Pensioner’s Paradise – Photos


Sunrise from Bangalore Express


Bangalore! Railway Station

Old Madras Road, Bangalore

A simple 3 photo post of the three places I visited in Bangalore sometime back.


The Uncommon Men

Arpit Shah was blushing. He was not doing a good job at concealing that smile which he wanted to hide and the anger he wanted to portray. He moved away from the group and sat in an empty seat on the bus, right behind the seats reserved for women. After some whistles and chants of “Aye Haye. Kya sharmaraha hai dekho“, he broke his silence. “Ab bas bhi karo yaar” he said, no longer concealing that smile. From the last seat of the bus I could not see much of what was transpiring there. So I went and sat next to one particular gentleman of the group, who was the most talkative and was also sitting alone.

After a few pleasantries and micro introductions here and there, in which I had claimed I am a software engineer, my neighbor, Bhavesh, started telling me why they were teasing their friend. These gentlemen, still in their olive green uniforms, were going home after 8 months. After their earlier posting in Rajasthan, they had to come directly to Secunderabad, thereby missing a break to go home. I was tempted to ask about the working conditions of Army Jawans in Rajasthan but decided not to, since that might spoil the cheerful mood of the group. So instead I jumped directly to the topic of Mr. Arpit Shah.

While everyone was going home for a holiday, Mr. Arpit here was going home to pick a bride, preferably his neighbor’s 18 year old daughter which he had confided to me later. The very next day after selecting his bride-to-be, he will get engaged to her, marry her and then come back to Secunderabad. The time duration he has for this whole sequence was 6 days since it takes him 3 days to travel to his home town and three days to come back and he has a leave of only 12 days. I felt slightly embarrassed when Bhavesh said all of this with no hint of a complaint in his tone. I have attended weddings where the wedding itself lasted a minimum of 4-5 days, leave alone the engagement and holidays before and after the event.

For my question on why Arpit was being teased since getting married is a fairly common practice around the world, he replied that Arpit was the first amongst the group to get married and had very eagerly responded to the marriage proposal too. The rest either did not get any such offers or declined whatever came their way. I went up to Arpit’s seat to congratulate him and to also ask him his opinion on the whole ongoing scene and how he felt about it. He removed the big suitcase on the seat and offered me place to sit on the seat and started off.

Bhai. Bore Lagta hain hume akele akele. Hindi Picture akele dekne mein kya matlab hain. Hume toh sirf kisika saath chahiye tha. Timepass ho jaayega. Isiliye, humne maa se kehdiya ki hume manzoor hain. Bas itnisi hi baat hai. Yeh Rajesh aur Bhavesh humesha aisi hi hai. Koi kaam nahi hai in dono ko”

At that moment, I could not help but smile at his honesty. Later, he asked me about my job and corporate life. I gave some politically correct answers, till he asked me something to which I had no answer, “Toh phir, yeh IT waalon ko intha paisa kyun dethe hain?” For all that I could remember, everyone always cribbed about their pay in every IT Company.

My stop had come and I had to get down. After wishing him and the rest of the group, I went smiling away into oblivion. It felt good to be in the company of men who had no idea of how great a job they were doing. Thank You Gentlemen.

P.S. Character names have been changed for the sake of national security. Otherwise, it is a true story which happened over a year ago.

Image Courtesy – The Hindu

Movie Marathon Weekend!

Qureshi said “When we are young, the opportunities seem endless”. And trust me, that was very the belief even I had when I was 18 years old and was watching three movies back to back on every lazy weekday afternoon during summer vacation. I believed, with unparalleled naivety, that I could go on doing that till I kick the bucket. For this very reason, I wanted to name this post as “The Arrogance of the Youth” but since Billy boy has copyrighted it, I did not want to fight with him in court.

It has been a while since I have done a college-like-marathon and I recently decided to do it again. It would be fatal to spend 8 to 9 hrs of a weekday, watching movies while you work and more so when you are working for yourself. This last weekend, the one that breezed by without anyone of us knowing it’s presence, I decided to give myself a shot. Picked a theme as “Movies with Unique Premises” and saw eight movies in 2 days. Yes 8. I bettered my 18yr old self. Ha! For the benefit of my dear readers, who WordPress says are over 70,000, I present my list. (Premises & One Phrase Reviews only).

1. All the Real Girls – The biggest womanizer in town falls in love with his wing man & best friend’s younger sister who’s just back from a boarding school after 10 years.  Review: Interesting but damn slow. Watchable.

2. Brothers – A young man, who has served time in a prison for a rape, comforts his older brother’s wife and children after the older brother,  a US Army Captain, is thought to have been dead in Afghanistan. As time passes, the older brother returns back. Review: Watchable but slow.

3. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People –  A British journalist feels like fish out of water while working for a high profile corporate magazine in New York. Review: BAD. Unwatchable.

4. The Bucket List – Two old men who are informed that they will die in an year, prepare an amazing to-do list and and set out to accomplish everything in that list before they die. Review: Lovely story. Fantastic performance by Jack Nicholson.

5. Lucia Y El Sexo – Lucía, a young waitress in Madrid, seeks refuge at the favourite island of her long-time boyfriend, a writer, after he goes missing. In the midst of fresh air and clear waters, she begins to discover more about her boyfriend and get to know that he used his tragic reality to write his stories. Review: A wonderful plot but with excessive obscenity. Ah Vega! (Saw this Spanish movie without subtitles \m/)

6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Eternal Favorite.

7. Chasing Amy – A straight comic book writer falls in love with a lesbian much to the displeasure of his co-author best friend. Review: Very Interesting Story. Definitely Watchable.

8. V for Vendetta –  Set in a near future Britain, which is filled with torture cells and unfair punishments, ruled by an anarchist Chancellor, where one man V, stands up against this government to take revenge for what they have done to him by declaring that he will blow up the Parliament on the 5th of November. The 120 minutes of this movie shows us why V wants to take such a prolonged revenge and whether he will be able to. Review: Gripping Story. Amazing Screenplay and dialogs. A totally #Cult movie. And I believe it a fitting tribute to end this post with a quote from this amazing movie.

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.

P.S. There is no actual link between the Calvin strip and the post.

Tu Hindu Banega, Na Musalmaan Banega – Music & Lyrics

On the day of the Ayodhya verdict, I was listening to a song composed by Sahir Ludhianvi and sung by Rafi. Though I was aware that Sahirji has composed some of the best songs of Hindi cinema, I was surprised to find out that he was one of the first lyricists to claim recognition for his efforts towards composing a song which otherwise went to the singer or music director. Anyway, here is that song!

Tu hindu banega, na musalmaan banega,
Insaan ki aulaad hai, insaan banega;

Qudrat ne to banaai thi ek hi duniyaa,
Hamne use hindu aur musalmaan banaayaa,
Tuu sabke liye aman ka pai Ghaam banega,
Insaan ki aulaad hai, insaan banega;

Ye deen ye eemaan dharam bechane vaale,
Dhan-daulat  ke bhookhe vatan bechane vaale,
Tu inake liye maut ka ailaan banega,
Insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega;

One more song of Sahirji which happens to be a personal favorite – Yeh Duniya Agar Mi Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai

The Red Umbrella

There was a sudden rush in the silent Dhruvnagar colony. It had barely started drizzling when all the boys of the colony were out to experience the bliss of playing some solid football on the colony ground in the first rain of the season. The monsoon had finally arrived in Vizag. The rain was getting heavier. There were puddles on the ground and one could barely see the ball. Thanks to the absence of a referee, kicking, abusing and pushing was totally legal. One of the pro players, brought the music system from his place and placed it under a shed to add to the entertainment.

I had met with an accident a couple of days back and my right hand was plastered. I was cursing my stars since I couldn’t go and kick the ball and adding insult to injury, I was made the DJ for the game. Each team had scored one goal each and was pretty evenly poised. I was playing all sad songs, much to displeasure of the players of both the teams. I could see the frowns on their faces and that gave me enough sadistic pleasure to make up my not being able to play. A little later a truck and a Maruti Alto came our way and parked in front of the apartment. By telepathy,the half time break was declared and everyone came to see who the new tenants were.

The luggage was not much, in fact very minimal, too little for a family. I was under the impression that some not so well-to-do family had moved in. The match had resumed again and jobless that I was, comfortably sat on the porch and observed what all were being moved upstairs. I played a track Gali Mein Aaj Chand Nikla from Zakhm. While the song was still playing, the truck left and the door of the Alto opened. A red umbrella came out first and then came out someone. And as far I could understand; it had to be a girl. No guy would open an umbrella in a rain for a 10 foot distance. Since I could barely see the girl and for all my knowledge it could have been a guy as well, I walked back to the shed to the catch up with the fierce match.

You see, the bus stop of Dhruvnagar is about half a kilometre from my apartment. It was around five in the evening the next day and it was still raining while I got down from the college bus. The doctor had ordered me that the plaster on my right hand should not get wet. So, I waited at the bus stop so that someone I know would come by and offer me something I could cover my hand with. I was losing patience when some 15 minutes later, an Infosys Volvo stopped and out popped the red umbrella again! It was a girl. Definitely a girl. And very pretty too! She was walking very briskly and by the time I realised I could take her help, she was a good distance away from me. Not knowing what to do, I yelled

“Hey Red Umbrella. Help”

The girl, visibly embarrassed, turned around. We were the only two people on the road. I walked towards her.
“Hi. I met with an accident a couple of days back and the plaster on my arm is not supposed to get wet. Do you mind walking me to my place please?” showing my broken plastered hand.
She put up a pseudo confused, pseudo question mark face.
“I live in Nigam Apartments. It’s very close by” I said with my best smile on.
She smiled and signaled me to come by and offered some place under the umbrella.

So we shared the umbrella, half by her and the other half by my right hand. When we were less than a 100 meters from my place I realized we could talk to each other.
“Hi. I am Badrul. Am studying Mechanical Engineering final year at Andhra University”
She smiled again.
I was stunned. Just a smile, not even one word. Not even a Hi. I decided to give her one last try and that was it, I thought.
“I am sorry I screamed out “Red Umbrella” at the bus stop”
And she smiled again.

I was pissed and stayed silent. We had reached the apartments and I thanked her in a rude way and ran up the stairs in fury while she took the lift. I had apologized, introduced myself and she did not even say a hello in return. What the hell would she have lost by saying something?

I rang the bell of my house and my mom opened the door.
“Did you keep your hand from getting wet?” she asked as soon as I entered.
“Haan haan ma. It’s dry”, I replied in an irritated tone.
“But how? You did not even take your rain coat”
“That new girl from our building shared her umbrella with me.”
“Oh Sonali. Be nice to her beta.”
“And why? Why should I be nice to her?” I questioned, with all anger.
“I met her parents yesterday. They told me she’s mute. She can’t talk”.
I was speechless.

All characters are purely fictional. Any resemblance to the living or dead is totally unintentional.
P.S. Image Courtey DeviantArt

Playlist of the Month – Aug 2010

As much as I wished to spend my new found freedom in solitude with some solid soul searching songs, I could not find many songs in Indian music which actually go with this mood. Sipping a cup of hot ginger tea, I browsed my humble 7GB music collection to fish out about 50 songs which can give me company while I go off Supertramping for the day. It began as a simple exercise. 7GB translates to an average 1400 songs and picking 50 from it shouldn’t be very difficult. Very honestly, it took me about half an hour to get my 50 and over an hour to fish out the final 10. So, here we go with the final 10 –

10. Sayonee  by Junnon

9. Iktara ( Unplugged) by Amit Trivedi ( Lyrics -> )

8. Allah Ke Bande by Kailash Kher

7. Kaisi Hai Yeh Ruth by Shakar Ehsaan Loy

6. Bombay Theme by A R Rahman

5. New York Nagaram by A R Rahman

4. Aaj Kal Zindagi by Shankar Mahadevan

3. Kaminey by Vishal Bharadwaj

2. Yeh Honsla by Salim Merchant

1. Bavra Mann by Sudhir Mishra

Honorable Mention – Society by Eddie Vedder

Agora – Movie Review

Atheists of the world, Unite!


Set in the backdrop of the glorious city of Alexandria of 491 A.D., Agora, the forgotten story of the first communal war in the history of mankind, is brought to life by a very famous Spanish director. Taking a bird’s eye view of the world at that time, the movie focuses impartially on its three warring parties, the Pagans, the Christians and one single Atheist. It traces the lives of that atheist, her slave and the General of that city who was once her student.

Though much of the screen time is covered by its big star Rachel Weisz playing Hypatia, Davus, her slave who is confused between supporting his people and his master, was my protagonist. He shows that however far we are today in 2010 from 491 AD, we still fight in the name of God and destroy everything in our way. When I say we, I mean “Humans”. There are in that mob, many people who did not want to fight, did not want to hurt others but were dragged into it by their indecisiveness and peer pressure, and then too had some soft corner for some people. He was an Atheist, a Christian and a Pagan all at once, which is the state of most of the world population today.

With marvelous sets and special effects, the movie also brings to light that amidst this war, we had lost lives, money and more importantly, the great library of Alexandria, which if was untouched that day, would have helped us reach the moon some 300 years back itself! Coupled with some minor flaws, this movie is a good watch for a blank mind on a serious day.