Start me up!

So, the blog hasn’t seen a new post in a long time. I have a valid reason. I am working for a startup. This is the second startup I’m working for and I can safely put up this post.

Here are the things you have to forget when you’re working in a startup:
1. Ego: There’s no such thing as an ego in a startup. People will not recognize your company. The neighbor who shows off about the fortune 500 MNC he works for has won hands down! When you call people on behalf of your company, be prepared to the following reaction: ‘What?!?! What company is that?’ If you deal with college students (especially the snooty variety) be ready to be insulted, rejected and treated with malice. Sometimes people you’ve hired will act like your bosses and throw around attitude. Bear with it and don’t forget to flash that smile. You NEED them!

2. ‘Me’ time: The moment you signed the contract, you sold your soul. Your time is no more your time. You’ve got to bear with your phone tinkling at 2 am, you’ve got to answer it because the world might be coming to an end and you have to sound cordial if not chirpy.

3. Sleep: When you’re in your bed trying to dream of the hot eye-candy you’ve been noticing on a random hoarding on the way to work (that’s your only hope for bird watching!), you remember that you should have sent out another reminder for the upcoming deadline. You manage that with your fancy GPRS and then doze off. But no you must not sleep. When you’re not at work, you have to think about work. Panic attacks, nightmares about files lost and more will keep you away from your beauty sleep.

4. Social life: First up, there’s no time to dress up and all that. Secondly, if you’re working as hard as you are, you have to get some rest! Don’t forget that you’ve got to be at work mentally when you’re not there physically. And the rest of your day is for sleeping(refer to clause 3)

5. Pessimism: Even if you have a slim chance of completing the stuff by the stipulated deadline, you must truly believe that you will finish your work and do a stellar job. Remember, positive attitude can move mountains (so can begging, pleading and sticking to clause 1!)

6. Boredom: It’s hectic, it’s chaotic but you’ve got to love it. With so much to do you better love your job. You can’t survive the crazy chaos if you’ve not got the passion!

Role Medals

India’s performance at the Beijing Olympics is the best ever according to many newspapers today. Abhinav Bindra, Vijayendra Singh and Sushil Kumar have made their country proud. Their dedication and hard work has paid off.

They have been given billions of rupees in award by various government bodies as well as individuals. Newspapers and magazines cannot stop singing praises of these new found heroes. This hype brings a positive change to sports like shooting, boxing and wrestling. Inspired by Bindra, Singh and Kumar youngsters are enrolling in shooting, wrestling and boxing.

Till date, every child’s dream is to play cricket for their country. The ambitious parents enroll their children in the best possible cricket academies. They pay the coach to get their child to play at district level.

The scene was different a decade and a half ago. Parents didn’t exactly jump at the idea of sports as a career. Then the 1983 world cup happened and cricketers became demi Gods. Suddenly, becoming a cricketer was not so bad.

Maybe this a positive change. Finally, people might start noticing that there are sports other than cricket and they are cool too. We needed these medals so badly!

Review: Bachna Ae Haseeno!

I don’t trust film critics these days. They are highly biased and I’ve found myself enjoying quite a few films that they panned and I have detested some films they glorified. So despite all the bashing the film got, I jumped at Sneha’s plan.

Let me give you a background. Although everyone’s enjoying the long weekend and all that, most of the CampusJunkie team was reading articles and busy rating them. By Saturday afternoon I was exhausted. The film was a break from all the work.

The story:

It doesn’t take too much to guess that BAH is a good looking, sweet-talking guy’s story. He’s been surrounded by hot women, and he starts talking about three loves of his life… He can put all you romeos to shame with his moves and of course, his looks. The first half is a fun-filled, picturesque narrative of how Raj (Ranbir) goes around breaking hearts before his very own heart gets broken. The second half is an emotional (almost bordering on the ham side of things) roller-coaster as Raj sets out to seek redemption and apologise for his actions.

The first half is extremely fun, it’s got your typical Yashraj film elements(Europe, DDLJ fan and a missed train, what can get more Yashraj than this?) The second half continues to be inspired by DDLJ too but starts getting a tad boring. Siddharth Anand should give up on trying to make his audience weep. It doesn’t work! (Please refer to Ta Ra Rum Pum)

Performance:

Ranbir rides on his family equity yet again. In Saawariya, he encashed the Raj Kapoor equity and now with Bachna Ae Haseeno he tries a hand at encashing his father’s brand equity. But I welcome the chocolate hero of the new era of Bollywood. We’ve had quite a few actors unsuccessfully trying to cater to the chocolate boy image that Rishi Kapoor, Aamir Khan enjoyed through the initial years of their careers. Ranbir fits that image effortlessly. One tip though, keep the lipstick a shade lighter, Ranbir. Nobody likes a boy with rose-bud pink lips!

Minisha fails to emote except when she’s crying. With her flawless skin and all that, she looks like the quintessential Punjabi soni kudi.

Bipasha: BIMBO! She looks horrible. Her attempt at being the girl next door who is trying to make it big in Bollywood, falls flat on its face. She pulls of a JLo-esque Bollywood superstar Shreya effortlessly though.

Deepika: Make-up doesn’t suit her. She looks a bit too fake and her acting skills need some polishing. However, she’s a sight to see in ‘Khuda Jaane’. The woman does have breathtaking features.

Final Word:

It’s a nice movie to catch on a Saturday evening. According to Sneha, it’s a great date movie as well. A much better film from the Yashraj banner after the horrific crap that they’ve been coming out with last year (hello! Remember JBJ & Tashan?!?) This one however, cannot compete with a DDLJ or DTPH. So it hangs somewhere in between…

My verdict:

Watch once if you want to have fun. Enjoy the peppy title track and the soothing Khuda Jaane and get refreshed. I sure am!

Thank You… For freedom…

61 years ago, the Brits packed their bags and left the Indians alone to mind their business. We celebrate this date in India as the Indian Independence Day.

Stop at a traffic signal and a child approaches you to buy a plastic replica of the Indian tri-color. You buy it in the spirit of celebrating the liberation of your country. Do you notice this child’s ragged clothes or his withered hands? Do you notice how sad it is that this child, who should be studying and enjoying a childhood has a mighty sales target at the tender age of 9?

Moving on… We make plans for the day. Meeting friends, sleeping at home, watch a movie and a lot more. It is nothing but a holiday for a majority of people. They see the parade on the road or catch a few TV shows (which are oozing of patriotism only to raise their TRPs…)

School kids attend the mandatory flag hoisting ceremony at school, run back home to study for the upcoming mid-term exams. ‘It’s so unfair… We are independent now, so what’s the big deal. I’d rather sit at home and finish the history chapters,’ says a student who’s swamped with homework. I want to tell her to jump to Chapter 11 in her history textbook that describes the moment, the midnight hour when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru welcomed freedom into a nation that had been ruled by the British Empire for a century and a half.

But no, she shouldn’t jump to it. She should read through the text and understand how many lives were laid down to get to that moment. She should know about the magnificent lives who strived hard to give us this Independence that is ‘no big deal’ for her.

‘So the Brits were pretty damn mean haan?’ her young mind asks.

My mind says yes and no. I truly believe that it is the British rule that instated the feeling of patriotism amongst us. Before they arrived, we were a bunch of states ruled by Kings, who fought amongst themselves.

The Brits, united these territories, for ease of administration for them, but thus bringing us under one roof. They brought with them modern western education that taught us to rationalise beyond religion. This education created a class of Indians who went on to fight against age-old customs. If it wasn’t for the Brits, individuals like Raja Ram Mohun Roy or Maharshi Karve would have found it hard to fight the staunch beliefs of an orthodox society.

As an Indian woman, I feel grateful to the Brits and people like Roy, Karve and Phule. They fought together to introduce education for women. They helped us come out of the kitchen and see the world. They fought hard to abolish the Sati ritual. Can you imagine jumping into your husband’s pyre, because without a husband your life is invalid? You can’t! So say a small thank you to these guys today.

As a citizen of this country, which is developing at a fast rate, one thinks of JRD Tata who pioneered industrialization in this country. The technology and the know-how came to India, thanks to the Industrial revolution in England.

Our public transport system, our impeccable postal service, the governance, education, has been set up by the British rulers of that time. The systems they installed were good enough to withstand corruption and million other hiccups that an independent country suffers from.

As a journalist, I feel grateful to Mr. Benjamin Horniman. His name has been eternalised in Mumbai with a magnificent garden opposite the Asiatic library. Have a hard look and you will know why this gentleman was important. As a pro-freedom editor of the Bombay Chronicle, he promoted the feeling of nationalism. With his coverage of Jallianwallah Bagh massacre and his propaganda to plan Satyagrahas against the Imperial rule, this man made a monumental contribution in creating the strongest platform to unite all Indians in thought and opinion.

Take some time and try to imagine what life was like before 15th August 1947. And then think of the day today. It’s not just a mere holiday, it’s a day for us to value our freedom. It is a day to remember our rights and more importantly remember our responsibilities as the citizens of a free India. While doing so don’t look at the British era with hatred. They are a huge part of the reason why we are what we are today. What we will be tomorrow will be defined by our thoughts and actions.

Jai Hind…

Random Blog Talk

i was checking my blog stats yesterday, when a regular blogger went, ‘just 2000 views!’. Bust went my bubble. I was thrilled with the views i was getting. Well, i do obsess over my blog stats, but I just didn’t realize that 20 clicks a day was dismal.

Of course, this was followed by a two line discourse on getting more clicks. ‘Writing things that people really want to read about is the key,’ thus spake the blogging guru.

The thought doesn’t excite me. I write this blog to unwind after a hard day at work. Its a place for me to put my thoughts up. And its wrong to let the so called public demand manipulate my thoughts. So, I will not be bothered by the slow pace at which the clicks on my blog are going. All I care about is writing…

Since I am writing about my thoughts, I have something to say about the trees in five gardens. The trees in five gardens have been around  for along time. They are so dense that on a sunny day, you will none of the sun rays on the walking track.

Every morning, the sun plays hide n seek with the leaves. Hundreds of birds have made these trees their home (and that’s the reason why you find bird crap on your t-shirt occasionally…lol) When it rains, you can just hide under on of the trees and you will be safe from the rain for at least 10 minutes.

But this morning a couple of them lay broken… Not trimmed but heartlessly chopped. Why? Because they have gotten too big… How many times are we going to ignore the valuable gifts bestowed upon us by the nature???

Things I learned today

1. Joys of GPRS: I am now blogging from my mobile phone. I should have figured this out before. All it took me was 5 minutes…
2. The joy of just doing it: The fact that I figured this stuff in 5 minutes, made my belief in ‘now’ stronger.
3. Take out time to make a playlist of all your happy songs. They charge you with positive energy while you commute to work. And when you’re driving back, it helps you unwind.
4. Eat! Well the diet may not permit it but just a tiny bite of the cookie you’re craving for is worth the calories.
5. Driving by the sea in lashing rain makes you want to stop the car, get out and dance in the rain!
6. Sometimes its okay to stop the car once in a while.
7. Posting from the mobile is fun!

Changed for good

Diwakar had tagged me ages ago on his blog. I decided to write it out today… These are the things that changed me… Looking back at all these things made me realise that many things touch you and you don’t even realise what a transformation they bring about in your personality.

A Writer and two books: Each book I’ve read made a difference to my life. Be it a book like Single in the city or a novel like The Kite Runner or even The Secret. Each book taught me how to feel, how to understand, how to think…

One book that changed me remarkably was Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It made me realise the power of wanting, the power of my heart. Same goes for The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes. It made me realise the power of things that I already knew. It reduced my pessimism, it made me believe.

Khalid Hosseini and Margaret Atwood taught me how to look deep within characters. The Kite Runner and The Blind Assassin are two books that made me realise that I want to write more, and I want to write better.

A Movie:

I eat, sleep and breathe cinema. I enjoy most of it including ultimate dreamy bollywood melodramas, to bollywood classics a la Sholay to Hollywood romances, action. There’s also been a lot of World cinema on my DVD player.

A movie that made me want to contribute in some way to cinema is You’ve Got Mail. The film is brilliantly written and plays forward with the characters. Recently, watching Khuda Kay Liye and The Dark Knight put a lot creative wheels in motion for me.

Having said that, I must say that I have written a novel, which might make a great film someday. Only if Karan Johar would have it! Wishful thinking, but then, I believe in destiny.

A Person:

There have been many people who have made a big difference in my life. But one of the most important among them is Nilu Niranjana Gavankar. She is a woman who’s lived her life on her own terms. She worked in the US with Bechtel, and then she came to Mumbai to make a film! She did it, she made the film. But she also touched my family’s life in that period. She taught me how to look beyond the obvious. She made me believe that I was special. She taught me how to value what I had. She made me believe in the power of stories. She made me.

In my teens, if there was one person who decided where my life would go, it was Nilu. We haven’t been in touch for a long time, but somehow I remember her everyday.

My sister. She came into my life and transformed it. She is the voice of reason in my life. She is someone who I can depend on. I cant imagine life without her.

Its hard to think of just a few people…. Raj Kamble, Shashikant Sawant, Javed Akhtar (through his book and his lyrics), Warsha and Rahul Kale, Avinash Paranjape, Bharat Kaka… I have been blessed with these wonderful people who enrich my life each day…

Events:

My school life. It was extremely dorky, weird and I don’t think I can ecognise the person I used to be back in school.

My college days at KC. I realised that loving someone along with their flaws is the most staifying feeling ever.

My uni days at Sussex. They taught me how to be on my own. They made me love solitude.

My days at Yuva: I met very special people while I was working here. The friendships still exist though I have moved on from Yuva.

Nimmai’s death… Dealing with bereavement was the hardest thing. To deal with the fact that I won’t ever see my grandmother again just took days… Even today if I pass by Poonam Baug, tears well up…

I tag: Vishesh, Yashshri, Sneha, Jugal, Pooja and Mruns

Why?

I am wondering…

Why do we trust film critics? We all know they are moody, erratic and have odd favourites…

Why do we let other people decide the course of our lives? They end up hurting you more often than not…

Why do we make long lists about what we want? We tend not to know what we really really want unless we lose it…

Why do we obsess over what makes us look good or bad in front of people? What matters is what makes us feel good about ourselves…

Why do we always try and be much matured? It’s nice to have a touch of childhood in everything we do…

Why do we fret and fret about getting what we want? It’s nice to want and appreciate what we have…

Why do we always worry whether the dress is too tight or the shoes too simple? One smile can make you look worth a million dollars…

Just a few passing thoughts…

Right to life: Who decides?

Everyone seems to be talking about the Mehta case for the last couple of days. For those who don’t know, Niketa Mehta fought the law to fight for her right to abort her 25 week old foetus which has congenital heart problems.

The verdict is out and Niketa Mehta has been denied the permission to terminate the pregnancy. In a country where many abortions are done behind closed doors without the knowledge of the law, here is a couple who went and knocked on the courts for justice and for their unborn baby. The baby might have heart problems, shortness of breath and may even need a pace maker shortly after its birth.

There are strong chances that this child will not able to lead a normal life. Had Ms. Mehta found out about this a month earlier, she’d have had the right to terminate her pregnancy. Under the MTP Act, termination of pregnancy after the period of 20 weeks is prohibited by law.

Niketa does not want to bring this child into the world to suffer. She’d rather let her baby go. As I read the story done in different papers, I found myself confused. Is this right? Was the court wrong? I felt incapable of making a statement about this. I haven’t borne a child or raised one to empathise with Niketa. So, I asked Mom.

‘Do you know how much hurts to see your child suffer? That’s exactly why she doesn’t want the baby…’ she said as she tossed a hot paratha into my plate. I couldn’t help but wonder, if that child is destined to be born and to Niketa, who is the law or who is the mother to interfere with the forces of destiny.

I shuddered as I read that a 26 week old foetus can smile. Imagine, if the foetus can feel things, does it feel his/her mother’s requests to abandon it? Does it sense that the mother wants it terminated? I start wondering how it might feel if my mother didn’t want me… And my heart goes out to the unborn child.

I wonder what’d happen if this child was born, and Niketa brought it up with all the love she can (I believe she will because she’s a mother and they love their kids no matter what). And then suddenly a television report or a news story reminds him/her of the court room drama that determined their fate and of the fact that it was that judge who decided to bring them into the world and not their own mother. The way the media is going right now, I won’t be surprised if that happened.

Suddenly, my Mom puts her hand on my shoulder and says, ‘On second thoughts, however they are, your children are yours. You love them anyway,’ she sits down and continues, ‘so if a mother doesn’t want her child to come into the world, it is always for a strong reason. She makes that choice out of love. She’s aware that the life she might bring the child in to is much worse than death.’

That reminded me of my aunt, Neena maushi, who kept telling us how important it was that we understand our Mother through the rebellious teenage years. She’d always say, “When your mom tells you to jump from the 10th floor, don’t ask why, just jump without a second thought. Know that she’s telling you to do so, because grave danger is lurking behind you. A mother always knows the best and will protect you at all costs!”

Maybe that is what Niketa is doing. Maybe she doesn’t want her child to ask her why he/she can’t run around in parks, maybe she doesn’t want to see her baby cut open the day it is born, maybe she doesn’t want to see the baby depend on a pacemaker… But then maybe that child deserves a chance. Maybe that child is destined to struggle and sail through. Maybe Niketa is destined to stand by her child through its struggle.

After all who are we to fight destiny?

PS: Just after i wrote this post, I read that the Mehtas are not challenging the court’s order. Jaslok hospital in Mumbai has offered to perform the surgery for free for the Mehta baby. The Mehtas are yet to accept or decline the offer.

July July

July was fabulous. I was on my toes with work and yet I ended up watching a lot of films, reading some books and enjoying quality time with family and friends. So here is a quick recap:

Films: It was raining good cinema for me this month. I got my BigFLIX membership in place, so have caught up on my backlog of films to watch. So yes, there was a lot of cinema. I enjoyed watching Jaane Tu… in the theatre with Sneha, Jugal and Nanya. It was funny, how I ended up watching Girl Interrupted and The Dark Knight back to back. I saw a lot, I repeat a lot of films last month. Girl Interrupted inspired me to write this: http://compulsivewriter.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/sanity-in-insanity/

Music: Mainly tripped on Hindi music this month. I had criticised Kahin toh from Jaane tu because it was ripped off from an English song. But the lyrics are just so beautiful. ‘Jaane na kahan who duniya hai/Jaane na who hai bhi ya nahin/ Jahan meri Zindagi mujhse/ Itni Khafa nahin’

Of course, Simon&Garfunkel are still ruling the iPod!

Ambition: I want to buy a new phone. But I can’t decide which one

Dreams: Weird stuff. Pannu and me planning to leave for a long holiday, then there was one where I was ill and didn’t want to tell people… Just a lot of weird shit

Moments: Quite a few that made me smile. There are people around me who have such immense faith in my writing! Thanks Avya kaka, Mohit, Nani, Sneha and Jugal!

Regrettable: Watching City of Dreams. As Omu called it- City of Nightmares

Boohoo factor: Pannu left for Jaipur and I won’t be seeing her for 2 months! Boohoo!

Food: Yet again I have been well nourished! Ate everything and the last two weeks, I have gone for meat like never before. I enjoyed a nice meal at Da Vinci with Omu dada… Mom’s birthday dinners were good stuff. The rooftop restaurant at Orchid is so lovely. On a rainy day, the cool breeze, the pitter patter of rain and the well lit runway just make the place magical. The food is just about okay, and the service, just about alright!

We also went to Gaylords for a meal and the conversation that night was fodder for thought. It gave birth to a post. http://compulsivewriter.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/homage/

People: I met up with Avya kaka for a great lunch. One of the best evenings I had was a Sunday, where I met Om after a long time. We sat and talked and talked, as usual. After that I met Sneha and Jugal, we drove to MIG in his new car! We had great food, great conversation and then another fancy drive. We ate ice-cream, walked near Carter Road… Friends make life worth living.

Missing: Shefali and our late night dinners and ‘discussions’ at 59 east slope! Lathia and Satam, they just haven’t met me in a long time. Urvashi Rao, for the walks at SP, random movies and intense discussions about fate, people and life… Basically, I have been missing friends.

Dreading: How hectic work’s going to get soon

Enjoying: A thousand splendid suns

Wondering: How can things like height, complexion, income and location help someone find the love of their lives!

Figuring out: What do I exactly want?

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