Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A tragic end but can light come of it?

I read about Varsha Bhosle's tragic end in the papers yesterday.  About a decade ago, I used to follow her columns online and was transfixed by her passions and her writing style.  While I did not nod agreement with what she wrote, I thought she was brilliant.  I was very disappointed when I began to less and less of her columns, and wished that she took pen to paper again if only to be a counterpoint to some of the journalism of the day.

What a terrible and tragic end is the first thought that comes to mind... a life is wasted, but then I remember the crushing pain of depression that I have observed amongst close friends and family who suffer through it.  It is a pain that is a part of you, something that cannot be transcended by pills or cutting off a body part.  It is literally a suffering inside your very soul. Relief comes only in the idea of being able to escape this soul, escape to another dimension or living in an alternate reality.  I cannot fully understand the courage or the despair it takes to turn the switch off, but I hope to be able to accept my own ignorance about what goes on in another's life and head, at least enough not to be judgmental about the decision taken by her.

Someone that I usually respect for their informed opinions, wrote about the daughter not honoring all that her mother stood for...perhaps they meant the mother's fortitude or courage or joidevivre or whatever makes Asha Bhosle tick.  That statement made me very angry.  It is cruel and unusual punishment to make the suffering daughter responsible for the mother's honor and position in society.

It makes me sad that a means to end life was available to Varsha so easily considering that she had made an attempt to end her life before (per press reports anyway).  What makes me sadder still is that no one famous or no one with name recognition, especially amongst her family has made any attempt to humanize or de-stigmatize mental illness in all the years they have known of her suffering.  One word or a series of words from them or their famous friends will do so much to make the cultural and social sting of the words "mental illness" less deadly within Indian society.  Perhaps then more people will seek treatment.

In her grief, Asha Bhosle (and all the people who love her and her daughter) can seek comfort in bringing light to the lives of so many suffering fellow Indians by taking away the stinging stigma of mental illness.  By words, just by words, it costs nothing.  Something can be done even if pockets are sewn up tight.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Did you see this?

About a dozen people have sent me this video.  Everyone told me that it was wonderful. It is supposed to be about "eve teasing". However I must use the words "supposed" and "eve teasing" only loosely and with irony.

I am truly appalled by this video.  It looks to me like a film school graduation film. No more, no less.  It sends the wrong message, examines nothing, gives voice to nothing and is no more than a gimmick.  This supposedly light hearted approach trivializes what is a serious, and life altering and life threatening problem for almost all Indian women.

The filmmaker needs to understand the nuances in the depiction of irony whenever humor is used to address and examine issues of violence.

I am so sad that this film is going viral and just hope that more women do not identify with the tittering and vacous empty-threatmaking in the film.

Have you seen this film and what did you think of it?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Culture Vulture etc! I know... I know... but I just HAD to!

This song is so much fun! The lyrics come on in the first seconds. The song follows. So sing along.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time to name the Bacchhan baby!

Dear Bacchaan Parivaar ( I almost wrote Sahara Parivaar but that does not work anymore does it),

First I must congratulate all of you and especially the mother who did all the hard work on the birth of the baby. The baby will bring everyone much happiness. For most people the happy and trying bits of parenthood brings to the fore facets of our feelings and personalities that complete us all as human beings.

And then ofcourse... because it is me writing this and I am a cynic for the most part...

Oyee Bacchhan family... is all this asking for name suggestions to make up for not inviting a whole lot of people (who happen to be a teensy bit mad about it even now) to the wedding of the happy parents? If that was such a private happy occasion (and it is rightly so) why should'nt the process of naming the baby be equally private? You are going to name the baby exactly what you want anyway and you have that whole lexicon of Harvanshrai's literary works to use for inspiration, so why the "name our baby please" ploy? Hey, I gotta admit, it is a very cost effective PR excercise though. Everyone feels included and yet everyone gets to be dissapointed at their suggestion not being chosen! However, I have full confidence you will find the name that pleases your family with absolutely no outside help at all.

But you have asked so I shall proceed to beg you to please, please, please stay away from all currently trendy "indo-global" names especially any of the especially popular Russified or Arabicised versions of desi names. Tacky, tacky, tacky!

Thank goodness the names Karan and Priyanka are fading into the distance. About 2 decades ago, it seemed like gali gali mein yet another baby was being called Priyanka or Karan. I am sure that when a mother calls out ... Priyanka... in any gali in Gurgoan, Calicut, Bhatinda or Shillong, a whole slew of teen girls answer ... Si mammina!

Of course now all the grown up Karans and Priyanka's are naming their own kids Ishaan, Ishita, Amaan and Aryan or some Russianised or Arabised version of a moderately desi name. Same difference!

Bacchhan family, you did very good with names like Shweta, Agastya, Navya Naveli, so crack open all those books written by the patriarch and get yourself a name indicating the culture this child will live it's first years in. Something that speaks to the child. Something that speaks for the child.

It is not about how the name looks in neon lights in the future. It is about how much the child likes the name enough, to write it a few dozen times ...in cursive with decorated hearts all around ...all over the back page of an ink smeared, dog eared 5th standard math book.

Mrs. Ashton Kutcher :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

My vice is greasy Samosas and I am not a skinny minnie!

So I went to see My Name Is Khan .. all by my lonesome self. None of my friends seemed to want to admit liking SRK and seeing his films. I like him, I do, I do, and I so wanted to see it and more importantly to like it.

Armed with Samosas and a coke, I slunk into a packed cinema theatre to watch this film on a Sunday afternoon. And what did I think?

MNIK was a bore. Bilkul bore! I yawned, I fidgeted, I cracked my knuckles, I made noise crumpling up my greasy samosa wrappers. I just wanted it to be over!

It seemed like someone sitting in a hermetically sealed library, took a stack of newspaper articles and fashioned a story about a place they had never been and people they had never met and a condition they had never encountered.

9/11 and way it changed the American psyche is sooooooo much more complex than TeamKJo portrays. The film was extremely naive and color by numbers.

Also I really, really hope that no rural georgia community gets to see the film else bechara Kjo will have his head handed to him on a pewter sunday roast platter while a gospel choir sings hossannas in the background, color purple style!

The samosas were good though. Hindi movie theatre lobby food is getting better. That is the bottom line... and that my friends is not good for my bottom!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I went to see 3 idiots and instead saw a Pirate on the horizon

3 Idiots.....

I liked the film. It was good. Just that. Good. Made it to the Good category. By the skin of its teeth. Barely. Not a standout and not quite as smartly and tightly made as the first MunnaBhai. It was a good enough time pass and paisa wasool. Amir's enthusiasm is infectious. Kareena is pretty and has an adequate performance. Madhavan was stellar and the other fellow remained just that "the adequate other fellow". The movie was adequate in all the departments except for... DRUMROLL PLEASE... the darned script. Pesky things those scripts! If only movies did not need scripts we would all be Fellini. It was not a watertight script; which is what I was hoping for, being that there was actually a book published long enough ago, to lift the darned thing from!

And hell yeah, the book (Five Point Someone by chetan Bhagat) is definately the meat and potatoes of the script never mind what VVC and Co contend and froth at the mouth and deny. Anyone... even a pirate with a eyepatch... would be able to tell that if they have read the book and the seen the movie. Without the book, there would have been no skeleton to the story unless Abhijaat Joshi and Chetan Bhagat have some telephatic connection and think the same thoughts at the same time, and put them on paper at the same time... which they dont.

So yes, my appreciation of the movie is tainted by the blatant disregard for someone else's creative idea.

My friend Memsaab tells us about her discomfort with the way Rancho was played. (Go read her blog, she's amazing) I agree with her at the somewhat dissatisfyingly unidimentional Rancho. I think if you dear reader, have read the book you will understand his character (Ryan) better. That character was real, and there was a reason for Ryan being so disturbingly and uncomfortably real.

Was five point someone stellar writing. Hardly. But it was an interesting and original idea and very true of IIT's. 3 Idiots in its dithering between purporting to being an original story and trying to build a tale on the original scaffold built by another architect else, fails in that it is merely good. It could have been taut and brilliant. Unfortunate.

Even more unfortunate, is that VVC comes for a family rife with writers. His nonchalant disregard for what is obviously someone else's creative baby is disturbing and deplorable.

I wonder what Raju Hirani was thinking when he read the script. If in his defence he had not read the book... strange... since EVERYONE in India had, and the book has been around for along enough time, he probably needs to be more of a complete director. He needs to read more. As does Aamir! When you are the captain of the ship, the rigging is really your responsibility.

The rigging was stolen, so is the plunder now stolen riches?

So 3 idiots.. good... I gueeesssssssss.

I need something with a high alcohol content and something else crunchy with a high calorie content to feel better again! I need comfort food and drink!

And how were your New Year celebrations?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I am interested in Tiger Woods's musical beds.

A friend asked in her blog if the media interest in Infidelities was justified. I had a comment to make on her blog. Go check her blog out. She is an insightful writer and the blog is very good.

Below is what I wrote as a comment on her blog.

I do not see why the media should NOT write stories about Tiger Woods and his shenanigans. Tiger Woods sells and how! As bad boy and good (endorsements). He is a whole economy by himself. PGA will suffer, golf and all its support industries will suffer, why even shaving cream companies will suffer millions and billions if the Tiger Woods brand is devalued by his actions.

As such his story is deserving of media coverage and as the ultimate consumers we have the right to be both amused and entertained by stories of his peccadilios; just as much as we have the right to be informed of how the devaluing of his brandname will affect our own purchasing power. Any phenonmenon that affects my saving/purchasing capabilities must be investigated, giggled at, raged at or ultimately shelved for future reconsideration.

In the US context, it follows that the brandname devaluing of politicians or other powerful people who behave badly, will affect my life in many ways.

Indian or European sexual mores or definition of badboy behavior and brand devaluing is different. The corruptability of the press and also the profitability of the press in other countries is also a factor in what stories are newsworthy in economic terms. I am not going to compare what is acceptable and where. It is apples or oranges to guavas.

Money decides everything ultimately in any country, in any era, even how many beds a man or woman can warm.

Money also decides if it is acceptable for the aggrieved spouse to rage at the unfaithful one, golf club in hand or to accept the "transgression" in sati savitri fashion.

Ultimately money defines a culture and its mores.

Men and women have behaved badly everywhere, and in every era. Today, it affects me monetarily. Damn right, I am interested in the gory details.