Monday, December 24, 2007

duniya saji tere liye, khud ko zara pehchaan tu.

i dont understand sometimes this indefinite need for pple to define you. when you are in school you are asked when will you finish school, when you are in college when will you finish college, when you finish college, when will you get married, when you get married - when will you have kids. only after this, have you have done what you are supposed to do in this word called life.

it doesnt end there, the cycle repeats for your kids.

and god forbid if you didnt finish high school, if you flunked out of college, or if you got divorced, or if you had a miscarriage.

its like these goals are the law and if you dont achieve or like above break these goals, they will pester you until u succumb or if you never achieve them you will be pitied no matter how miserable one ownself may be after having achieved all of the goals. and if you do achieve them , everyone will release a huge sigh of relief like it was the biggest bhoj that THEY were under. and finally, this burden has been lifted of their shoulders. it should be noted they dont even know you. and if you were to suddenly disappear, they would not even realize.

its like sometimes you cannot and are not supposed to have any personal goals then the above. so wat if you didnt go to university? so what if you arent married ? so what if your well into your 7th year of marriage and dont have a kid? nobody wants to know what you do at work, nobody cares. nobody wants to really know how your lifes been, nobody wants to know whether youve joined a musical band, or are travelling three months in a year and seeing more than the world youve seen in your life, or youve become a licesenced diver. or your child said their first words yesterday. or youve published your first paper. or you made your first pilgrimage. no one gives a shit.

im not trivializing the "golden" goals, but each individual is different and noone has the right to say which goal is important than the other and no one should be forced to live life other than the way he/she deems it.


phook de

so ive been watching a movie a day and december with eid holidays (hope everyone had a good eid!) and tommorow being christmas (merry christmas!). so more holidays, theres nothing much to do but watch movies. well anyway the movie today is no smoking directed by anurag kashyap. The main actors in the film are ohn abraham, ayesha takia, paresh rawal and ranvir shorey.
its basically about a man (john) who is a chain smoker and after his wife (ayesha) threatens to leave him he joins a sort of rehabilitation center. but its not really a rehabilitation center, its more an almagamation of a tantric/underground mafia/burkha clad call center operation/i dont know what. its run by this baba (paresh rawal) who will help john get rid of this smoking addiction whether he likes it or not.
the direction and treatment of the film is different. the actors are ok. i dont know why lot of pple say john is wooden, there are a lot of "wooden" like pple like john in this world. its very normal. all of us dont exactly cry at a drop of a hat or to put it bluntly show our emotions. so it ok if some actors do that. they are just behaving like other normal pple. ayesha takia is just ok her, i really liked her in dor and socha na tha. but she hasnt been doing too many good films lately. paresh rawal is good but one dimensional which i believe is the intent of the character.
so i have to say i didnt really understand this movie and i guess the movie is open to its own interpretation and from reading anurag's analysis (post watching) some of it is intelligent, but perhaps too intelligent for the average knowledged cinegoer. those who havent read many of kafkas works or read stephen king novels or even know much about history or know much about the references both musical and cinematic. from what i understand at least thats my interpretation that loss of freedom of speech, freedom of knowledge, freedom to do what you want to do is basically eroding your own soul and your own conscience. succumbing to society norms sometimes might not be the best thing for you. i got the gist of the movie i think but there were so many things i just didnt understand
what was the significance of the bathtub/closet/wherever the souls came from. what do these areas signify?
what was the whole thing with siberia?
what did the one rupee signify? in the end when paresh rawal urges him to give him one rupee, what would have happened if john had given it to him?
what was the deal with one of hte souls asking him whether he had a rupee to make a call? call to who?
what was the whole annie/anjali thing?
in the end the last scene where johns soul is burning, its reminds you of dante's inferno but would everyone burn in the same level of hell?
was the baba actually the devil? i say this because there were many a scenes, like the friend of Abraham who returns from Cuba and his thugs force John into smoking. Is this just a ploy then this "rehab" and invariably a means to capture ones soul?
i wish the director would have explained his point of view. but then again i get this feeling that he wouldnt like to explain his view and would prefer the viewer had his own opinion and not be dictated into accepting the logic given.
not exactly a light movie for a holiday, i would say watch it on dvd coz you can rewind and discuss or when someone is asking you why why and you really dont know why.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

dil khush jahan, teri toh manzil hai wahi- (where the heart lies, is your destination)
so the movie of the week is taare zameen par. story about a dyslexic child, essayed by darsheel sarfary, and how he overcomes the challenges that he faces. aamir khan plays the role of his art teacher, who faced dyslexia as a child too, he understands the child's problems and encourages him and helps him overcome it.
this is a great movie. it is really honest and its narrated in a very simple manner and does it without being preachy or melodramatic. its something that could happen to any of us or any of our kids.
there are many other themes in this movie, other than dyslexia which the movie touches upon. which many of us would identify with at some point in our life. some of the incidents reminded me of my childhood too.
ishaan's capturing fish in his bottle, we used to catch toads that used to be abundant in our garden during the monsoon season and we would put them into a "dalda" bottle overnight and feed them and then release them in the morning.
the art competition scene where all children woudl be given in a theme, and you would sit in a row and paint. i remember i had gone for one of these competitions and we would be seated in rows and there were so many kids. more than my painting i remember this kids painting who was sitting next to me, it was a painting of a sunset and it was a shadow of a girl watching from a balcony.
ishaan asking his elder brother to write him an absent note when he skipped class. the many times ive written a note for my friends and even for my sister to skip gym class. the times my sisters faked my parents signature when they received a bad grade.
parents finding an exam paper with low grades and yelling at you. like really yelling with eyes popping and calling you useless. =) at the same time really worrying about you, putting you into schools that are still pricey so you can get the best education.
parents not always being able to articulate their feelings and show how much they really love you.
threatening us to send us to boarding school in panchgini. they never did, though.
my favourite scenes in the movie are definetly when ishaan goes to boarding school and his parents and brother are leaving, the song Maa is so touching and it just makes you cry. its just so sad, the scenes where the mom cries throughout the whole trip back home and the scenes where ishaan cries in the bathroom. and then later on when he is numb and super depressed and cant cry anymore. the other scene which i really really loved was when he shows his painting to aamir khan and slowly he edges towards aamir khans painting to see what his guru has done, and then sees his own portrait. its just soooo awesome that scene. both actors are wonderful. the scene where after ishaan has a fight with some boy in the neighbourhood, his dad is packing his bag for a business trip and goes hes leaving coz he had a fight, ishaan takes him seriously and cries and then his mom goes to the dad why are u troubling him for nothing. it just so real. as a kid and even now your constant fear is your loved ones will disappear one day.
superb performances by all the actors, especially darsheel sarfary.
definetly, a must watch.


Monday, December 17, 2007

arbi khuranon sei poonkh poonkh rakhna hai qadam.

so once upon a time in a small village of india, a chota chota larka (ok itna bhi chota nahin, but i need to add that for dramatic effects) had these barei barei sapnei. sapnei of going to dubai and opening his own typing center. yei typing center bhi kamaal ki cheez hai. it is a business that can perhaps only survive in the gulf countries and in the subcontinent i suppose. basically the typing center is the medium by which you can tadi par the red tape of the government. typically owned by some desi, grew up in india, came to dubai worked as an errand boy, now speaks arabic as his second language much more than hindi and in his typing center he provides and fills out visa application forms/birth certificate etc all in fluent arabic. he knows how to get a visa, how to get a trade license. he knows exactly what paperwork one needs, what one doesnt need. he knows the loopholes and he knows how to circumvent them.

so anyway, this larka comes to dubai decides to open his own typing center. but he requires a local sponsor, as does any business in a non free zone area in the UAE, a contract is prepared the sponsor is chosen and for an annual fee of 8,000 AED (1 USD - 3.67 AED) the local agrees to give his "name" to the business. the local does not participate in the running of the business, provides no capital, it serves as a kind of yearly tax, regardless of how much loss or profit the larka makes, the local does not profit from it or does not bail him out in times of loss. and he pockets his fee regardless.

khair, accepting that this is how one does business here, the larka opens a typing center. it starts of slow and then gradually business picks up and he locks in 20,000 AED a month. everything is going well, he is able to send home money, at home he becomes the son of pride. busines has few hiccups. only the occasional negotiations with the local sponsor to increase the annual fee from 8 - 10K. one fine day, the father of the nation, HRH beloved Shaikh Zayed dies, the city goes into mourning for 21 days. at this time, larka decides chalo business is slow, government offices are closed might as well go back to india for a holiday. he informs the sponsor, and leaves.

after a long happy vacation he returns to the city (ie dubai) , hands over the passport to immigration officer for the visa stamp. the immigration officer scans his passport and becomes irritated/befuddled when he reads the description on the screen, he calls over his senior, the police is informed and the larka is jailed for a month. while the larka was on leave, the local took over the business and sold all the printers and photocopying machines, which were bought by loans. the local then cancelled the larkas visa and put a 6 month ban from the UAE on his visa. with no one to listen to his woes, the larka spends a month in jail and is deported back to india. he returns to his village penniless.


Saturday, December 15, 2007


so ive been doing nothing but sleeping, eating and watching movies back home. when someone said, that a week of holiday would bore me out, i smirked and said yea rite, i cant wait to vegetate. but now i so know what they were talking about. im bored out of my mind and i cant wait to go back to work. im soooo weird like that.

we did however end up going to jebel hafeed (mountain) in al ain, which i have to say was a complete dud. becoz of the curvy roads pple got sick and puky. once we were up, it turned out to be a vast empty space with one rundown cafeteria/seedy restaurant. there was one guy serving us (that too, ali baba kei zamanei ki chai) and otherwise barring two tourists it was all empty. it reminded me of the book shining, (i know a gross exaggeration) but it really did. and im sure gets really spooky at nite. and i cant imagine how someone can be up on a mountain alone. anyway, its like a great idea gone bad or not utilized well enough. the government could have done a lot, set up souvenir shops/allow other stalls to come up and set up base here/have some gol gappa/papri chaat stalls .but no.. they mindlessly build and now maintain a road in a deserted mountain. seriously, not exploiting it to the max, is just plain dumb.

other news, i watched aaja nachle. i recommend it to madhuri dixit fans. its not exactly a ground breaking movie, and on a scale of going out and getting it as soon as the dvd comes out versus getting the dvd on a rainy day, it veers more towards the getting the dvd on a rainy day. the story is pretty simple, its story about a town and a girl who has fallen from the towns graces and her pursuit in reviving the towns love for theatre and the arts. the movie's heart is in the right place, but sadly one needs more than heart for a movie to work.

i ended up seeing om shanti om again, twice and slept through most of the movie. the true "litmus" test of a movie is if you can see it twice without nodding off. and as much as i really liked it first time round, its only watchable once. then again, i differ in my opinion and my sister was as excited to watch it as she was watching it the first time ever.

in further other news, i got my h-1b visa. from lining up at 5:30 am in the morning, to waiting for the doors to open and for bossy paperchecker security guide at the consulate to give you the green signal to enter (which is truly when you can heave a slight sigh of relief). anyway, so once i was in, one of the assistants checked my papers and asked me general questions and then asked for my resume (which i didnt have). So, i said that and he asked me to go drink coffee and come back at 10:30. as soon as i got away, i called up home and made everyone frantic to search for extra papers that prove taht im far from a fraud. it really is teh case of guilty until proven innoncent. at 10:30, i was called again, the guy asked me basic questions of what i do, why they hired me, then a rapid round of short questios (ala Koffee with Karan) which i HAD to answer. no technical question, no why why why corner me questions. nothing out of the ordinary. but still i manage to make a fool of myself. the best part (read worst) is i forgot the answer to the most pertinet question. what is your monthly salary. i hesitated, i hummed and my voice faltered. i took the best guess possible and fortunetly enough it was alrite. i think i would win the dumbness personified award.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

chalo, dubayy, chalo!

so again, i complete my yearly/half yearly yatra to dubai. my favouritest city in the whole wide world no matter how expensive, how much i complain, how racist, how unfair, how laughable it gets. i will always love dubai. but i do ahve to say (part of the "complaining" love), emirates airline is getting worse day by day. the spaces are getting crampier (or maybe we are just getting fatter, watever lets just blame it on the aeroplane), food isnt exactly excellent, the toilets are becoming rundown (that again is a passenger issue and not so much a plane issue, but watever) and the air hostesses with the mostesses are becoming more snobbier and the wait time for a glass of water has extended from 5 mins to half an hour to now, just before one lands on a 12 hour flight.

anyway as my kismet would have it, there were 7 kids sitting in my vicinity. 7. and i was feeling really good about myself for having chosen my aisle seat online well in advance. (it could have been worse, i could have been in the middle). well anyway, these kids start crying and i can understand the less than 2 year olds, the teeny kids - i get it, their ears hurt or theyre scared or they are hungry and they cant but cry to communicate their exasperation. but i dont understand/get 6 year olds yelling that their food hasnt come or that they cant sit near the window or just simply yelling. i just dont get that. I was soo sooo sooo mad. and i didnt know whether to laugh or cry at their helpless mom who was calmly patting him "beta, shaant hojao", which kinda egged him on to yell even more loudly. everyone in that area was so weary and hardly got any sleep. i had half a mind to have a time out situation with one of the kids. but then u never know if the kid has a fit and starts hitting me. from being the heroine who saves the day, I would be the wannabee heroine who got beaten up by a kid. so i stayed put and endured it.

the pple near me didnt talk one bit to me or to each other even. im always quite shocked on how easily one can sit in a plane or even in the subway for ages on and not have a single conversation with someone they sit a few cm away from. and i dont mean that you ahve to continously talk throughout the whole flight and ruin the appreciated silence for passengers near you. but this way it seems like no one else exists on the plane, but you and the pilot, i suppose. it seems so mechanical. i am tempted to always introduce myself - at least to the person i sit next to, but then when i see their terse responses to a. the weather, b. the stalling time in the plane c. the noise level in the plane, i then shutup.

anyway glad to be back to my beloved city dubai, and even more glad to be away from work, stress, and the cold cold weather in nyc.

have a great week everyone!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

mein bechara awara...samjahao kis kis ko..dil me merai hai dard e disco..dard e disco.

so this week has been a super eventful. i went back to my university to be a part of the panel presenting the bank. AndI was initially quite nervous, especially since I was late and there was hardly anyone from my group and two that were there barely talked to me. And I was also scared of overenthusiastic, wanting to impress undergrads and grads asking me tough questions like what is happening in the market of which I really have no clue. And I really do like my job (mostly) and my group a lot, so nothing I said was ratofied or fake even and just for the sake of saying it. So I do believe I did a good job in representing the bank with lots of enthusiasm.
during these breakout sessions, some students came up to me to talk to me about themselves and it becomes really hard to say no. so a lot of places ask that pple apply through the website, however it does definetly expedite process when you know someone within the group who can get you the crucial interview. And becoz I have been there before, and God knows Im terrible at small talk and networking and I would have to literally push myself out of the house to attend these mindless events.
so when i get these emails requesting me to meet up with them and asking for advice I do oblige. and i refrain from giving the "jhoota dilasa" that I will help them when I really cant. Yesterday while on the train with a colleague, I asked him what I should do when pple who email me asking me to forward their resume within groups where I dont even know anyone. and he gave me some good advice as to be straight forward and say you cant do anything about it, and if see the person really is trying hard and you think they are smart then you can ask pple for a favor. But dont take favours easily that when it comes a time for you to ask for one for yourself personally it becomes too much. I think thats great advice and its quite the reality.
andddddddddd in other news im also done with my exam, so im soo soo relieved. crossed fingers until i pass. inshallah.


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