Saturday, December 19, 2015

Movie Review: Bajirao Mastani

Besides an epic love story, Bajirao Mastani offers a glimpse of grandeur of The Maratha Empire whose greatness is bereft from our history books.

Each of the three actors deserves a standing ovation for one of the finest acting-with all the distinction and precision.

The character of Baji Rao, swollen with Maratha pride and driven by the motivation to defeat the might of Mughals, found an apt answer in Ranveer Singh.

Priyanka's portrayal of an unprotected simplicity in the character of Kashi Bai and Deepika's look of stressed sensuality in Mastani are one of the immediate reasons why Sanjay Bhansali is still a master-director.

And the cinematography will beat the bejesus out of one's mind.

Baji Rao Mastani is a toast to art. Cheers!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Why Cow is worshiped in India

In primary school, at some point of time one must have written an essay on Cow.

गाय हमारी माता है (Cow is our mother)
गाय दूध देती है (Cow gives milk)

These are two lines which comes on top of my mind when I reminiscence my schooldays. So why are Cows revered in Indian Culture? Cow is the universal mother. She feeds her milk not only to her calves but also to the children of the world. Milk is considered to be among the highest forms of food - Sattvic (purity). One cow in a generation benefits 475,000 people through her milk, butter and offspring.

It is not only in India where Cows are revered. They are greatly respected in Nepal and Burma too. People in the ancient India were primarily pastoral. They relied on the cows for milk and dung. Cow dung was one of the main fuels in rural India and also served as a fertilizer. Cow dung and cow urine were used as disinfectant to clean up homes (still used in Tamil Nadu).

Despite its big size, a cow is a calm and non-threatening animal - you could see cows quietly roaming Indian roads. Hindus have always appreciated the tolerance, patience and calmness of the cow. Thus, cows stood for the goodness and considered a representative of Dharma. Also, a cow's affection to its calf is a beautiful thing and Vedas greatly appreciated this bonding.

Some may question why only ban on beef and not on other animals/birds. In the most liberal country- the US, dog's meat and cat's meat are banned. People have special bonding with them and treat them as children. Similarly, in India Cows are considered as mother. Hindus have special bonding with her. In every Hindu household, the first food that is cooked is for Cows.

The First war of Indian Independence, famously known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 happened because the grease used on the cartridges of the rifles had tallow derived from beef. The sepoys had to bite the cartridge open to release the powder in their rifles. This was clearly offensive to the Hindu sepoys which led to the mutiny.
It is all about gratitude. The holy status of Cows are because of the deep respect and love. Cow is known to be "Aghanya"- never to be killed.

Mahatma Gandhi said,"I worship her and I shall defend her worship against the whole world" and that, "The central fact of Hinduism is Cow protection."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Caesar's New Wife

Arvind Kejriwal's rise in politics is no less than the rags to riches story. His entry was exceptional and the echo national. If debuting with 28 seats was his ascent to political summit of Delhi then securing a massive 67 seats in 2015 is when he conquered that summit.

The path between his ascent and his conquest was not smooth. It was a steep slope where he came down rolling. He resigned after remaining in power for 49 days to fulfil his bigger aspiration. Inspired by his own greatness, he went to Varanasi to fight LS election against Modi only to come back humiliated. His party lost deposit in as many as 400 seats across India.

People who clamoured in favour of AAP for its idealism are now seeing naked truth of its realism. Even intellectuals who claim to be politically neutral (politically neutral means people who are aligned to none but resigned to hate Modi) have also become disillusioned with Arvind Kejriwal- who was once seen as last resort to take on Modi.

Kejriwal may have consolidated the power within his party by purging ‘theoretical intellectuals’ like Bhusans and Yogendra Yadav but the political stage that he is now in is pregnant with hypocrisies.

His fraudulent manner of attacking everyone under the protection of sanctimonious virtue is exposed with luminous finality by the deeds of his own MLAs. Within 5 months of being in power, his 2 MLAs including one minister, are in jail while many others are facing serious charges including molestation, cheating, assaulting and forgery. He has soiled his immaculate self under the paragon of Gandhism - always speaks truth and only truth until and unless it's about his own party-men. He wears the cloak of honesty to purchase sycophancy. Till eleventh hour of Jiten Singh Tomar's (law minister) arrest he preached righteousness and vociferously defended him but when the truth was out he pretended ignorance.

All this long his modus operandi has been - spread the plague of cynicism, build hysteria by creating pandemoniac situation and then portray himself to be the panacea. His cinematographic talent facilitate not only pretending but also preying. He preys on ignorance, on gullible- be it on splurging on populist measures or playing communal politics by taking out candle march for Gaza (Yes, the soldiers of AAP who proudly carry epaulettes of ignorance on their shoulders took out a candle march for Gaza). He was himself seen pandering for Muslim votes (horse trading) in a sting video. Jarnail Singh, MLA from Tilak Nagar blatantly supported Khalistan movement while Amanatullah Khan, MLA from Okhla put sympathetic posters of Batla House terrorists to garner votes during the assembly election (an art learned from Congress). Interestingly, in 2014 Kejriwal tweeted for the arrest of Amanatullah Khan but then gave AAP ticket to him in 2015. Isn't the art of political survival strange?

The street theatre in which he indulged and resigned for in his first term i.e Jan Lokpal Bill is now nowhere in his list. A party which claims to be austere passed a budget of ₹520 crore to mold a new image of its leader. Below are his a year old tweets:

"Which party paid how much money and to which media house for ads?"

"Will Times Now disclose the amount of advertising money it has received from Modi?"

One needs serious guilt free personality to blackmail others through virtue while trading one's own. Moreover, Kejriwal has always managed to plant the weight of his failures upon others with cowardly glib. If Capitalism and Imperialism are Marxists obsession then Modi and Delhi Police are AAP's compulsion. It follows the below algorithm:

Policy Paralysis: Blame Modi Law & Order: Blame Delhi Police Local Issues: Blame MCD For everything else there is Lt Gov Najeeb Jung.

The evil is always on the other side. Arvind Kejriwal may be husband to his wife but is a wife to Caesar- above reproach.

How to Keep Gynecologists away

Chetan Bhagat, befriended and newly adopted to anti-Modi brigade, calls Modi supporters 'sexually frustrated' and asks them to 'learn English'. Oh the irons of Chattisgarh have started rusting after this irony.

Once, Modi was his best object of praise but now a reason to his frustration.

The conspicuous reason being not getting any favours for his sycophantic paeans (showered during LS election) from Modi Govt. This single thought battering in his brain is eloquently reflected in his rancorous article. His resentment is the result of an infantile mind who still thinks sycophancy will be rewarded.

Having resigned himself to the knowledge that he won't be getting any entitlement, he has started with jabbing darts against Modi supporters. He would surely not stop at this; it's a matter of time when he starts writing imaginary notions against the Govt. An apple a day keeps doctors away. Corollary, not reading Bhagat's books (whose unique selling point is sex) may keep Gynecologists away.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Laloo, Nitish and Bihar

In politics, taking a U-turn is shrewdness but making an O-turn is sheer art. Nitish Kumar has mastered this political art. He is back to where he started. Laloo and Nitish ‘fought together’ against Congress during emergency, fought with each other in Bihar and now are ‘fighting together’ against BJP. The circle of Friend-Foe-Friend is complete. Before 16th May, 2014, which political pundit would have thought in their wildest imagination that pathological hatred toward one man (Modi) can bring Lalu and Nitish together? In politics, there is certainly a limited advantage of using the past as a template to predict the future.

In 2010 Bihar Assembly election, people showered Nitish Kumar with fountain of trust by giving him a historic mandate. But by aligning with Laloo, he has muddied the fountain that once saved his political career.

Until 2014 LS election, to fulfil his desire of becoming PM, he cloaked his hypocrisy with a cunning brow. He was under the illusion that being the largest partner of BJP he is indispensable to NDA and by allying with the anti-Modi faction within NDA, he will be the only acceptable face to lead the NDA and in-turn become PM. In a jibe to Modi he once said, “Those who dream of becoming PM will even cease to remain CM”. His words were like Cassandra- nobody believed but it became true, the only difference was he made a prediction for himself. He ceased to be CM of Bihar after the LS defeat.

Media and pseudo-secularist hailed him as a Martyr when he resigned for taking the moral responsibility of the drubbing in the 2014 LS election, but the same media and Adarsh Liberals went into hibernation mode when he aligned with a convicted Laloo.

Laloo and Nitish may be united by a Fact but are divided by a Factor.

The Fact is – Stop BJP at any cost.
The Factor is – Who will become the Chief Minister?

Laloo has not aligned with him because of any altruist motive or to assuage him for the LS defeat. He knows enemy’s enemy is a pal. Once the primary enemy is defeated, the weaker pal will dance to his tune. Laloo wants to regain his lost glory- the rustic King of Bihar once he was. His every political utterance is chiselled by his astuteness – “I am drinking poison to stop BJP”- a metaphor to justify alliance with JD(U). Kumar’s delusion will be shattered the day RJD gets more seats than JD(U). Laloo has offered a mirage in the form of alliance to Nitish who is desperate to avenge his LS defeat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

O' Stranger

I haven't seen you
I haven't met you
I haven't talked to you, ever
Should we go ahead
And fall in love?
O' Stranger

Debt of Love

Sweet debt of Love -

Each night it makes me rich
Bankrupt, the next morning

Football or Fakeball?

No Nothing. No matter how much I try to get infected by Soccer flu, the FIFA WC fever doesn't catches me.The only thing I know about football team is their country's capital.

Perhaps if India had qualified it would have been interesting.
Which springs forth to this question..
Why is India inherently bad at football but is Brazil of cricket?

I can think of two reasons..
Fitness. In soccer, first you acquire physical fitness and gradually the required skills but in cricket fitness comes second to skills (physical fitness is under-rated in India). VVS Laxman and Virendra Sehwag were not the fittest of players but went on to play some historic knocks.

Secondly, the problem lies with the game itself. Football is an "unjust game" with which Indians cannot relate. There is a huge incentive for the players to cheat. A single goal can make a huge difference in soccer which is why players/referee cheats (eg:- faking an injury in box can earn you a penalty kick ). While in the Gentleman’s game, there is very limited scope of cheating. Moreover, in Football a team which dominates the game may still lose while in Cricket, a team which dominates the game is always rewarded.

Below The Belt

Yes, there is a conspiracy against me by all the airlines. Yes, this has happened with me 90% of the time whenever I have traveled by any airline.

My baggage always arrives at the last in the airport conveyor belt, when I have had almost given up hope and had mentally prepared myself to combat with the airline staffs. Moreover, the frustration turns into anger when you see everyone leaving with his/her baggage and you are standing alone, as dumb as a doorpost.

This had happened with me at the Shanghai airport also. I was about to cry (you can't think of combating with the Chinese guys, they are really tough nuts to crack hence the emotional bearing) until I saw my baggage ejecting from the belt outlet.

The Dosa Conundrum

My zodiac sign has bestowed me with a firm decision making ability. The only time I vacillate is while having a Masala Dosa - whether to start from the irresistible crispy end and approach the masala later or start from the middle and proceed to both ends. My observation with both the approach:-

When I start from the crispy end, I am 'unable' to finish all the masala. While in the second approach (starting from the middle), I fail to ensure that the masala lasts for the whole dosa.

These were the thought attacks which hit my mind while having a masala dosa yesterday. Have you ever faced this kind of gastronomical dilemma?

On a different note, I feel Idli and Dosa must have played a great role in nation's integration. Dosa is a versatile dish. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari or from Gujarat to Mizoram, you will find people having them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.