15 Park Avenue

7 06 2007

I saw “15 Park Avenue”, a movie by Aparna Sen on TV yesterday. Meethi (Konkana) is a journalist and sometimes shows symptoms of dormant schizophrenia. She stays with her elder divorcee sister Anu (Shabana Azmi), mother (Waheeda Rehman), works as a journalist and is in love with Jojo (Rahul Bose). She lives an almost normal life.

Inspite of frank advice from Anu, Jojo gets engaged to Meethi. On an assignment out of Kolkata, Meethi gets gangraped. She withdraws from reality and keeps sinking deeper and deeper in her fictitious world and the dormant disease slowly takes over. Jojo dumps her, marries Lakshmi (Shefali Shah) and they have two children.

Eleven years later, Jojo runs into Meethi who now can not recognize him anymore. According to her, she is already married to Jojo and has five kids. The names of kids are exactly as Meethi and Jojo had planned, in their dreamy, golden, happy times together. Jojo now feels responsible towards Meethi and wants to help her find the non-existent house at “15 Park Avenue”, which according to Meethi is her home, where her husband and kids are waiting for her. And then there are lots of small threads within the movie, about Anu, the mother and how their lives also metamorphose with Meethi.

There are some very effective lines in the movie. Somewhere in the movie, when Jojo feels responsible towards Meethi, he tries talking to his wife Lakshmi. He says “She is looking for something that doesn’t exist.”, while talking about Meethi and her search for 15 Park Avenue. Lakshmi, who is struggling to come to terms with the sudden turn of events in her well-fixed matrimony, who is not able to empathise with him, replies “Like all of us.”


Cheeni Kum

3 06 2007

We saw Cheeni Kum today.


Amitabh Bachchan. Is smashing.

And I. Am smitten. B-)

1 06 2007

It crushes my ego. Every time. Every single time, I read “Ladies” written over a few windows in the city buses. Right next to “Handicapped” and  “Senior citizens”.

For a long time I strongly believed that one is a victim only if one chooses to be. That everybody always has a choice. And over years, I have realized that for some of us, one of the choices is just really difficult to make. That it is much much easier said than done. But I still can not swallow the blanket categorization of half the population as the “weaker” sex.

I am trained in karate (for full 15 days) and can change the furniture arrangement all by myself, you know.

1 06 2007

I don’t buy Sunfeast, avoid travelling by KingFisher and eating Bingo (I love some of the silly ads though, the “waango pongo illa” one especially). The reason being their ITC, UB group – tobacco, alcohol connection. It does not have much logic, but it makes me feel “socially responsible”.

I prefer going to the old fashioned single screen movie hall Rex, against Inox or PVR. Rex is clean and the tickets cost half or less and there’s no waiting in serpentine queues for tickets. Above all, the one place where the multiplexes lose hands down is the popcorn. 80 bucks for a medium popcorn! Afterall, one can’t go to a movie and not have popcorn, can one? Sometimes the cheese popcorn is what one is counting on while going for movies like Spiderman 3 or Hum Tum.

The number of people who don’t know the concept of “jhootha” khana (no equivalent word/concept in English??), blows my mind. People with unusually high standards of cleanliness and fuss otherwise, people who iron their socks and other smaller clothes, people who deprive themselves of panipuri just because the setting is road side, people who always wash their plates before eating at the cafeteria and then waste 5 tissues wiping them even when the plates are already spotless and shinining. Yes the very same people don’t care much when it comes to tasting random people’s saliva. At team lunches begins the double dipping of food in the common dip, offering you to taste their drink (probably flavoured with bits of food they’ve been eating or worse the ice-cream that they’ve been licking like there’s no tomorrow) and expecting you to offer yours in return, serving food into plates with the spoon touching their plate (plate with half-eaten food that’s starting to look mucky) with a tak-tak sound…

The aroma of poli

14 04 2007

Summer afternoons, after a hearty breakfast of dadpe pohe topped with freshly grated coconut, were spend royally lazing around, fighting with sister, making clay utensils in the balcony of the unoccupied house next door, playing and reading loads and loads of books bought especially for the summer vacation. Half an hour before lunch time, aajji(grandma) would start making polis(chapatis). Not fulkas, the Maharashtrian style polis, the bigger and layered big sister of fulkas. As she would bake one poli after another and neatly stack them up in a steel dubba, the sweet smell of baking would fill up the entire house. Sometimes it would even reach the playground.The smell had the capacity to make me start imagining of what all aajji would’ve cooked for lunch. It used to be a very simple meal so to say. But that aroma used to make me look forward to the delicious bhaji, koshimbir, golya sambar and polis, that she used to prepare unhurried. Sometimes when the game or the book could not hold our attention from the hunger inducing aroma, we would start hovering around the kitchen. And then she would wash her hands, wipe her hands with her saree and then apply some toop(ghee) on the polis, sprinke an even layer of peethi saakar(powdered sugar) and roll them up for us. That used to feel like pure bliss.

I am missing that smell today, right now. The smell of polis getting baked on a iron griddle under the soft, careful hands of my aajji. There is something very comforting about food cooked by *any* housewife. Even on weekends, when I dont rush through my cooking, that calm, seasoned touch always seems to be missing.

Was that a dream?

9 04 2007

Life feels a little surreal sometimes. For instance, I met Udit Narayn some ten years ago at the Bangalore airport when I was about to board my first flight. That flight by the way, has been the most turbulent flights so far. After a 3 hour flight that felt like a lifetime, the torture seemed to be coming to an end as the familiar glowing signboards of the city started to appear below. I was partly relieved as we landed on the airport. Or so I thought. The wheels must’ve been millimeters away from the ground when the flight took off again and thus began a never ending sequence of turbulent circling around the city. I really thought my time had come. I tried to entertain myself by taking guesses at whether it would be a plane crash or a heart attack. I did land in one piece but now whenever I am on board, my philosophical and spiritual tendencies shoot up sharply. As the flight takes off, a constant stream of “taking account of years gone by” and “the vanity of it all” thoughts run in my mind. Thankfully, this is restricted to the flight time only. As soon as I land, these thoughts disappear or get put on hold for the next flight.

Getting back to Udit Narayan after this huge digression, that day on the last bus that carries pax from the terminal to the aircraft, as I ran all the way to the bus, the *only* other passenger in the bus was the singer. Dressed in a heavily coloured printed shirt. Pretty unbelievable, eh? I had never gotten anywhere close to any celebrity before and though I was all excited at this turn of events, I didn’t know how to respond. I sat opposite him quietly for half a minute. I wasn’t really a fan, but I did like his music. So, like a good fan I went to him and asked for an autograph and like a good celeb, he obliged. I told him that I really liked some of his songs or something. He asked “Which one?”. After 10 seconds, I couldn’t come up with any song sung by him, given the fact that practically every other movie song is sung by him in the last 15 years or so, barring the recent few years. God knows from where I muttered “Satrangi Re” from Dil Se. I like that song, but again it hasn’t been my favourite. And then, we talked about some other arbit stuff that I don’t remember now.

Anyway, the point is now, ten years later, I sometimes find the whole thing a little unbelievable. Sometimes, I doubt if it was for real. A dream, perhaps? It can’t be! That’s the only celeb encounter I’ve ever had.  It was not at all a “dream come true” moment for me, but I still refuse to part with it.


5 04 2007

If you asked me if I am sexist, I would say – “No way!”.
If you asked me if I am secular, I would say – “Absolutely!”.
If you asked me if I judge people by their looks/clothes/economic or social status, I would shake my head in disagreement.

But at times, I also pass immediate judgements which are clearly based on caste/religion/language/region. After all, what is the point in being politically correct when one *thinks* or *believes* otherwise. I am not really proud of this, but I also don’t understand what’s wrong with having an opinion formed based on one’s own experiences and inferences?

Fails me. For time being, my answer to the above questions would be “Mostly/Sometimes”. Peace.