Dreams….

30 07 2008

Haunted by my dreams, this post is a result of midnight musings, after I soothed my frayed nerves by a short chat with my papa. These days I realized that dreams are my deepest desires which I have never acknowledged. Its like those persistant voices which never got a chance, and hence they manifest in the eerie visions of the dreamland when our resistance to logically refute is at all time low. Most of the things I dream are either about things that I heard of, or things that I want to happen or stories that I read somewhere. Those some of these often take me by surprise, they would laos make me believe that I am what I dream. But dreaming alone won’t achieve what I long for, right? May be I don’t live my dreams because I live my fears. May be, I magnify my fears with the thinking mind and lull the heart’s desire with cold reason.

My experience of dreams goes a long way back.. Most of my dreams weave those ‘what if’ sequences about the opportunities that life presents. Some of them could be about me visualizing how would it look if I try bungee jumping or about how would life be in a different career, or about how is an ordinary day in a new environment. Yet, these are what make me come to terms with my anxieties and facts of lifewhile making me comfortable with the fear from the unknown.

And there are those creative dreams either about the stories I heard, movies I partly saw or books that I read somewhere. One of those vivid childhood dreams that stayed with me, is this dream of Ramayana, that started from where the Hanuman brings the sanjeevani to the end of war. I distinctly remember this, for I stayed long in bed so that this dream finds its end. Well, there are dreams where I played wild roles, like a daredevil detective, or a super woman, but let me assure you, these are quite rare. Its been long time since I played the batwoman. 🙂 Yet, the kick of these dreams lies in the way I could manipulate those sequences, or even create them to my satisfaction.

And then there are those dreams that helped me overcome my fears. In childhood, I have always been afraid of things like loosing family members or snakes. I am not sure if I overcome any of those fears. But I remember those dreams which made me run till I made a choice to pick a stick and fight or those that portrayed loss of loved ones and taught me to appreciate their value in life.

But of all these dreams that I had, I never felt as if I am an inactive participant. I have always, (ok, I concede) most of the times, been able to direct my dream to my desired end or end it before it turns wild. May be that’s why I never had such a predominant nightmare which became a permanent memory.

Somehow I believe that dreamland is the space where we touch the threshold of our potential and visualize the realization of our deepest desires. Some stop there, reveling in the beauty of their dreams and basking in vicarious satisfaction; while some hold on and make it a reality in this material world.

I don’t think I have a theory about what I dream, but somehow writing about them did lighten my thought at this late hour. If you are reading this, tell me about your dreams. Would love to hear about the extent and expanse of your imagined universe. Even if you don’t want to talk about it in public space, it’s ok. At least acknowledge them to yourself in solitude, else you would end up being haunted by dreams, just the way I was.

P.S. Whenever I think of dreams, I couldn’t help but muse on here, for in vague sense, it gives me hope.





Mush Movie Marathon

29 07 2008

Serendipity

Serendipity: a fortunate accident, or lucky discovery, we all believe in them in some point of time. Fate, or Destiny, sometimes it feels so right to leave life to them and be driven in the flow.

Serendipity, this movie lives up to its tagline: Destiny with a sense of humor. To cut a sweet story short, this movie is about two strangers who share a beautiful evening on a Christmas eve, decide to test the destiny by leaving clues that travel around the world. Though each have their own respective fiancé, they couldn’t get the beauty of that encounter out of their heart, and so begins a frantic search to locate each other. When they are about to give up their wild goose chase and get back to the routine life, we realize that destiny had different plans for them.

Do watch this movie to share a few laughs. I loved this obituary that Dean writes for his friend.

“Dean: Jonathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancee. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, its a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. “Things were clearer for him,” Kansky noted. Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call “fatum”, what we currently refer to as destiny.”

A Walk to Remember

Wonder, beauty, joy and love, guess they sum up the essence of this movie. Life, hope and the long journey ahead, all that and more find their place in this soulful movie. This movie made me revisit faith. This movieholds a beautiful example of what an ounce of faith could accomplish: Magic. Faith, such small word, yet how powerful! it forever continues to shine and touch the soul like nothing else could.

The entire movie can be summed up in this Landon’s confession: “Jamie has faith in me, she makes me wanna be different, to be better.”

Its been sometime since I saw a movie that runs like a beautiful poetry. It feels good to be alive, to feel pain, and to cry my heart out. Do watch this for some sweet time, and don’t blame me if your heart turns heavy.

The Notebook


“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

And so starts this movie, and flows like a serene river of love. Watching this movie made me realize how pale its remake ‘U, Me and Hum’ was. This movie is a beautiful capture of a summer romance that lit the lives of a couple of teenage kids Allie and Noah. After being separated for years by protective parents, Allie discovers Noah on a chance encounter and finds that her feelings are alive. Ala M&B style, Allie chooses her first love Noah over her fiancé and then they lived happily ever after until death claimed them. People may claim it as a usual dramatic movie, yet for me its a remarkable film.

P.S: Do check these movies out when you care for a little dream and a little hope. Am sure they don’t disappoint you.





Keep Up The Spark

29 07 2008

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Inaugural Speech by Chetan Bhagat for the new batch at the Symbiosis BBA program 2008

Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are my new classmates – there is so much to be curious about. I call this excitement, the spark within you that makes you feel truly alive today. Today I am going to talk about keeping the spark shining. Or to put it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.

Where do these sparks start? I think we are born with them. My 3-year old twin boys have a million sparks. A little Spiderman toy can make them jump on the bed. They get thrills from creaky swings in the park. A story from daddy gets them excited. They do a daily countdown for birthday party – several months in advance – just for the day they will cut their own birthday cake.

I see students like you, and I still see some sparks. But when I see older people, the spark is difficult to find. That means as we age, the spark fades. People whose spark has faded too much are dull, dejected, aimless and bitter. Remember Kareena in the first half of Jab We Met vs the second half? That is what happens when the spark is lost. So how to save the spark?

Imagine the spark to be a lamp’s flame. The first aspect is nurturing – to give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against storms.

To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible for you. It isn’t any external measure – a certain cost to company pay package, a particular car or house.

Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big achievement.

But it isn’t the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won’t be working hard to make a better iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do it? What makes them come to work everyday?

They do it because it makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive. Just getting better from current levels feels good. If you study hard, you can improve your rank. If you make an effort to interact with people, you will do better in interviews. If you practice, your cricket will get better. You may also know that you cannot become Tendulkar, yet. But you can get to the next level. Striving for that next level is important.

Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature’s design. Are you? Goals will help you do that.

I must add, don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

You must have read some quotes – Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in nursery school. Where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One last thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously. One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga practice. The teacher said – don’t be serious, be sincere. This quote has defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my writing everyday. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live? Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It’s ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.

I’ve told you three things – reasonable goals, balance and not taking it too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and loneliness of purpose.

Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you.

But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be.

Disappointment’s cousin is frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. >From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release.

Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts , having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life – friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.

Unfairness – this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces, pedigree find it easier to make it – not just in Bollywood, but everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck. There are so few opportunities in India, so many stars need to be aligned for you to make it happen. Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you.

In fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech in English means you are pretty darn lucky by Indian standards. Let’s be grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don’t. I have so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even imagine it. However, I don’t get literary praise. It’s ok. I don’t look like Aishwarya Rai, but I have two boys who I think are more beautiful than her. It’s ok. Don’t let unfairness kill your spark.

Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. . And you may drop some of them. Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then others.

There you go. I’ve told you the four thunderstorms – disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, as like the monsoon they will come into your life at regular intervals. You just need to keep the raincoat handy to not let the spark die.

I welcome you again to the most wonderful years of your life. If someone gave me the choice to go back in time, I will surely choose college. But I also hope that ten years later as well, you eyes will shine the same way as they do today. That you will Keep the Spark alive, not only through college, but through the next 2,500 weekends. And I hope not just you, but my whole country will keep that spark alive, as we really need it now more than any moment in history. And there is something cool about saying – I come from the land of a billion sparks.

Thank You.

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A Quiet Evening…

27 07 2008

After being thoroughly drenched by the rain that caught me off guard on my way back to home, I stepped into a typical roadside restaurant called (I guess) ‘Tandoori Garden’ on BTM main road in Bangalore that offered a quick relief. I was surprised to discover a highway side Dhaba kind of ambiance amidst the city with old seventies music humming softly in the background that paled in comparison to the noisy discussions around the tables, rustic walls painted in dark red and bright green shades warming up the environment and the dinner tables set with table lamp lights that are made of straw and are suspended from ceiling. I lived just across the road, yet it took me about an year to discover the beauty of this little restaurant. May be all I needed is a new set of eyes to enjoy the environment around.





Movie Marathon

21 07 2008

Nothing like a playing a lazy couch potato at home if you got the right company. Instead of wondering what I couldn’t do, I tried my hand at running a Movie Marathon to beat a little sickness. And my picks for the weekend movie show in the order of my preference are

The Princess Bride – Now this movie is a classic fairy tale cut straight out of Grandpa’s bedtime stories. What a beautiful blend of romance, fantasy, comedy and adventure! I guess what appealed to me was the sheer unrealistic setup that made my imagination limitless in expanse. The Cinderella story is complete with a beautiful princess named Buttercup falls in love with a poor stable boy Wesley, and when he’s captured by pirates, she’s chosen by evil Prince Humperdinck to be his princess bride. Sword fights, Lagoons with eels, Fire Swamps, revenge, miracles, giants and true love. I am glad I discovered this movie, for it enlivened my childhood for me, for a moment.

Finding Nemo – I am glad I watched this movie. Of all the animation movies that I have watched, I loved this one the best. This movie is a celebration of human spirit, faith and above all, love. One of those rare movies that tug your heart and make you think at the same moment. A single parent Marlin is overprotective of his son Nemo, and yet he haplessly watches as his son gets scooped away by a oceanic driver all the way to Sydney. Talks about life in troubled waters. Now Marlin, teamed with a forgetful Dory hazards Sharks, Jelly Fish and Angler Fishes to reach the Sydney harbor. In search of Nemo, his father Marlin discovers life and its meaning. In search of his Son, he realizes the true essence of love. By learning to let go, he discovers that the essence of true love is enveloping freedom. I just loved this movie.

Minority Report – The sheer reason I picked this movie is to watch how the hero interacts with huge chucks of data on a glass interface. A little work induced temptation. Yet, this movie is filled with intrigue, action, crime, Sci-Fi, mystery and makes one wonder about the possibilities of future. How interesting. Its the year 2054 in the movie Minority report, offers us a possibility of eliminating crime banking on magnifying visions, where as the recently released Bollywood hungama fisaco Love Story 2050 presents us with the possibilities of flying cars and talking teddybears! My concerns? None, I gave up on cribbing!

A Walk in the Clouds – After ‘The Princess Bride’, my heart longed for good old sweet movies of the M&B kinds and my friend recommended this one to me. the name reminded me of a totally illusionary romance, and what I got as a delightful surprise was a sweet love story. Another of those fairytale romances where a Paul befriends a Mexican lady and ends up playing the role of her husband for a day trying to be a good Samaritan. Mexican fields, Grape wines, serenades, romance and affection of the family slowly work out the magic as this movie proceeds to take you through a walk in the clouds.

The Illusionist: Intrigue, Mystery, and Thriller. An charming pursuit of a love by a magician in the most engaging fashion. The storytelling is exemplary and the movie is engaging from the start to finish. Love, Magic, Illusion, Treachery, all this and more leaves one with a pleasant surprise.

Spiderwick Chronicles: Another of those childhood fantasy fiction novels. Yet, it evokes those delightful memories of childhood exuberance, innocence and curiosity. Jared, Simon and Mallory find themselves in a different world when they shift to the rundown Spiderwick Estate. Jared finds a book that introduces him to the mystery world of magical creatures, which is filled with beautiful spirits, and terrorizing goblins. The way the trio navigates through the wonderland and rescues their family through the dangers of the dark creatures is charming to watch. Now, who said I can’t giggle like a child again and believe in the limitless possibility of imagined universe.

Just Like Heaven: Elizabeth Masterson, a workaholic doctor in San Francisco, gets into a tragic car crash and gets in a coma. Meanwhile,David Abbott sublets Elizabeth’s apartment for rent. Elizabeth’s spirit haunts the apartment and gets into an endless argument with David, as he alone can see her. Love happens whilst Elisabeth’s spirit tries to remember her identity and background. The sheer riduculousness of the story is compensated by the dialogues and the characterization. And I loved the roof top garden as well! 🙂

Million Dollar Baby: “There is magic in fighting battles beyond endurance.” And this movie captures it quite elegantly. Somehow, I always have longed for happy endings and fairy dreamy world settings and this movie packs a realistic punch. The champions should always be celebrated and there should always be love and joy in the end. May be that’s the reason why I couldn’t accept the ending of the movie that justified the choice of death by the fighter. Yet, sometimes it gets too tiring to fight for life. Sometimes all we long for is endless relief and limitless rest from the struggle. May be there lies a win in knowing when to give up. I grudgingly admit that despite the ending, I loved this movie for its sensitive portrayal of persistence and relationships.

What this tells me? One no brainer for me to ponder is that I really need new ways to amuse myself, and this is one of the palest that I could come up with. I sure enjoyed that little touch of variety to my couch potato weekend,and yet I guess I would be stiff bored to repeat this little experiment once again. 🙂





Something Amiss..

13 07 2008

As a sheer wave of nostalgia hits me in this sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but muse on all those lovely moments of my life.. Yes, Indeed I miss

  • Those Hasty Bicycle rides to School
  • Climbing Guava and Mango trees in search of sweet temptations
  • Those Hide and Seek Games that filled lazy afternoons
  • Summer Time.. Umm.. Mango eating competitions in the village backyards.. Yummy!
  • Hosting Bicycle Championships around the village roads
  • Inventing creative reasons for missing classes
  • Those innocent dreams of Ramayan, Snakes and Shaktiman
  • Those days of ‘Chitrahaar’ and ”Doordarshan’ sans remote control
  • Bending rules with childhood pals, my partners in crime
  • Those summer rains and the lighthearted frolic on the terrace
  • The sheer joy of growing up, and the academic rigmarole

Umm.. How I long for a little drizzle of joy or a time machine… Suddenly this whole business of playing the adult isn’t that appealing any more.





Gamyam

13 07 2008

Somehow I just loved this movie!

Its been indeed long time since I watched a Telugu Movie devoid of hyped up movie cast full of gusting hotheaded action. And how I loved it! The current Tollywood Industry doles out umpteen releases every week almost with reverence to quantity over quality, out of which I spot rare gems like this once in six months or an year.

Now, playing the spoilsport, let me unveil the plot a little. Abhiram (played by Sharwanand), a spoiled rich brat who saw the world through the glass doors, discovers a real life out of the window panes when he embarks a bike journey to get back his lady love Janaki (played by Kamlinee Mukherjee, my favorite :-)). Janaki, an orphan and a idealist who believes in playing the good samaritan dumps Abhiram, when she realizes that he couldn’t support or share her idealism or values. Abhiram takes off on his bike in pursuit of Janaki, who went on a doctor’s camp to remote areas, and thus comes in close contact with humanity. In pursuit of his ladylove, he discovers himself. By standing for friends and by fighting for what he believes, Abhiram discovers the essence of life, as the self realization dawns on him over the end of the long winding journey.

Now, the story is not just about breaking and making it up by the lead couple. This movie is a celebration of life, realization, introspection and humanity. Words would sure flat to elaborate the performance of Allari Naresh as Gaali Sreenu. Gaali Sreenu, a petty thief, teams up with Abhiram in his pursuit of love and shows him the real world in the hinterlands. With a serious theme that explores the divide between the ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-nots’, this movie packs an ample punch of comic relief that cheers one up while engaging the audience in serious reflection. Abhiram discovers life, death, friendship, honor, values, humanity, and loss over the journey and finds himself as a socially responsible citizen when he meets his destination of love.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to catch a meaningful Telugu Movie that does a great job of being an entertainer. Kudos to the new director Rama Krishna for this marvelous movie.

P.S. I read that this movie is inspired by ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. I haven’t watched the original, and hence am clueless on whether this movie is a copy or an inspiration of the original. Yet, its a great movie with some natural performances to save it for keeps.