Sunday, September 30, 2007


I just finished watching the film Parzania. It has been on my to-watch list for a long while. The film is about a Gujrati-Parsi family which lost a son Parzan in Ahmedabad riots of 2002. The movie is very well made by director Rahul Dholakia with brilliant performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Sarika, Corin Nemec & the two child artistes. It portrays the anguish of people who were victims of Ahmedabad riots (mostly Muslims) of post-Godhra attacks and callousness of the Govt officials (including Police, politicians) in handling the matter.

I felt quite disturbed after watching this film; this is the second time an Indian film has evoked such reaction from me. The first one being Bandit Queen which I watched in my late teens and some scenes from the film kept haunting me for weeks after watching it. Some of the scenes in Parzania - where mobs attack innocent people's homes and kill them with swords or burn their homes or rape women and burn them alive - were very realistic. Like one of the characters in the film said towards the end - 'I felt ashamed of being a Hindu'. How some religious fanatics can misguide people and use them for their own selfish causes! This Hindu-Muslim divide continues to be our nemesis. But the message from the film is very clear - If we take an eye for an eye, the whole world will soon be blind

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Family Games

There are quite a few advantages of growing up in a big family, and I am not talking about just joint families (this concept is anyway diminishing rapidly in urban India), but in large nuclear families. I know because I have grown up in one - with four siblings & quite enthusiastic parents, we always had a lot of group activities to engage in at home for which we didn't even need participation from anyone else apart from the family.

One of these activities that I remember most fondly was - playing games during weekends or summer vacations. Our favorites were Chinese Checkers (or was it Chequers? It doesn't matter), Scrabble, Carrom, Cards, Badminton, Table Tennis and so on. Chinese Checkers was so addictive that even while sitting at dinner table, we used to mentally picture how to move something from point A to point B by jumping over glasses, bowls etc .. oh, it was so hilarious. And then playing Scrabble made us all make a mental note of each new word we came across that had a Q or Z or M or W (they have higher points in the game than most of the vowels :) ). And cards (especially 29) used to be more a war than a game as my parents were so good at it that we used to get scared being there partners and making some bad judgement.

It has been years since we played any of these games .. mainly because all of us have moved out of home one after the other and occasions when all of us get together at the same time have been few and far between. So when my parents visited me & my sister for a month recently, we did get a chance to play some of the games from our growing up years - mainly Scrabble and cards. We definitely have become quite rusty at Scrabble but in cards we now play more mature (??) games - like Flash and we all (me more so than anyone else) are making quite a few bucks (to the tune of about fifty at the last count, but it's absolutely priceless! ;) ) in the process.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's pouring in Bangalore...

.. since yesterday evening. And I am one of the very few people in Bangalore who is actually enjoying it. Bangalore comes to a standstill when it rains here - thanks to poor infrastructure, bad traffic etc. But that's not what this post is about. I started for work this morning as usual at 8 and after battling the after-rain Bangalore traffic for 2.5 hrs, my office bus managed to travel a mere 8 kms from my home! I was desperately trying to beat the traffic blues by listening to great songs that my favorite radio station was airing and simultaneously reading 'Love in the time of Cholera' (a book I am thoroughly enjoying). But after reaching the 2.5 hrs/8 kms mark, something inside me snapped and I decided that I have had enough! Then it was just a matter of calling my boss and informing him that I was taking off today due to bad traffic (he was really nice about this) and getting off the bus and taking an auto home .. my day started on a totally new note.

The auto ride home took just 15 mins!! Of course I took a different route on which buses are not allowed and when I was just 10 mins walk away from home and we hit another choked traffic zone, I decided to take a walk home in the light rains. I slipped into my slippers (funnily I was carrying them just in case I landed in some muddy puddle on my way to bus-stand in the morning :) ), rolled up my jeans and took off after paying the auto guy who seemed to be in as good mood as me as he sang a Kannada song during the entire ride and duly informed me that it was a rain song he was singing (in case I misunderstood him ;) ). I didn't miss splashing into a single puddle on my way home. When my Mom opened the door for me she found me all muddy feet & slightly drenched but all smiles. She had a steaming cup of tea ready for me already .. what more could I ask!

Later when I logged in to check my emails, I managed to catch up with two of my dearest friends across two continents. I would never have managed to do that if I had been to work today. Now I will make some evening chai & pakoras for the family and end my day watching India-Pakistan 20-20 match while rest of Bangalore is again busy battling the evening traffic. What a wonderful day it has been!!