Friday 26 December 2008

Emotional Atyachar Updated

Jia Jia Jia Jia Doleh…
1-2-3-4…6…
Yeh dil pighla ke saaz bana loon,
dhadkan ko awaz bana loon,
smoking smoking nikle re dhooan.
Seene mein jalti hai armanon ki arthi,
Arrey what to tell you darling kya hua.
Arrey sapne dekhe jannat ke,
par mitti mein mil jaen,
phooken re ghar baar ki duniya..
ko bole good bye..
Chad jae haye Allah,
jisko bhi yeh bukhaar,
Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!
Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!


Jao Jao oh dilbar,
oh dilbar ohh!!
Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!
Ho gai dil ke paar tregedy…tregedy,
lut gai re bahaar, gul sukh sukh murjhae,
Ho gai dil ke paar tragedy…tragedy,
lut gai re bahaar, gul sukh sukh murjhae,
Bol Bol why did you ditch me,
Zindagi bhi lele yaar kill me,
Bol Bol why did you ditch me whore.
Bol Bol why did you ditch me,
Zindagi bhi lele yaar kill me,
Jao pia jao pia jao pia….
Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!
Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!
Jao Jao oh dilbar,
oh dilbar ohh!!

Tauba Tera Jalwa, Tauba tera pyar,
Tera Emosanal Attyachaar!

Friday 5 December 2008

It's not just the Terror Attack...

Like in our personal life, I wonder why failures and life-threatening incidents make breeding grounds for change. Proaction is a rare trait. But as a nation, like many of us, we are extremely reactive. Also our reactions seldom treat the root of the problem. We are a nation that believes in quick-fix. Of a people who certainly don't believe in win-win and collective victories. Take for instance, the rickshaw wala at the airport who will refuse to take you to your destination on 'as per meter' charges. His immediate craving is self-rewarding. There is no foresight that a trustworthy nation is a tourist's delight. That the long-term demand will outweigh his selfish motive by an exorbitant measure. And this attitude is pervasive across the socio-economic spectrum. Identify with that exporter who sells imperfect goods for a one-time windfall gain? Or the youngster who, on breaking a signal, looks behind and says with nonchalant ease "Chill guys, I'll handle it!"? The problem obviously is with how it is handled. I've done it so many times. And now it's part of my instinct. To bribe, to escape unscathed with only my self in mind. And yes, I know "That's the way it is!". But like we do with our personal inadequacies and failures, we accept the public ones too. From "That's the way I Am" ... we've moved on to "That's the way We Are". The way we become numb to our private consciences, the public conscience goes for a walk too. The harsh truth is that we seek only self-rewarding victories (even at the cost of public loss). We will hound our maids to clean the rooms but not say a word to the reckless taxi driver who leaves his mark across the city landscape. They say good judgement comes from bad experience. For India, they should've been more quantitative. You see, we're good at numbers. Someone is testing our math in a way we never wanted.

I am an optimist but an optimist often loses his grip on reality. The reality is that this is not only about terrorism. It's about our collective character. We may invest in our armed forces but the question is - "Will we look at this chink in our armour?"

Thursday 4 December 2008

Email-Blogging

Testing Testing Lallan Testing!!!!

Saturday 29 November 2008

Startling Revelations

Initially, the idea of this post was to throw more light on the abbreviations and jargon used by journalists to describe the mayhem unfolding in Mumbai.  NSG, fidayeen, Marcos, Lashkar-e-Taiba etc... But as I investigated each link on Wiki and googled those terms, I hit upon some sinister weblinks and most of them - official. The Lashkar and other militant organizations in Pakistan are living ammunition posing a huge threat to India, America, UK, Israel and other nations on their radar...

I'd leave you and your intelligence to draw inferences from this information. Also note that some of the information and links lack context. But, disclaimers aside, it is starling...

1.Who are the NSG?
The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country.  Thus the primary role of this Force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions, and the State Police and other Central Police Forces cannot cope up with the situation. The NSG is a Force specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and is therefore, to be used only in exceptional situations.
Source : NSG's Official Website


2. What is a Fidayeen attack?

A fidayeen attack is a suicide tactic used by militants. Such attacks are especially common in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a fidayeen, a militant equips himself (most fidayeens are men) with weapons and a sizeable amount of ammunition. He then proceeds to gain entrance into a military base, checkpoint or other military installation and proceeds to open fire on law-enforcement personnel. He continues his attack until he runs out of ammunition, at which point he is gunned down by security forces. Fidayeen militants sometimes do attempt to escape but are almost always shot by security forces shortly afterward because the militants rarely have a "getaway" plan chalked out. These militants, like suicide bombers are prepared to die during the execution of the attack.

But a Fidayeen attack is not a suicide attack. It is a different kind of attack usually carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Jammu and Kashmir. In this attack a Fidayee heavily armed enters into a military camp or convoy and start firing bullets and throwing grenades and fights till death. A fidayee does not blow himself up with explosives and if he gets a chance after fulfilling the mission he may try to escape.
Source : Wikipedia

3.What is Lashkar-e-Taiba?

- Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET) is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989. LET is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India, and is not connected to a political party. LET's leader is MDI chief, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

- LET has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir since 1993. LET is suspected of eight separate attacks in August that killed nearly 100, mostly Hindu Indians. LET militants are suspected of kidnapping six persons in Akhala, India, in November 2000 and killing five of them.

- LET has several hundred members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. In their operations, LET uses assault rifles, light and heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, and rocket propelled grenades.

- LET is based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad. LET trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan. LET collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The amount of LT funding is unknown. LET maintains ties to religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the MDI fraternal network.
Source : For Immediate Release
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
December 20, 2001



Description: A black AK-47 rifle, placed against a yellow sun in the center, protrudes vertically from an open, green Koran. Above the rifle, in black, is a semi-circular Koranic phrase which translates: "And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah." These images are set against a light blue background. Below the Koran is white lettering against a red background; it bears the group's original name: Markaz al-Dawa wa al-Irshad (the Center for Preaching and Guidance).

Explanation: The Koran signifies the centrality of Islam to Lashkar-e-Taiba's ideology; green is also Islam's traditional color. The blue background represents Allah's mercy and the sun symbolizes wisdom and virtue. The rifle's placement above the Koran, and the inscription above, denote the organization's belief that violent jihad will establish a society based on Islamic precepts. The red on the bottom is a symbol of strength and violence.


4. Who is Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed?


I hope these articles don't evoke an anti-Pakistan sentiment because that clearly isn't the need of the hour. Nonetheless, one cannot deny that the country is home to a FACTORY of living bombs waiting to be deployed at the point of a finger. Also, I happened to hit upon a link to Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed's official organization Jamat Dawah. Prof. Saaed as you may have read earlier is the founder and chief (which he denies on this website) of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. His claim on his official website is contradictory to the NY Times interview above. His website has so many references to the use of 'jihad' and Anti-India tones that it fails me as to how this man is allowed to function so freely.

P.S. - Some Shocking Links :- (PLEASE VISIT THEM)
If you read the date on this writeup, it reads 25th April, 2008
  • The students were shouting slogans such as, “The only remedy of correcting those who have insulted the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, is Jihad”
  • "The rally was so humongous that it stretched from the Press Club, all the way to the G.P.O."
  • "They also demanded an end to the oppressive GRE test system for admission to universities"
 B
Please understand that this is Prof. Saeed's official website. Date reads 21st May 2008
"In a statement issued here yesterday, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said Muslims should wage jihad against countries that have disrespected the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, instead of signing trade and friendship pacts with them"
      C 
    "He said Muslims should implement Islamic laws and values in accordance with the teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah in their homes, and urged Muslim women to cover themselves and instill Islamic values in their children, and to abandon Hindu traditions and customs. The solution to all the problems of Muslims lies in turning back to the Quraan and the Sunnah, he stressed."
      D

      Amidst this madness, I found solace in a website named Bharat Rakshak

      P.S. - I am truly rattled guys. As I type these final words, I hear L.K. Advani address a gathering that - during his tenure as the home minister under Vajpayee's prime-ministership he ensured that all terrorists were invariably killed. Vote-bank politics, anyone?

      Wednesday 26 November 2008

      Mumbai is Bleeding...

      As I write, the news keeps pouring in... our city is bleeding... from indiscriminate firing, sporadic blasts and our indifference. Tomorrow we will wake up with the comfort that our kin escaped the mayhem. Tomorrow we'll flash our 'Things-To-Do' list and catch up on the lost time tonight... As I write, 5 die in Vile-Parle ... but you see I am unaffected. At home. Safe. My family is upset. Like your family is. But you see... we are unaffected.

      This clearly cannot go on. Our country is not a playground. I am at a loss for words and solutions. But this cannot go on. Just Cannot. I am willing to do anything that is asked of me to contribute to our nation's security. I cannot live in this fear. Because I realize that I've only been lucky until now. Sorry, but I am not going to wait until my misfortune catches up on me or my loved ones.

      Mumbai is Bleeding... And today... even I am.




      P.S. - It is getting much worse. It is apalling.  

      P.P.S - Wake up and smell the blood. This is a threat to our fundamental Right to Freedom. It's 2.15 am and some of India's top cops have died. The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai's iconic ambassador to the world is in a blaze. Is this India's 9/11? I hope it is. Because after 9/11 I haven't heard of a single terror attack on America. More importantly, I hope the night comes to an end soon. No more deaths man. No more deaths.

      Monday 24 November 2008

      Coffee

      The familiar aroma of the sun-kissed bean
      Of blue-eyed dreams under November skies
      A frothy mouth so passionately speaks
      Of epic Greek fables and the distant sun
      Fragile fingers fondle the Holy Grail
      A hair strand fails to distract her heart
      At the innermost core of it I lie
      And in her magic eyes love comes alive
      Gullible men such as I don't see
      It was never us
      Always that goddamn Coffee

      Monday 17 November 2008

      No Other Option

      There is no room in this world for people who wallow is self-pity. No room for people who sigh, look back and say, "I wish I had done things in another way". There is no room for people who are unwilling to fight out their moods, obstacles and the barriers of their mind. There is no room for people who say, "I'd do it better the next time around". No room for people who look at someone else succeed and say to themselves, "I wish I was there". There is no room for people who can't toil. There is no room for people who don't have the conviction to follow their heart. No room for the ones who don't learn from their mistakes either. Because in this world, there are too many of them. Too many of them fighting, struggling, pushing, challenging, growing and pursuing the lives of their design. If you have a design for your life, you better live it. There is no room for another option.

      Thursday 13 November 2008

      Light

      Read from bottom to top             
                                                          
      L
      I
      G
      H
      T
                                                               With love in my heart I climb your each stair                                                                 Your Door of Light opens to the soul I bare...  
                  
                                                   But I don't seek power of self over mortal men
                                                  Instead I seek to love in the pure way love can;

                                          It is in the ego of man to create wonders alone
                                        To carve victories, win a seat on envy's throne;

                                 & in that lifeless moment I feel your calm     
                                Your reassuring voice : my healing balm;

                       In the eerie dark of the night I pray
                     For some holy light to come my way;
           
                It speaks of all the things I am not
              And the myriad things I wish to be;

        In the silence of the night I feel
      My inadequacy creep upon me;                                                                                                                                         

                                                                

      Tuesday 11 November 2008

      Choices - I

      My choice of food has a profound effect on my intellect, energy and well-being. Not just the choice of food but also the timing and frequency of the intake. I really don't know if any of you will be able to relate to the post but it's the truth of my life. Had I not been a physically weak kid with a severely dysfunctional diet - don't know if I'd have paid much attention to what goes into my stomach.

      Folks of my age revel in the pizzas, pastas, sev puris, pav vadas, pav bhajis and the likes. With a metabolism that comes with our age, this diet is no surprise. No surprise because it caters to the taste buds. The generous layers of mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, onion and other divine ingredients lead to an orgasm for the tongues across the world.

      Unfortunately, sometimes an orgasm for the tongue leads to an impotent stomach *Yes, I need some serious help with analogies* So, great tasting food often creates a not so great experience after the food slips down my throat. Hence the question I ask is - Food for the stomach or food for the tongue?

      In an ideal world this question would be irrelevant. But in my not so ideal universe, this awareness has brought with it certain choices. The choice to either create a sustained feeling of zest in me or to let my hedonistic tongue rule my body.

      Until a few months back, I had no such awareness. To keep up with the dietary prowess of my peers, I put my body through all the foods that evoked feelings of lethargy, restlessness and depression. Foods which did not align with my relatively weak digestion. and it happened for the longest time. Until Yoga came into my life.

      Yoga Institute in Santacruz advocates a Sattvic Ahara (diet) which focuses on the nutritional aspect of food alone. Infact, it is a fundamental requirement in the practice of Yoga.

      Sattvic diet is food that gives life, strength, energy, courage and self-determination. Sattvic food gives us more than the gross physical requirements of the proper mix of proteins, carbs and fats etc. It also gives us the subtle nourishment necessary for vitality and consciousness. Food is seen as a carrier of the life force called prana and is judged by the quality of its prana and by the effect it has on our consciousness.


      With this knowledge and awareness, I am more prudent with my food choices. The pizzas and burgers still exist but they now co-exist with the awareness that I have to replenish my system with nutrients that will allow me to feel better and lighter from within. With food which will allow me to be in greater control of my emotions. And with a lifestyle which allows me to be zestier, healthier and free of disease.

      Let me ask you - What do you eat for?





      Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, sattva-suddhau dhruva smritih; Smriti-lambhe sarva-granthinam viprarnokshah - By the purity of food follows the purification of the inner nature, by the purification of the nature, memory becomes firm and on strengthening the memory, follows the loosening of all ties and the wise get Moksha thereby.

      Thursday 6 November 2008

      Shit Happens.

      Today was like any other day. Until that one dreadful moment. Everything was shaping up well. Hot water and lemon did its duty like the soldiers on our war front *Insane metaphor*. The joy on my face transcended into every other action. There was an obvious jaunt in my step. Life was as it should be. Glorious. Until that one dreadful moment. My maid prepared the most delicious lunch. And surprisingly I ate more than my four year old nephew. Until that one dreadful moment. I looked up to the heavens with Sachin as he scored his 40th Test hundred. Watching him play that glorious on-drive to Lee, I thought aloud "Is there anything more joyous than this?". Until that one dreadful moment. Anyway, today unlike any other day - my math accuracy was at an all time high too. When that happens - you simply know that life's good. Until... yes, until that one dreadful moment.

      As the voluptious November sun set before my eyes I refrained from switching the lights on. Soaking in all the joy that twilight had to offer, I moved towards the, surprisingly unfinished, lot of Diwali mithais. Kaju Katris and Kaju Puris have traditionally been my favourites. And to retain the decadent consistency of the day I chose not to experiment. Restlessly, in the dying light, I struggled to find the right box. At the bottom of the pile, written in Gujarati in barely legible font, was my treasure trove. Like Gulshan Grover in his rape scenes - I quickly undressed the box. My eyes were gold *metaphor* as I stared at the hordes of uwrapped, glistening Kaju Puris. The sun I saw, from my balcony, was within kissing distance of the horizon. My undressing *unwrapping* skills came to the forefront. In no time - a large, divine, delicious Kaju Puri was sitting in the center of my mouth happily tickling my taste buds. Savouring the taste, I moved towards the window. This was about the time when I took my first bite. And *Crunch* - there it was!

      Now *Crunch* was one sound I did not quite associate with Kaju Puris. I was surprised but I gave it the benefit of doubt. I mean you rarely ever analyze why good food is good. It just is. So keeping that golden rule in mind I continued chewing until I reached my next bite. And guess what I heard again? *Crunch*

      Something was clearly fishy. I rushed back to examine the box. The light was the kind in which you'd mistake Rakhi Sawant for Rani Mukherjee. But common sense still eluded me. A brand new Kaju Puri was in my hand. I squinted my eyes to see if I could spot some interesting ingredient. It's about the very time when something started tickling me on my arms. Clearly a bad time to start fantasizing hot women I told myself. But the tickling persisted. About time I swtiched on the light, right?
      I did.

      And holy fuck! ... An army, no a continent full of RED ANTS stared at me from the box. The Kaju Puri in my hand had a few of those fools dancing too. Petrified!, I threw the puri back in the box... my hands swooshing some of the heroes on my arms. "Phew! That was close!", I told myself.

      And then came - That One Dreadful Moment. *Crunch* as I bit into the remnants of the original Kaju Puri. The one in my mouth. This is one of those moments when the world laughs at your stupidity, misery and trauma without an iota of guilt. It is also one of those moments when you can't ask them to not laugh at you. I knew Shit Happens. I loved it each time it happened. But now.... I hate metaphors. Especially this one. Because today Shit Happened in a way I never expected.













      P.S. :- Anuj was last seen removing fossilized ant bodies from his tongue

      Wednesday 5 November 2008

      A New Voice



      Never before have I felt words evoke so much grace, strength and character. His voice has a quite resolve to it. A voice that not only reassures but also inspires. The man epitomizes poise and equanimity. And his words are but a reflection of those qualities. Like Ankit, I believe this to be the finest speech I have heard in my time. India needs a dynamism like his. It needs a voice which talks beyond crass factional politics. A voice that upholds growth and welfare of a united nation. I wish youngsters like us don't fall prey to shallow voices which depend on vote-bank politics. I, like the rest of you, await that change. Until then, as America celebrates, we will tread carefully under Raj Bhaiyya's (oops... Bhau's) watchful eye.


      Wednesday 29 October 2008

      Bulleted List



      • If you're a Wonderwall fan - listen to this outstanding version of the song.
      • Sometimes, I've found it more difficult to say No to people not close to me. Clearly, it shouldn't be that way. But ironically, it has.
      • My physical health is intricately linked to my mental health. Just like everyone else's. Only now, I really want to work on my physical health - at both the physical and the mental level.
      • Why do I realize the worth of people when they are not around me?
      • I wish to be many things in life. But what I wish to be foremost is - An Entrepreneur. If at all I can become more things, i'd like to be a writer, paraglider, capoerista, photographer, musician, film director. But first and foremost - an entrepreneur.
      • There were many instances when I couldn't choose between the many things I wanted to be. Poorva asked me, "What do you want to be known as?". Her age (being 73 that she is and her experiences in life) came to my rescue. That's when I realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur first and everything else, later.
      • I start dancing each time I listen to "Jaane Kyun" from Dostana
      • Changing the positioning of my blog from a Writing Playground to a Thought Playground is comforting though I clearly don't want it to become a random rant space. This one entry (hopefully the only one) is an exception. When I have the luxury of time I will use this blessed service to hone my writing skill.
      • My respect for Mr. Amitabh Bachchan increases multifold with each new entry on his blog. I strongly recommend a read. The man's dedication, commitment to his art, energy, wisdom, intelligence are simply awe-inspiring.
      • I'd also like to thank the 3 P's on my blog - Poorva, Peru and Pratik (3 of the loveliest girls i've known) for having the kind heart to stay with me on the blog for close to three years now.
      • Also, i'd like to extend my thank yous to Varun Prasad whose comments have been forever encouraging and Mudra Mehta who, inspite of being an extremely talented writer, grammarian, star-blogger and a Tashan-lover, has given my blog some of her valuable time.
      • There are a whole lot of other people who have commented under pressure (not the pot one). To them also, I am grateful. Grateful because they chose the right kind of pressure to comment on my blog.
      • @ Poorva, Peru and Pratik - I will dedicate more post space to you'll in the near future. Please don't stop commenting. You'll won't na? Promise?
      • I love you all.
      • Ok. Now my entry is increasingly taking a "written in a drunken stupor" shape.
      • So, Saal Mubarak! :D

      Wednesday 22 October 2008

      What are you doing?

      Every once in a while a 'what the fuck are you doing with your life?' kind of question pops up from nowhere and especially when I am imagining Monica Bellucci in various stages of undress. My mind, which has no sense of priorities, subtly moves to that dreaded question. Leaving her dress on the floor and my imagined self screaming "Hey, what the fuck do you think you're doing by calling it a day at this utopian moment"? - my mind dances over my insecurities.

      Today was one of those days. The question though was more retrospective in nature. It asked me, 'What the fuck have you done in your life?'. *Damn it!* After 14 minutes of "Can I get Monica back! umm.. err.. I'll be done real soon!... Please!!!...C'mmon it's MONICA BELLUCCI you celibate fucker!" I gave up. The question took over. After beating around the bush for a while, the truth basked in its naked glory. Naked Truth or Naked Monica Bellucci? Who would you choose?

      For me, it was a day when I finally accepted a certain truth.

      The truth that there is an obvious disparity between knowing the knowledge and living it. That knowing how to have sex and having sex are two very different things. I realized that in my 22 years, out of the umpteen thousand things I have read, known and thought to have believed - my only growth has been in height and weight, the latter also being negligible. I've read books on Zen Buddhism, parts of the Gita, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, so many Robin Sharma's pop self-helps ... Infact, I've read bits of The Secret too *in a fit of desperation* ...

      But little did I realize that for self help to actually work, you have to help your self. And honestly man, knowing one's self is not rocket science. It simply needs the honesty and earnestness to look at yourself for what you truly are. A dash of ruthlessness can help if you are subconsciously biased to yourself. *Eg : Me*

      With objectivity must come acknowledgment and then acceptance. And then the willingness to change the unwanted. Damn, see I am writing like the way they do in those books. Digression :- Sincerely, some reputed self-help practitioners and preachers make the entire process so serious and challenging that it becomes a put-off. And that's true. Most books make self-awareness sombre business meant for the world weary. Isn't it?

      And when you only know the knowledge but are not living it, you come across as preachy and philosophical too with mere clutter and little clarity. And I realise how this information overload has taken a toll on my mind. My spontaneity is not spontaneous. I write lines like the last one. And most importantly, Monica Bellucci has begun to lose interest in me.

      So, ladies and gentlemen my parting wisdom to you is :

      It's a hundred times more beneficial to live the little you know & believe in. Jee haan! Sachi! Anyway, you tell me :

      What are you doing?








      P.S. - The 'Knowing how to and having Sex' line in Para 3 was just an example to elucidate my point. It certainly wasn't the subject of my introspection. Jee haan! Sachi!

      My Daily Bath

      Have you seen the new Limca ad? Delightful! Isn't it? And its airing could'nt have been timed any better. Unrelenting tropical heat. Sundry afternoons. And amidst this grimy sweat comes a hauntingly refreshing melody... I'm drawn each time it plays.

      Singer kaun hai yaar? Kya awaaz hai!


      Tuesday 21 October 2008

      Raj-u Ban Ja Gentleman!

      It's a charming morning. The October sun is shamelessly flamboyant and the birds are at their chirpy best. Is it mating season? A little pigeon comes by my pseudo balcony to wish me good morning. He seems well fed. By the way, how does one determine a pigeon's gender?

      And guess what! The mugful of hot water and lemon creates magic on the pot. The yellow background on my blog makes me nostalgic about my lil' trip to wonderland. And ironically it's titled Sticky Notes. For once it wasn't :)

      Aah, What a good morning!, I say. What joy!, I say.

      And then mom comes. Grim-faced. Tells me to rush to our living room. Damn. The man has fucked my morning, again! His hypnotised followers justifying the dastardly acts. The powers that be turning a blind eye to their very conscience. I know a fucked up morning is a trivial inconvenience.

      That man has fucked up people's lives.


      “When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her.” - Oscar Wilde

      That Irreverent Streak

      I think ambition needs a little irreverence. Not insensitivity, but the irreverence and quiet confidence that comes with conviction. Skepticism is Success' fiercest enemy.

      Recollect Gurkukant Desai's tiff with a fellow merchant in the cloth market? His inability to paint a larger canvas compelled him to thwart Guru's vision. But that man. What conviction! What self-belief! ... Isn't that what it really takes? Obviously, a lot of other factors come into play. But without a timeless faith in that lil' voice within which says : Hey Anuj, that's your dharma, go live it!... every other thing fails.

      So, next time you see irreverence coming at you, ask where it's coming from? It may just not be a frivolous disregard for your thoughts...

      Monday 20 October 2008

      Zindagi

      Sometimes, very rarely though, a song comes and penetrates your very soul. Asking why it evokes so much within an otherwise mundane spirit is blasphemous. Zindagi is one such song. Often I have pondered and with much futility on the enigmatic power of music. This song from Rahman's new work of genius (though certainly not his best) is an ode to the pathos of life. This conversational masterpiece sung by Srinivas and penned by Gulzar is one of the my favourite's on the album. Also, Mastam Mastam and Tu Muskura i'd absolutely recommend. For the time being, allow me to gift you this demure classic in the making.


      Album Name:Yuvvraaj
      Song Name: Zindagi



      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein…
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?


      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?
      Tu kahan kho gayi?
      Tu kahan kho gayi?

      Koi aaya nahin
      Do-peher ho gayi
      Koi aaya nahin
      Zindagi Zindagi

      Din aaye, din jaaye
      Sadiyaan bhi gin aaye
      Sadiyaan re…
      Tanhayee lipti hai…
      Lipti hai saansoun ki
      Rasiya re…
      Tere bina badi pyasi hai
      Tere bina hai pyasi re
      Nainoun ki do saakhiyan re
      Tanha re…
      Main tanha re

      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?
      Zindagi Zindagi

      Subah ka kohra hai
      Sham ki dhool hai
      Tanhayee hai
      Raat bhi sard hai
      Dard hi dard hai
      Ruswayee hai
      Kaise katein?
      Saansein uljhi hain
      Raatein badi jhulsi jhulsi hain
      Naina, kori sadiyaan re
      Tanha re…
      Main tanha re

      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?
      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?

      Tu kahan kho gayi?
      Koi aaya nahin
      Do-peher ho gayi
      Koi aaya nahin
      Zindagi Zindagi, kya kami reh gayi?
      Aankh ki kor mein, kyon nami reh gayi?

      Tuesday 14 October 2008

      I dont know.

      I dont know.

      Today like everyday i was at the traffic signal. It was very hot today. Not like other days when it is only raining. I was very hungry also. Had not had food since the last night. But thankfully that college girl gave me a chewing gum. Chewing gum is good to eat when you are hungry. It removes the hunger for some time. I told thank you to the girl with a smile. She told me to brush my teeth. I told her – Didi I do but the water only makes the teeth dirty. I dont know. She made some silly face. Some college girls are nice girls. Very often they share their chewing gums and choclates. But then some are dirty. They laugh at me and my friends or say some dirty things. I dont know but when they have some white wire in their ears they dont care about anything in the world. Rama tells me that we can listen to songs and talk to people from that wire. I told her you are stupid or what. And she anyways says lies so I dont know if she was saying the truth. She says that in Mumbai every second person puts wire in their ears. So funny it is. Maybe she is right. I dont know.

      Anyways my favourite buble gum was now in my mouth. Strawberry buble gum I really like a lot. And I like how when i bite in the starting the buble gum breaks and all the strawberry juice comes into my mouth. It is just so yummy. I love to feel that. So then when I was having chewing gum for some time that day Satya – my best friend came to me with a big pav vada. The pav vada was the biggest I had seen in my life. The pav looked yummy. It was soft and not rubber. Mostly we get rubber pav when some person feels like giving us food instead of money. I say why give us such food because one time Rama had such a pav vada and she fall sick. For three days her stomach was paining so much. Full night she cried and Satya and I had to beg in the medicene shop to give us tablets. Medicene shop uncle is sweet. He gave choclate for Rama also. But how many times he will do like this? I dont know. So anyway this Satya’s pav was not rubber and i could smell the lasun chutney inside. My mouth was full of spit. It happens when you want to eat something you like a lot or when you eat after long time. Now I had to remove my chewing gum. Satya was telling me to take it quickly because his signal had stopped and he was losing his dhandha. He told me some abuses and put the pav vada in my hand forcingly and ran across the road. Now I was too hungry to eat so I wanted to quickly throw my favourite strawberry buble gum and eat the vada pav. I was anyways eating chewing gum for a long time.

      Normally what I do na is if I have not eaten the chewing gum for too much long time then I put the chewing gum back in the paper then eat food and then after sometime I eat it again. This way I dont waste it.

      But today was diffrent. When I removed the chewing gum I realised that there was a problem. I had removed the chewing gum but there was no paper to put chewing gum inside and throw it in the dustbin. I was so foolish. My two fingers were now one because of the sticky gum. Now with extra big vada pav in one hand and three useful fingers in the other hand I was crawling on the road to find some paper. Till last week this paper finding job would be very easy because everyone just throws papers from rikshas and bus but since one week BMC has done good job to clean the road. I like it when people dont litter. Lata Di who is my teacher and has taught us drawing and reading and writing and speaking in English and Hindi always tells us to not throw kuchra on the road. Lata Di is a college student who comes to teach us every evening. We learn on the road only. Because she also does not have lots of money to buy a class for us but she has promised to do something about it soon.

      She says that I want all of you kids to be Litterate. And she says Litteracy means when you dont throw paper and chewing gum and spit on the road. She says only people who are not educated and who come from dirty homes dirty the city. But I want to study. And become a big person. Lata Di tells me always that Zaheer you are very smart and you will become successful one day but only if you dont put finger in your nose and eat the dirt. I took many days to stop that habit. Really but I used to like the flavour of the semud a lot. She only has told me to write in this notebook everyday so that I will be able to write in correct English after sometime. I really like Lata Di. I want to be litterate so that she is proud of me. So that no one can say I come from a dirty family. So that people think i am educated. So everytime my friends throws something on the road I just start fighting with them. I tell them that do you want to be known as dirty children from dirty families when you become big? Or do you want to be Litterate? I dont know. It just makes me very angry. I dont like it. I dont know.

      Anyway after much searching I finally found a paper and threw my chewing gum in the dustbin. Now I was finally going to eat my vada pav. It was so hot but then the vada pav in front of me made me feel nice. Cars like everyday were making the full air full of smoke. And there was so much of noise and traffic. I feel like removing my ears at times for sometime.

      Eating my vada pav with a smiling face I was sitting next to the road. I saw many big people and big cars passing by. And then my eyes went to this big long black car. It was a superb car. Full black with silver outline. And the windows were dark and up. It was so long. I could not properly see who was inside. The car was right in front of me. I told to myself that Zaheer you will buy such a car someday. Again I started eating my pav vada when suddenly the window of the car started coming down. It was superb. Inside the car I saw a young man wearing spectacles. He was reading English newspaper. He looked almost like Hritik Roshan. He was eating a banana and reading together. He looked at me and smiled. His body was also great. I told to myself that Zaheer you must study hard and become like this man. Smart and educated. Just then he made a seeti sound to call me. Looking at me from up to down or down to up I dont remember he gave me one big banana. I was very happy. I told him that I want to be like him when I become big. He smiled again.

      Then after 1 minute the signal became green. I waved out to him. He did not see I think. After that - what I saw has just made me very upset. I am not getting sleep also. Why did she teach me the wrong thing? Why did she say that it is the most imporant thing? I cannot understand.

      He has studied so much and is such a rich person with a big nice car – then why did he throw the banana peel on the road? Why? He is not from a dirty family then why did he throw it? I can still see the yellow peel with black dots on it in my mind. For ten minutes I was only looking at it. My anger was funny today. I did not want to tell him abuses. It was a funny thing.

      And as I am writing this I am thinking. I am thinking that people who are educated and are big people do this kind of behaviour then – Why is Litteracy so very important? Is it?

      I dont know.




      Zaheer Sheikh
      14-10-2008

      Friday 29 August 2008

      Rock On!! - Reviewed.


      Caution : Spoilers Below. Read only after watching the movie. Unless you don't plan to watch it. Or don't care about the spoilers.



      (Edited)

      To X,

      Guess who's back? :)))))))

      I've just read all the things you've written to me and you've written so much :))) So sweet of you. Thank you... I love reading your mails as you obviously well know.... And the best part about your mails are that they recreate you and your voice in words... And that is just amazing... unlike my mails which I guess are carefully worded, boring at times and mostly introspective...

      Anyway, now that I am back, I guess i'll make the most of this opportunity to bore you...

      I just returned from Rock On!!

      Aaaah.... I am sure you're awaiting my take on the movie with bated breath...

      But you will have to wait.

      Yes, Rock On!! was a keenly anticipated movie. Promos do these things to you. Also brands. Rock On!! has Farhan Akhtar debuting in the movie. I have savoured his cinema for the kind of sensitivity he brings to all aspects of film-making. From the script to the screenplay - from the use of music and background score to the nuanced performances he is able to extract from his actors - all are a hallmark of a man who knows his stuff. And when you come to know that very Farhan Akhtar is acting in a movie centered around a rock band - at 22, as an avid movie and music buff - the adrenaline certainly starts pumping :))(happens to me atleast!). To add to it, he lends his voice to 5 of the 8 songs in the movie. And then if I said, "I wasn't expecting this movie to meet a certain intangible benchmark" - it'd be an absolute lie. Did the movie meet this benchmark is the big question?

      The answer to be absolutely honest is Yes and No.

      Rock On!! is the story of 4 friends (Aditya - lead vocalist and lyricist, Rob - keyboard/ programmer, KD - drummer and Joe - lead guitarist) who between the age of 20 and 22 (no exact mention) form a rock band named Magik. For them, music is life. They eat, sleep, breathe, drink music. And each of them passionately believe in Magik - the band. The movie is about these 4 friends/ band members who under certain circumstances and misunderstandings split and lead their individual lives. Lives which are a far cry from the magic of Magic. And that is where the movie begins...

      The narrative of Rock On!! is almost rhytmic : present-flashback-present-flashback and so on... and as much as it is about the story of a band with 4 members - it primarily revolves around the lives of Aditya (Farhan Akhtar) and Joe (Arjun Rampal) ... and for me, that was a big let down. Why create a 4 member band when your movie will so obviously tend towards two of them. Instead of being a rollicking story of the life and times of these 4 friends/band members - their chemistry, their joys, their sorrows : the movie focusses on the 2 'lead' characters for most of the screen time.

      I may lose the flow of my review so instead let me compartmentalize it into Story & Analysis, & Performances to bring some order...

      The Story : The story is quite straight-forward. Successful band. Splits because of ideological differences amongst 2 band members. Music brings them together after 10 years. For their final performance.

      Of course, it isn't as vanilla as it was made to seem above. Despite the fact that KD and Rob's characters are thrown in the background - the two tracks centered around Aditya (Farhan Akhtar) and Joe (Arjun Rampal) are fantastically scripted. There are some well directed scenes in the movie which bring about Aditya's (Farhan Akhtar's) dissatisfaction with the material world. He is a fabulously successful (monetarily) Investment Banker who seeks solace in his work by burying his zest for music and poetry and life in one little box in the attic. His wife played by Prachi Desai as Saakshi is the ideal wife whose only pursuit is to help her disillusioned husband find himself. There are some poignant moments in the first half between the couple.

      At the same time, Joe Mascarenhas played by Arjun Rampal is the idealist, dreamer ... whose only aspiration was Magic. And after his dream came crashing down, so did he. Unwilling to sell his talent for money's sake - Joe is the perfect example of the idealistic, impractical rebel who you might just run into in one of the bylanes near Mount Mary. His wife (don't know her name) Debbie run his family's fishing business, giving up her own dreams in order to feed her son and husband. For Joe, he knows nothing but to play the guitar. He doesn't understand the dynamics of the consumerist world. He lives in a world of his own. Again, the scenes revolving around Joe's struggles and his languishing family are sensitively handled.

      The other 3 tracks are

      1. KD's (Purab Kohli) who joins his father's business after the split
      2. Rob's (Luke Kenny) who is a programmer/keyboardist with Anu Malik and is obviously dissatisfied with it
      3. The 3rd track is the flashback which comes at regular intervals.

      Even if Purab and Luke's tracks were mellowed to squeeze in the authenticity of the 'lead' tracks (pardon the sarcasm) - the flashbacks were quite dissappointing. I expected them to be entertaining and memorable - full of camraderie and fun moments akin to what Akash, Sameer and Sid share in DCH just after their college days... And that, for me was the most disappointing part of the movie. There was scope for so much humour (like the Dandia scene - an absolute killer scene) in the movie but alas, in order to keep the realistic tone to the movie, Abhishek Kapoor almost treads the rockumentary path. Who told you rockers don't have a sense of humour? You could have added so many quirky incidents. No dope, no tributes to the greats, no covers, no beer - Why? Beyond a few scenes, the movie never picks up.

      The end is also average. Did not make me want to sing with the band at all. Especially the choice of songs : 'Sinbad the Sailor' according to me was the worst choice of song for the finale. 'Tum ho Toh' was excellent and I wish they'd have put 'Saat Dino Mein' at the end instead. The 'Don't Download. Buy CD.' note at the end was damn neat though.

      Now to the Performances :

      Farhan Akhtar (Aditya - lead vocalist) : Farhan Akhtar makes a smashing debut. Being a non-actor, I may not be able to point out some miniscule flaw in his performance but I was thoroughly impressed by the authenticity with which he plays the suave rockstar as well as the disillusioned Investment Banker who finds his calling again. Watch him in the scene with Prachi Desai after his birthday party. And when Debbie requests him to let Joe off the band in the pre-climax ... and you'll know what I am talking about. He is bloody good. And that unique voice only adds to the flavour of his character.

      Arjun Rampal (Joe - lead guitarist) : As the moustached world-weary father, Arjun Rampal does a fabulous job. The fact that his range of expressions are countable on your fingers allows his to flourish in a part where no expressions were asked of him. But as the lead guitarist of Magik, I thought he was pretty weird. Wind blowing through his hair whilst he plays his solos killed it. And that he was expressionless here too, with his solos not matching the actual sound did only more harm. For the last, the director is more to blame for the lack of attention to detail.

      Purab Kohli (KD - the drummer) : Alas, he had only that many scenes! The guy is a scene-stealer!!! Abhishek Kapoor may have been threatened by Farhan Akhtar to limit his scenes lest he steal the limelight ... because his character simply begged more screen time. And it is not just the funny scenes. Purab handles the sensitive scenes with aplomb too. Especially the one in the climax where he stands up for himself. From My Brother Nikhil to Rock On!! - he has only grown as an actor. I am your fan man!

      Luke Kenny (Rob - the programmer/ keyboard) : Luke Kenny delivers a sincere performance. No histrionics but does what he is asked to with utmost sincerity. I wonder though if he will act in any other film. But if he chooses to, I think he'll do okay.

      Debbie (Arjum Rampal's wife) : Debbie (Please help me with her real name, too lazy to google) delivers a power-packed performance. Playing the harrowed wife to an adamant, idealisitic (give me another word) husabnd - Debbie's love and concern for Joe and more importantly the stability of her home is conveyed effectively in some of the scenes where she compells Joe to take up different odds and ends to keep the house running. Her character is also neatly sketched.

      Prachi Desai as Saakshi is the absolute find of Rock On!! - I was amazed to see her perform. Not only is she fabulously petite and pretty, she is also a stunning performer. She adds so much depth to the role of a disillusioned(new word here too) husband's wife that my heart went out to her. There are too many wonderful scenes to highlight but special mention must be made of the post birthday-party scene when she discloses her pregnancy. Also when she hums 'Ajeeb Dastaan' at the Channel V party - What a scene! She is clearly the winner for me in this movie. An actor to look out for.


      Finally, Rock On!! is a bold effort (not in the way Taran Adarsh means it when he writes it - as a prelude to bad ratings), it genuinely is. There are some very obvious flaws which, if you let your objectivity come to the forefront, will jump at you. My pre-conceived idea (why do I have pre-conceived ideas?) of the movie was that it would be a fabulous celebration of music, life and your most cherished dreams. I was hoping to come out of the movie in a way I came out after watching 'The Pursuit of Happyness' (that same feeling) : but the feeling was quite different. In my head, I appreciated that it was a quality film with good performances and nice music. But in my heart, it didn't move me. It didn't do any Magik for me. Movies which really up the ante are the ones which move your head and heart (TZP, RDB, DCH, Swades, Lakshya, Pursuit of Happyness, Munnabhai's, Dor etc.) - Rock On!! certainly will not belong to that elite league. But having said that it is enough value for your ticket money. So, unless you are expecting the universe, you will come out reasonably happy with the movie.

      In any case, I am looking forward to know what the movie did to you. When are you watching it?

      Love,
      Anuj



      P.S. - For N.M.ites - Catch Sharad and Terry perform as part of their band Radio in the movie.

      Monday 28 July 2008

      Farhan Akhtar's rendition of One by U2



      The man continues to amaze me with his myriad talents. Check him cover U2's One here - smashing!

      Sunday 27 July 2008

      & Someday


      & Someday
      The light will pierce your morose soul
      & The daunting peak
      Will become your most glorious goal


      Tuesday 8 July 2008

      Some Place Else



      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where Mr. Grass does his famous tango on Red Rooftops

      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where Mrs. Ocean suffers from her 'Not just Monday Morning' Blues

      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where Uncle Snow slides down Miss Mountains' voluminous Breasts. Lucky Him.

      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where Miss Mountains lets Uncle Snow slide down her voluminous Breasts. How Cheap.

      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where our Old Fella' Sun never goes to bed.

      Far up North...

      Is a place

      Where Madame Sky flirts with Monsieur Clouds quite shamelessly. What Nerve.

      And Far up North...

      Is also a place

      Where Father Rocks and Mother Sand live Happily Ever After.

      Because Far up North...

      Is not just any other place

      Thursday 26 June 2008

      The Earth is One.



      Alone.
      As I wander.

      Over browns of arid lands.
      Over flickers of city lights.
      Over miles of ocean grey.

      I am not lonely...

      New faces from origins unknown
      Smile at me,
      And their warmth melts my soul.
      For there may be us on our planet a six billion some,
      But in the end...

      The Earth is One.

      Saturday 14 June 2008

      Phirst time Phoren

      1.10 pm IST, 35,000 feet over Kandahar, Afghanistan

      I am on my first flight abroad and the excitement is palpable. The sound from my Helsinki bound Finnair engine is a monotonous drone and the dusty, brown middle-eastern terrain runs endlessly as far as my sleepy eyes can see. Jagged mountains, deserted plains and a seemingly irrelevant river make for an incredibly picturesque view. The cloudless sky and the midday sun bake the parched earth. And my sleepy mind directs my eyes to look out for militants training in these desolate hills. There is a fleeting thought of being able to spot Osama run with his men in a secret trail which I could shoot with my 4X optical zoom enabled Canon Powershot A570IS from this paltry height. Alas, such fantasies are short-lived as we soon meet turbulent weather - the kind which forces you to wear your seat belt and start praying. I wonder what atheists do during such times? I guess they'd be listening to music on their iPod.

      Many people i know will wish to plug iPod headphones in their ears instead of the customary cotton plugs during their cremation. What a product!

      Nonetheless, the turbulent weather allows me to flash-back into the whens and hows of this trip.

      On May1, 2007 Sharan, (my dearest school friend), now graduated from the University of Virginia, & I spoke of travelling together to a foreign destination. The oft and well travelled bloke meant it in all earnestness but for me, it was simply a distant dream as is the case with many fellow middle-class Gujarati 21 year olds. And going to phoren is akin to asking Salman Khan to act. Surprisingly, I was very comfortably able to convince my father to grant me a Rs.1.5 lakh budget for my trip to Europe for which I had to contribute 50% of the amount. And that casual conversation, the kind in which you tell your father you want to buy a BMW and he continues reading the paper, was where it all began... Only this time around he looked up and said - Sounds good. *Still pinching*

      So now, armed with theplas, bhakris and and a lifetime supply of other sundry 'gujju' food items, I reminiscence Sharan's trip to India in December 2007 when we laid the foundations of our trip. By pulling up maps of Europe and juggling between logistical and financial constraints, we were finally able to zero upon a 23 day trip spanning 3 countries and a one-day trip to catch the Mont Blanc in Chammonix, France as an added attraction. 8 days in Switzerland, 6 days in Italy and 9 days in Norway was how it eventually mapped out. Sidestep.com, Tripadvisor.com, Swissrailpass.com and other angelic .coms came to the rescue. Sharan blessed the internet and wondered how men in the pre-internet era planned a trip. The advantage of booking in advance meant we got reasonably good fares for our flight and hotel bookings. For example - My Finnair flight (Mumbai to Zurich and Oslo to Mumbai) cost me Rs.33,000. So unlike my spontaneous domestic travels, time in such a case is literally money. After completing all the bookings online, the next obvious step was to obtain the respective VISAs. The dreaded 4 letter word of which a first time traveller such as me - had no idea of. Procuring a VISA in my case was A) Time-consuming and B) Draining - the reasons being multifold.

      Firstly, I was ignorant. Secondly, I was a blank passport holder. And thirdly - my application was unique. To go to Italy, Norway and France, I had to apply for a Schengen Visa. The Schengen Visa suffices for entry into 15 countries which have signed the Schengen treaty. The contries being Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden
      The Netherlands

      For a blank passport holder, obtaining a Schengen Visa is challenging purely by virtue of the number of documents they ask for : (The Swiss ask for more or less the same application)

      Fully filled and signed Visa form©
      3.5 X 2.5 cm matt finish photo (most photo studios will help)
      ©Covering letter from self stating purpose of visit (in my case it was tourism)©Letter on company letterhead from sponsor (not required in case you are sponsoring yourself. In my case, my father had to submit)
      ©Last 3 years IT Papers of the sponsor©1 year bank statement
      ©Photocopy of Passport©A copy of your flight booking along with a copy of your hotel reservations with your name 'explicitly' mentioned on the bookings.
      ©An itinerary with Day-Place-Country-Sightseeing-Hotel Address to be submitted
      ©Leave letter from work (If employed. And it works in your favour if you are employed or affiliated with a college)
      ©A Travel Insurance copy©6 months salary slips from work©1 year bank statement (of the passenger)
      ©I was asked for a letter stating details of Internal Travel within Europe©Plus a DD of Rs. 4,500 (unsure of the amount)
      ©©And all this for only a TOURIST visa.

      Me thinks, they must be asking for an Encyclopedia on Self, Family and Country if you ever dare to apply for residency. The process of obtaining a Schengen / Swiss Visa is chaotic and painful to say the least. And I was not surprised to see agents thronging these consulates on behalf of the once-upon-a-time humiliated passengers. Unless you are prepared to spend 5 hours of your morning in a queue waiting endlessly for a humiliating stress interview (interview compulsory for first time visitors) or if you have no choice - don't do it. The embassy, especially in the peak season was brimming with people waiting from 6 am (embassy opens at 8 am) The unabashed, loud gujarati conversations will consistently fill in the suffocating embassy office at Maker Chambers 4, Nariman Point and remind you that wherever you are in the world, even if you don't find an Indian - you will find a Gujju. Go Gujju's!. I was fortunate enough to have applied through my friend Disha (rockstar) at International Travel House in Parel. And even though i was supremely hard-pressed for time, I am ON my aircraft flying on schedule which talks volumes about their efficiency, my desperation and the very important thing called destiny. For first time travellers like yours truly, I recommend their guidance if you are applying from India. As per the Swiss Consulate's requirement - you MUST apply for the Schengen or any other country's visa you intend to visit before or after Switzerland before applying for the Swiss Visa. The Swiss Consulate (rather ridiculously) asked for Sharan's visa as a pre-requisite to grant me a Visa. Since he was in USA and applying late - I obviously could not submit it. They also told me that I may have to postpone my trip till I was able to submit his visa copy. What nerve! At that moment, in my heart, I had shown the Swiss consulate my middle finger. My money, my time, my energy - and after having succumbed to all their innocuos documentation requirements, they still threaten me trip-postponement. For 2 days, in deep-stress, I procured a letter from Sharan (forged one ;) with the help of my friend Devina who fabulously forged his signature) stating his inability to send the visa. I sourced his passport and I20 copies. And finally after a reinterview (this time a considerate, sweet lady) - I struck gold! Anyway, its been great learning. I now know what not to do. The Schengen Visa, the Italian Embassy states, may take upto 10 working days. I got it in 4 days itself. But be wise to give yourself room for re-application. The Swiss Visa takes less than 3 working days. The earlier you apply - more the time to accomodate last moment mishaps. No Travel House/ Agent guarantees a Visa so pointing a finger is futile. If your apllication is sound, genuine and in time - invariably you will get it. I can write an essay on the Trials and Tribulations in getting a Swiss/Schengen Visa. Again, experiences are subjective - so some may ride it easy ... others may get harassed. With more trips (hopefully) i'll be able to judge the process better. Anyway, i've been typing for quite a while now. I am really looking forward to meeting Sharan at Zurich. My only concern is that my delayed flight from Mumbai may not allow me to take my connecting flight to Zurich. I remember excerpts from Bachchan's blog and Harivanshrai Bachchan's words - Man ka ho to acha. Man ka na ho to aur bhi acha. If what your heart desires, happens - good. But if what your heart desires does not happen - even better. So, on that optimistic and poetic note - I end my lil' note from the skies. It was Visa centric, I realise, but then as a self-enrolled member of the travel community, sharing such information is vital.

      Anyway, they're screening a Finnish soft-porn movie in some time. Time to tranquilize those hormones.

      Adios.








      P.S. - I am back from my trip but these are my entries which I MUST post or else it'll be a horrid waste of phone memory. And since some of you are STILL kind enough to visit my blog. Please be party to the suffering. And no - I don't write for myself.

      Monday 7 April 2008

      Miracles in the Wind


      The amber sun is setting on me.
      And the summer winds bring warmth.
      I breathe.
      As my wing bobs on the kind thermal.
      Time stands still.
      The past fades into oblivion.
      And the future is now.
      I breathe again.
      My lungs are charmed.
      They know this is not the usual.
      And moist eyes.
      They tell me.




      Son, we call them Miracles in the Wind.