their kids how much they love them, go and buy these kids a better phone than the one they initially demanded….and the cycle goes on.

Do parents really need to “show” their love to their kids? I mean – isn’t it obvious? They bring you into this world, they live together, they feed the kids, they take care of them, they get mad at them as well. Is that not good enough? Why do parents have to buy their kids things, tolerate misbehaviour and indiscipline to show their kids how much they love them? It just makes the kid weaker and more insecure than ever before, not to mention spoilt.

Finally, when the kids turn out all wrong and the parents catch the kid smoking one day at the shop around the corner, they’re going to be ignorant of the fact that they didn’t teach their kids the right things (and expected their schools to do it for them – after all, they spent all their money on that fancy air-conditioned school without uniforms and books, that allowed their children to move around in AC buses, fed them during the day with 5-star category food, allowed them to take a nap, and didn’t give them homework since it was considered as too much pressure for the child). Instead, they blame the tobacco companies, advertisements, the Western world, movies, filmstars, and even believe that the camel in sunglasses asked them to smoke. Today’s parents are responsible for today’s generation and they have failed to make their kids understand right from wrong, good from evil, and even truth from dare.

Children are the most beautiful and innocent things that were ever created. Parents end up spoiling them by imposing their beliefs and views, being overprotective, scheduling their time for them, succumbing to their kids’ whims and fancies, letting the child take control of them instead of the other way round. At the end of it, these same parents end up demanding respect from their children. They forget that respect cannot be demanded – it must be earned….and we all end up blaming none other than “the kids these days….”

From the Archives – Time

August 13, 2009

Since I was recently harping about how it is time to get out of ‘The Comfort Zone‘, this is an old post that I thought I would cross-post here. ¬†There’s no connection, but just felt how much we talk about having ‘no time’ to do anything.


Of the three types of input that every activity needs, material goods, skills, and time, I’ve come to feel that perhaps the least understood is time. In conventional economics, it is treated as a commodity to be bought and sold at will, and therefore needing no special consideration. Yet experience suggests that the economics of time is not quite so simple.

We need time to work, to eat, to sleep, and to accomplish all the daily chores of living. We also need time to know and understand our partner, our children, and our friends. Most of our relationships, in fact, require more time than we have, and it is difficult to avoid the feeling that we could never have enough. Nor is our list of demands on our time complete. We have ignored the time we need to be alone, a necessary but invariably short- changed period.

I know many people, myself included, who often feel “time poor” and who bemoan this limitation. Perhaps this attitude is a great mistake. Perhaps if we were to embrace the limitations of time, to celebrate them and explore their implications, we would find that they hold an essential key to the fundamental attitudes and experiences we will need in a humane sustainable culture.

The Guns of Gurgaon

August 9, 2009


A direct post from a news article. I don’t even want to say anything…

Managing Gurgaon traffic at gun point

7 Aug 2009, 1215 hrs IST, Ranjan Roy, TNN

GURGAON: I invariably approach the Delhi-Gurgaon toll gate on the expressway prepared for the worst. But I wasn’t quite ready for what I saw on
Gun on Gurgaon streets “I wasn’t quite ready for what I saw on Wednesday night,” says Roy.

As I navigated my car towards one of the tag-users lane, trying to avoid trucks and cabs muscling in from all angles and squeeze through thin spaces between the multiple lines, I was cut off by a light commercial vehicle that barrelled down from the right.

The LCV nudged me out a bit but I stood my ground. It then moved forward and tried to growl its way in. I rolled down my window to give the driver a piece of my mind. The driver of the car in front of me, who was seated at the back while his owner drove, got off and tried to reason with the trucker to back off. But the truck driver
wasn’t listening.

That’s when I saw the artillery come out. A young man, wearing jeans and tee, leapt out of the driver’s seat and rushed to the truck. He whipped out a revolver and held it against the LCV driver’s neck and asked him for his licence. The ashen-faced driver, his bravado now drained by the black barrel pressed to his adam’s apple, meekly complied.

I almost cheered! If this wasn’t a dangerous act of vigilantism, the young man could deserve a medal for bringing some order to the toll gate chaos. With traffic billowing around the chicken necks that the tag lanes have turned into, I regularly see tempers fray and people routinely roll down their windows and curse and even get off and thump bonnets of cars that try to nose in from the sides into the lanes. But guns being pulled out was a new one.

As I watched the young man hold the LCV driver at bay, some other cars and cabs tried to sneak into the lane and blocked his car again. Having crossed the LCV, the gunman now strode ahead to take on smaller prey. Brandishing what looked like a heavy-calibre revolver, the kind cops are armed with, the man yanked out the ignition key from one car and threatened a few others that were seeking to muscle in.

“Goli marega kya?” shouted a cabbie. The young man hissed something – possibly, “Don’t tempt your luck.” A middle age man had come out of his car to say something to the young man. His family was screaming inside, trying to tell him not to provoke the man with a gun.

By this time his car had crawled to the barrier. The young man tucked in his revolver back into his jeans and drove off, fading into the traffic.

The Comfort Zone

August 9, 2009

Sitting in one of the plush malls in Gurgaon, I was having a discussion with my wife about life in general. It is then that it became increasingly clear to me that I had become like the others…something that I had promised to myself years ago that I would not become.

The Comfort Zone as I refer to it, is the typical situation in which a working individual finds himself in. Resigned to the fact that the rest of his life is going to shuttle between his workplace and his home. The same dreary routine of waking up in the morning, rushing to work, rushing back, having dinner, and falling asleep for the major portion of his life. It’s getting into this comfort zone that I have always been wary of and now I feel that I am getting into this position as each day passes.

I asked myself what is it that I have to look forward to in the next few years? The answer was not very difficult to come up with if I were to look at things from a normal human’s standpoint: I now have a home loan, the liability of which forces me to work days on end, tirelessly. I will soon have commitments towards my family, which again I have to work the same way years on end, tirelessly. Life becomes similar to a million other lives in the past and possibly a billion other lives in the future.

Is this what I thought life would be? Away from friends, family, loved ones? Not being able to find joy in the smallest of things? Am I in a place where I don’t want to be only because of money? Doesn’t that make the meaning of life so trivial?

Well it’s true that the power to change one’s life lies in one’s own hands and my life is not an exception to that rule. However, the willingness to do that rests on more than just one’s whims and fancies. There’s an inherent amount of risk that one has to take and each person’s situation to take on that risk varies. My ability to take on that risk, for the sake of my family, is extremely limited.

My wife asked me, “What do you want to do, what do you want to be”? My answer, which I felt was too dreamy and non-consequential was “I want to be famous. I want to be different. I don’t want to be in a situation where I get uncomfortably comfortable with life the way it is right now. I want to do something that I enjoy, that I find pleasure in. If asked what do I see myself doing 3 years from today, I can only say that I will be sitting behind some desk doing pretty much the same stuff that I am doing now. Sure, there will be salary hikes and I will still have my job till the age of 60 or thereabouts, which is precisely what I mean by being uncomfortably comfortable.”

Of course, there might be unforseen situations that might make things uncomfortable, but my classification of feeling comfortable is different. It doesn’t revolve around my being handicapped and unable to do anything as being classified as uncomfortable, but moreso challenging myself to do new things, following a passion and living life on my terms.

It’s time to move on. It’s time to take matters into one’s own hands. It’s time.