Tuesday, June 28, 2016


"If you've never failed, you've never lived." Though a simple yet quite an amazing quote. I really love the thought behind it because of its very intense and profound meaning. So when I heard it, I had to use it for my next blog. Let me start by saying that Failure is a boon...Failure is good to bolster you up for the future. Success without failure is doomed as it breeds too much of arrogance and overconfidence. I may have never failed during my student life but I must admit that I have failed innumerable times in my professional and personal life to thereafter emerge a better being. The dictionary will continue to describe failure as a negative word but in practical life, ''Failure is the basic foundation on which the edifice of success is built''.

Everybody wants to be successful and famous. However I bet, not at the cost of several failures. But why ? Does the risk of failure scare you ? And as such you've not been able to achieve what you had set out in life to achieve. Why at all are we scared of failure if we have given our best shot ? When we look at successful and famous people (here I measure success and fame not merely in pecuniary terms but also through an individual's extensive acceptability in his respective professional field by the public at large and his widely acclaimed and accomplished social responsibilities), we often compare ourselves with them. What is so special about great men which makes them more successful than others ? What
"special" do they have which many of us lack ? Please don't forget that they too are human like us and don't come from an alien planet. We only see their success and fame with a tendency of either completely ignoring or being oblivious of the failures and turmoils they had to encounter on their road to success.

Just recently, I saw an excellent motivation video (which inspired this post) about some very famous and great people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison,The Beatles,Walt Disney,Michael Jordan et al and the failures/rejections they had to face in life before they became what they became.I would definitely like to share the link to this amazing must watch video

I hope this short video will inspire us and the posterity to emulate the 'positive approach' of all the successful and famous people sampled therein who were big failures more than once in their lives.

There is only one message underlying the video...never ever get disheartened and demoralized with your failures....never succumb to them, be resolute in spirit and truth. Our trying times need not drag us down if we see them as doorways to new beginnings. These failures are just the stepping stone to success and only test our resolve to reach the summit. The refusal to succumb to their failures...rejections and their belief in themselves is the only common and special thread connecting all great men. "So Rise and Shine and never stop believing in yourself." That should be our sole motto. Even an infant taking his first baby steps, falls...rises...falls again...rises again and barely manages to walk, but never stops trying. If those famous men could achieve what they achieved in life despite their shortcomings and numerous failures, then why can't we. We may never become as famous and successful as them but our strong resolve would instil so much positive energy inside us so as to continue aiming at the best. I'm sure we'll reach there. However, the upsetting factor is that we never try to rise after a single or couple of failures and take it all to heart. Instead we should become more resolute after each successive failure and remain hungry for success. I'm sure you must have heard the old cliché : "Even God helps those who help themselves". We just need to implement it on a consistent basis.

For the uninitiated, the great 'Abraham Lincoln' faced innumerable failures in his life. He failed in business at 22, lost his job and was rejected for Law school at 23, became bankrupt at 24, had a nervous breakdown at 27, only one out of his four sons survived adulthood and he lost eight elections before finally becoming the President of USA. Even the great 'Mahatma Gandhi' was once thrown out of a first class train compartment in South Africa due to his colour and everybody knows what happened after that. And the great superstar actor 'Amitabh Bachchan' was rejected by the All India Radio for his famous baritone. So let us follow in the footsteps of these great men and keep striving to ameliorate with each failure....each rejection. Failures will definitely make us cherish the taste of success. "The more bitter the failure, the more sweeter will be the success." Therefore, I truly endorse the message from the above mentioned video : "If you've never failed, you've never lived." We will never truly value success until and unless we've been there after some memorable failures. The memory of those failures will always keep us grounded. Then, I bet success will never go to our heads. So when we fail...never mind...let us have the courage to rise with pride and a prayer in our heart...live again...and take a positive step towards success afresh....

Sunday, April 3, 2016


The title and the contents of this blog entry are inspired by a recent funny video posted by Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman) on YouTube but on a serious note I seem to quite agree with her. Though, I am no luddite and a true lover of technology but lately tech seems to be having dangerous and alarming effects on all of us. Let me delve and elaborate into some of the reasons causing stupidity in all of us and turning us into dolts.

1. Numbers: Yes, we all have become so bad and dumb with numbers be it remembering any telephone number (even our instant family's or best friends nos. for that matter as all are stored on the phone so why remember), important birthdays/anniversaries (FB will send us a notification so don't need to) or performing simple daily calculations involving addition and multiplication. We have truly become lazy in exerting our brains to memorise the important daily stuff and overdependence on mobile phones, computers and calculators seems to be the main culprit. Also the reason why kids detest math these days. If we do not have our phone/tablet on us we just tend to loose the plot.

2. Directions:  Over reliance on GPS (read Google Maps) has made us so weak with directions that we cannot reach a destination even two blocks away without GPS. We get lost easily and rather purposely as we seem to have online help in hand at all times. And if by any chance we donot have access to GPS then we are totally directionless and are bound to reach the dead end. In the video she humorously mentions that she always and easily gets lost inside a Hotel she is staying in. A day is not far when we might get lost inside our own homes:)

3. Brain Dead & Memory: We have stopped using our brains completely so much so that for every little bit of information we just "Google it" maybe countless times during the day. As an after effect our long term memory is getting poor since we have actually stopped remembering what we read during our school and college days as Google help is always at hand. Ours is a population that has grown up multitasking using technology, often compounded by lack of sleep, all of which results in high levels of forgetfulness. We have outsourced our memory to the Internet to remember things for us.

4. Spellings:  Too much dependence on auto correct/spellcheck has ruined our basic spellings. Instant messaging services like iMessage, What's App, Messenger, Hike etc. have also taken a toll on our spellings and basic grammar where brevity seems to be in fashion. Result: The current generation doesn't have any problem with incorrect spellings.

5. Reading Habits & Social Media:  Also the current generation seems to have very poor reading habits as technology and social media has reduced their attention span. When their crop has become so used to reading fewer characters a'la Twitter (where the character limit is only 140), What's App and even Facebook where stories, thoughts etc. are expressed in as many fewer words as possible, then who is going to read a good book or novel running into several hundreds of pages. People are becoming diametrically opposite in real life to the inspiring messages they post on social media. Just carrying a false facade. Blindly forwarding posts to wrong groups and brainlessly copying/pasting stuff on What's App resulting in repetitive boring posts proves that we are turning into morons. Nope, reading on Kindle or the iPad has hardly caught on in India atleast. And who reads newspapers these days, they are just passé. Result: Stupid and faulty English with a defeated and crabbed mindset.

6. Outdoor Activities: We all by now know that the addiction to video/mobile games has taken a toll on the physical as well mental health of our younger generation. They no more want to exert themselves physically as our kids are more comfortable in the living rooms sitting on the couch and shooting endless Zombies (with endless rounds of pizza and Coke) than playing a physical sport outside in the park. They are perfect in racing cars on the screen than in reality on the road. Result: Indolence, obesity and orthopaedic problems. 

7. Sleep & Distraction : Tech and Social media have really screwed up with our sleep. Studies have shown that the blue-enriched light, which is emitted by gadgets like smartphones, tablets and laptops, can suppress the body’s release of melatonin at night. Melatonin is a key hormone that helps regulate your internal clock, telling your body when it is nighttime and when to feel sleepy. If you’re not logging atleast seven hours of sleep each night, you might suffer from increasingly bad moods, decreased focus at work and problems with memory, not to mention a loss of actual brain tissue. Technology makes it much easier to get distracted, whether that’s stepping away from an important project to check your smartphone or flipping between multiple browser tabs without really focusing on any one. It has been proven that juggling between multiple tasks at once doesn’t actually work — in fact, you just wind up performing all your duties even worse.

8. The Future: They say technological advancements are always good for mankind in general but the advent of technology in certain areas could be harmful for us. First and foremost is driverless cars. Technology has already afforded us automatic transmission and no doubt it's a boon. However, driverless cars though could be a blessing for the physically challenged but what about the rest of us. If the comfort of a chauffeur was not already hampering our overall mental alertness perhaps an automatic car with no driver would render the poor chauffeur jobless and also lead us to more laziness and lesser alertness. Result: Brain and Body dead. Second could be VR (read Virtual Reality) headsets through which the upper portion of our bodies (read above our necks) would be virtually able to travel to anywhere in the world but our lower bodies would remain static in our living rooms. Since this tech is still in its fancy, so will have to wait for its stupid after effects...maybe to be touched upon some other time.
At the moment I don't seem to have much answers on how these tech effects can be reversed so that we stop turning into dolts and dumbwitted. If you do, then please write back to me or comment below.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


2015 has surely lived up to the title of my blog till now. So I dedicate this write-up to my Springdalian school friends of the 1984 batch with many of whom I reconnected after more than thirty years in February, 2015. And I cannot believe that I have become so young all over again :p. I must say that school friends are the only beings on this planet with whom you can mingle in a matter of minutes even after a very long time and communication gap without any inhibitions. People change over time but certain characteristics and idiosyncrasies never do atleast in the case of school buddies. It feels as if you never parted ways in the first instance. In a moment, the school days just flashback before your eyes. You get a feeling of déjà vu and its just so magical and ethereal. I am reliving my school days all over again and having the time of my life. I don't want this feeling to sink in just yet. It has brought in a different kind of enthusiastic energy within me and I am sure in my friends too.

The stepping stone for this reunion is a Whats App (WA) group created by a couple of friends from my 1984 batch in late September, 2014. I just wish that one of our dear friends who also happens to be the main initiator of bringing all of us together rejoins our WA group. Through this blog, I just plead to his wife (if she happens to read this) to allow him to remain in the bad company of his school friends. I assure her that we will not take much of his valuable time and not spoil him anymore..haha (pun intended). Anyways continuing further, I became a little active on this WA group only after the actual reunion happened in Feb'15. I just could not get going without connecting the dots and the missing years with my school buddies. To me some sort of real connection is any day more valuable than a mere virtual one. And now the bonhomie is to be seen to be believed. I would say that the recent reunion of 2015 was more important to me than the last big one in 2009 because thanks to WA many of our batchmates from all over the world are now in constant touch 24 hours a day, 365 days a year despite our geographical limitations. After the 2009 reunion we had again drifted apart. But not anymore as you would soon find out.

Many of us have made a conscious effort to meet frequently over the past few months since February. Personally, I have already met my school friends four times with our spouses in tow over the three D's (drink, dance and dinner) though in smaller groups. And I am already loving the bonding as we do not part without deciding the date of the next party. Mind you, I have never partied this much since school/college and that too so frequently as I am doing now. Many of our '84 batchmates got so peeved and jealous à la school kids after looking at our party pictures posted by me on Facebook to the point that I had to give a small clarification on our WA group. Only after that, the temperatures might have dipped a bit, so I believe :p.

Now a little more about our WA group. During the initial days of the group, it got so addictive that my eyes would constantly be wary of the screen on my phone desperately waiting for the next notification from the group. Many a times the total posts in a day had started touching 500-800. This left many disturbed and miffed thereby defeating the purpose of the group for which it was formed to the point that some of them exited the group and some formed smaller WA groups. With passage of time, only a handful of friends (including yours truly) are active on it on a regular basis with their contributions and posts. I though am a little sporadic with work pressures and "Her Highness" around at times..haha. But I am pretty sure that all of them who are not active are definitely reading and viewing all the posts silently. I have ample proof of that :p. The group has seen all kinds of misunderstandings, bickering and fights akin to school kids to the point that even our school and college going kids would be ashamed of us..haha. 

"A Ritual": Some of the friends start the day on the group by wishing each other Good morning followed by Good afternoon, Good evening and finally Good night with a lot of religious posts to such an extent that someone rightly named the group as the most Sanskaari (meaning God fearing/religious) and the GM/GE group..LOL. Then there is also a lot of shayari (read hindi poetry) happening on the group. On my part I try to post some naughty ones apart from my Monday Funda (an inspiring post each monday) so as to keep the group young, alive and kicking. Most of the posts (quotes, jokes, pics and videos) are forwards from other groups and some can get repetitive. But alas all our friends are hitting 50 :p and hence cannot remember that their posts are often repeated and stale. On this issue, I make it a point to avoid being judgemental and never offend any of them in the group. I owe this to my upbringing and Springdalian school manners..LOL. Maybe they will get a hint now through this one:p. We even conducted a WA awards night à la Bollywood awards for the group which was real fun. Lastly, I am glad I made a list of Birthdays and Anniversaries of most friends on the group so that it becomes a close knit one by wishing each other on their special days. Till now I have received a very positive feedback about this gesture. I must admit here that I really appreciate this and would like to extend my sincere thanks to each one of my friends.

Finally, CHEERS🍻 to more hang outs and clubbing with my friends and may GOD BLESS each one of us and our families!

PS: Thanks Sapan for inspiring me to write this piece after a very long time!

Friday, January 25, 2013


After celebrating the first anniversary of my blog on 2nd April, 2010, I kind of went into hibernation for almost three years. As they say too much of a celebration is not good for one's health :). On the eve of our 64th Republic Day, looks like I have finally recovered from my post celebration hangover, mess or slumber; whatever you may call it. And now I am ready to take on the world with renewed vigour and vitality. I am positive about changing the way I have been living these past three years so that I can get different results this time around in 2013.

I do not want to be branded insane and the same should hold true for all of you. In this regard, I would like to quote a very insightful dialogue on Insanity from the Hollywood movie, Wall Street-2 : "Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. By that standard most of us are insane". So let's get over this insanity and act differently this year to get somewhat different results from life. Mind you, CHANGE is the only CONSTANT in life.

How you plan and implement your ideas in the first 90 days of the new year usually shapes up the rest of the year for you. I am not recommending any new year resolutions which are most likely to be broken but only hoping that we all change the flow of life in 2013 a little bit. So have you already got down to jotting the things you are going to do differently this year? I have and here they are:- 1. I for one have pledged not to procrastinate anymore this year, so I am up and about writing my blog again after close to three years. 2. Secondly, I need to RUN more as I have been running intermittently since the new year started with biting cold. 3. Thirdly, I need to give a total break to my online shopping as it had become very addictive this past year. I think I will be better off just visiting some malls and ogling at the hip crowd for a change:). 4. Fourthly, I need to feed and support the deprived poor and underprivileged as I totally forgot them in 2012. 5. Last but not the least, we all need to respect and appreciate our women more and make them feel safe at any cost.

One advice to today's youth to bring a difference to their lives: Stop dreaming about the elevator to success as there is none; better take the stairs. So let us all take a deep breath and then try to face our innermost demons, spread our wings and surely we will soar high in the sky but in a DIFFERENT way this year. And I bet the results will be much satisfactory than last year.

Friday, April 2, 2010


My Blog turns 'One' this month and I am extremely happy and ecstatic about it as I think I have done something meaningful in my life like Julie Powell in the Oscar nominated flick "Julie & Julia". So I would like to commemorate this blog to "Happiness" per se. Are you happy ?...Can you measure your happiness ?...What is the yardstick ?...I too am perplexed. According to a popular credit card company, there are some things money can't buy. The Beatles would put love on that list. Many people would add intelligence or talent. But surely happiness could be had for a cool one or two million dollars...What Say? After all, what person doesn't feel a surge of positive emotions upon finding a thousand rupee note on the sidewalk or at the thought of winning the lottery? If only you had a bit of extra cash to throw around, you could quit your job, buy an island in the Caribbean and relax on the beach for the rest of your life.

THE RESEARCH : Many psychologists and economists who have studied the relationship between money and happiness paint a different picture. According to them, you'd likely grow tired of your cabana in a matter of years. You see, people have an astonishing ability to adapt to all sorts of situations. It means you'd quickly grow accustomed to a life of affluence. A shiny red Ferrari and a new penthouse would be great for a while, but after a few days or weeks, their newness would wear off, and you'd go in search of the next best thing. Even surveys of lottery winners indicate that their initial joy at hitting the jackpot wears off in just a few months. To most including my younger brother, happiness can be bought with money. According to him, if you are wealthy enough, then you are happy...being affluent is the cure for all ills which befall upon us. By his yardstick, you can even buy happiness with the ample wealth you have created. If such was the case, then all wealthy people would never die of terminal illness, no wealthy couple would ever get divorced or be childless and so on...certain things in life will always remain in the hands of nature and the Almighty. I fail to agree with his opinion and many others who have this materialistic attitude towards happiness. In my opinion and even according to the researchers as explained above, Happiness is a state of mind and can be attained even without superfluous wealth. If you can tune your mind to get happiness out of the simple & little things in life, then I'm sure you will no longer long for material happiness...even if such a concept exists then most of the times it is momentary. To me, material happiness is akin to mere satisfaction of your long standing desires and wants. Me and my brother always have these never-ending debates on the dinner table about wealth and its effect on happiness if any, but alas neither of us emerges a winner. However, I am happy to learn that I am a winner to an extent within my mental faculties as to what constitutes happiness.

The one place that money and happiness are significantly linked is when a person is unable to afford his basic needs. There is an appreciable difference in levels of happiness between those below the poverty level and those above it. Homeless people in Calcutta, for instance, score a mere 2.9 on a 7-point scale of happiness, while multimillionaires in the United States rank themselves a cheery 5.8. Once people pass that poverty threshold, though, the money boost tapers off; Inuits in Greenland and Masai ranchers living in Kenyan dung huts are just as happy as the high-society Americans [Source: Begley]. So while the Warren Buffetts of the world are indeed more content than beggars on the street, they're not a whole lot happier than people who herd cattle for a living.Such data may leave all you lottery-playing hopefuls out there feeling rather dejected. But don't lose heart just yet...there are more effective paths to happiness than just hitting the jackpot. On a similar note, people also tend to report higher levels of satisfaction after spending money on experiences rather than things. For instance, purchasing tickets to a movie with a group of friends is likely to make you feel much better than impulsively buying a T-shirt at the mall. While the positive feelings associated with the movie outing can be relived again and again, the T-shirt's novelty will probably wear off after a couple of washes.

Basically, what all of this data about money and happiness tells us is that it's called cold hard cash for a reason. You can buy all of the flashy cars, Armani suits and diamond rings you want, but at the end of the day, you're going to be the same person...just with more stuff. Without the things that research tells us are the real sources of happiness...social connections, challenging work, success, good health...you're not going to get very far in your new set of wheels. So money doesn't buy happiness after all...but success does...as US president Franklin Roosevelt once said, "happiness doesn't lie in the mere possession of money but lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort"...working hard and thereafter having succeeded in any field whatsoever it may be. If you like what you are doing for a living then you will be cheerful and happy than the person who detests his work...money is just a by-product of that happiness.

THE 'SECRET' DEBATE : I hope many of you must have read or seen Rhonda Byrne's top selling "The Secret" wherein the basic tenet is that an individual's focused positive thinking and the "Law of Attraction" can result in life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, happiness and more. The book gained a high profile in the United States after being featured in two episodes of the Oprah Winfrey show. Other celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Larry King also reviewed and/or covered the book, and in each case expressed their belief in the system or skepticism of its claims. But the book has also reached a high level of notoriety and criticism from those who claim that the book misleads readers with its claims of positive thinking being able to influence a reader's life and real-world outcomes. The claims made by both the book and film have been highly controversial, and have been criticized by reviewers and readers in both traditional and web-based media. The book has also been heavily criticized by former believers and practitioners, with some going as far as claiming that "the secret" was conceived by the author and that the only people generating wealth and happiness from it are the author and the publishers. Others assert "The Secret" offers false hope to those in true need of more conventional assistance in their lives. In 2009, Ehrenreich published Bright-Sided: How the relentless promotion of Positive Thinking has undermined America as a response to "positive thinking" books, like The Secret, that teach "if I just change my thoughts, I could have it all". She worried this was delusional or even dangerous because it avoided dealing with the real sources behind problems. It encouraged "victim-blaming, political complacency, and a culture-wide flight from realism" by suggesting failure is the result of not trying "hard enough" or believing "firmly enough in the inevitability of your success".(Source : Wikipedia) I definitely like the positive aspect of the author's rationale in the book to achieve happiness and other things in life. But if you look at its criticism, then the same also holds true and cannot be ignored. So the world itself is divided and debating as to what constitutes happiness and how to attain it.

MY THOUGHTS : In my opinion, the happiness quotient (i.e. the degree/measure of happiness) changes with each passing day i.e. with age and maturity. When we are young and in college, most of us feel that happiness lies in the things we can't afford at that age...the luxurious mansion, the Harley Davidson, the Gucci dress or the Mercedes. But as we grow old and have fulfilled all our basic necessities and to some extent the luxuries money can buy, we are still looking for more material things to bring the " supposed happiness " into our life as one greedy pig. 'That is life' as the majority would say. Money can buy us all the material luxuries in the world and the 'Alexander type' happy feeling to have conquered it all with it (I would like to call it adulterated happiness, if at all it is happiness...better still it is false pride) but most of the times it cannot buy us the ultimate pure joy and happiness.

From my experience till date, the pure delight and contentment you get in : Giving (in whatsoever manner) to the underprivileged, paying for a poor child's education, putting food in an impoverished man's mouth, doing a small gesture such as helping a visually impaired man cross the street, meeting and partying with your long-lost school buddies, watching your kid excel at any sport in school, watching your daughter topping her class in school/college, getting her first job or even excercising towards getting healthy and fit lies on a much much higher pedestal than material happiness. Let me explain it with a personal example. With God's blessings, I could finally, after years of hard work afford to buy an independent personal car (though a material thing) for my better half (better late than never..ha..ha...no she kinda deserved it) but the feeling of happiness and joy it brought me was way more than if I had bought some thing equally expensive for myself. I hope you understand what I mean. The happiness which this gesture has embedded in my mind was not at all material and I will proudly take it to my grave. 'Just Give' and your happiness doubles...quadruples...it will be everlasting, but if you buy only for yourself your happiness will be very shortlived. The former kind gives you immense joy which is way more than you might get flaunting your luxurious Mansion, Armani dress, Solitaires or a Merc. Once you have conquered this level of happiness, I'm sure you would have attained the "Ultimate Nirvana". So wouldn't it be better for all of us, if we try to look for this kind of happiness in life and not just material happiness?(reiterating, I doubt if such a kind of happiness is true happiness at all ??? rather it in fact is impure; having side-effects full of persistent insatiability...Do send in your views and comments.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hi Friends, I apologize for the long pause between my last blog and this one. Actually, I wasn't able to zero in on any inspirational topic. Nothing made news worthy enough to write about. That's when I thought of my best friend who always comes to my mercy. I have been wanting to write a piece on my best friend since many years now, but somehow have always procrastinated. But not anymore, as I have got an excellent medium to express my feelings unabashed through this blog.

We are in 2010 and I have walked this mother earth for more than forty years. Now that I have travelled the world a bit (of course courtesy my best friend), done this and that to get somewhat vulnerable but a little wordly wise too, I think I can contribute a little by dedicating this blog to my dearest friend. Don't be alarmed if I tell you that he is nobody other than 'GOD' himself. I truly consider myself as my God’s chosen one. He’s my closest friend apart from my better half. God has all along afforded me the opportunity of enjoying all the good things in life and now with improved health. I have a great family and have had my share of the best material things one aspires of sans the Beemer. But it doesn't matter anymore as I still consider myself truly blessed and a product of divine intervention. So I am now constantly making an endeavour to become more wealthy in the spiritual sense as material wealth has no summit. Even if you reach the summit, you never know when you might shamelessly fall. Though I am still struggling to strike the right balance between the spiritual and the material, I am sure I will soon strike gold !!!

I may not pray to God like many others but I am also not an athiest. My idea of worshipping God is a bit different from the herd. Wouldn't it be better if we cleanse ourselves and the world around us; instead of showing off our allegiance to God through all-night long Kirtans & bhajans (copied from bollywood tunes) blaring from loudspeakers and disturbing the peace of others ? Everybody has his own way of expressing faith. I strongly believe that there is a supreme power watching and protecting me at all times; to whom I can talk to in moments of despair and gaiety with equal ease. He has always shown me the right path and taken care of all my predicaments. Today, we see a lot of people converting to other faiths, religions and turning to fraudulent Godmen for enlightenment, a trend which I don't endorse at all. What is it that their own religion of birth has not given them ? Without deeply understanding their own religion they are needlessly flocking to other faiths as if God gave them retribution by thrusting upon them a religion by birth which is not of their choice. I know that all religions profess the same thing...to be good to others, act as harmless beings and serve the society in a selfless manner but alas the conversion still happens. So to each his own. It's a free world. Who am I to dictate my opinion on others ? I myself don't visit any temples/idols for the purpose of praying or for pressing my demands on God. I even hardly visit the small temple my parents have built in our house except when it becomes indispensable during the Ramayana or Diwali puja. Despite this, I still consider myself extremely close to my best friend than many others as I have a hearty talk with him every morning. I talk to him to show me the infallible path at all times, thank him for a wonderful life and also pray for the good health and well-being of my family and myself, if that is selfish so be it. About six years back, I learnt to stop praying to him to make me overly wealthy (as is the greed with all of us) when I had a bit of a health concern.

But in any case, I am rather fortunate that my renewed process of dealing with my best friend has not made me incur any pecuniary liabilities whatsoever. Somehow the finances are automatically arranged by him from some or the other source when I desperately need them under the most trying circumstances. My dear friend has never given me an opportunity to beg or borrow from anybody till now and hopefully never will in the future too. You bet, it’s my best friend who helps me in all the crunch situations. All the magic moments in my life have been truly due to my God’s intervention. Whenever I am in dire straits, I talk to him and he somewhat arranges for the much desired capital or rather I would say he creates an opportunity at work strictly out of the blue to earn it. He has never let me choke...God bless. It’s all his allure and magic spell. This is what makes him divine and my best friend. The least I can do for him in return is to become a virtuous and magnanimous being.

Though quite generous with me, but I am glad that he hasn't let me hit any bounty lest I may not remain his best friend. But he should not be insecure about me as I have truly reformed. I need my best friend for life, wealth or no wealth. I murmur to him every now and then for every good or bad happening to me. I am quite positive that I will never forget my best friend till my last breath, whether I die a king or a pauper. I really owe everything in this life to him. Since the last six years I have just craved for good health for myself (by trying to make a conscious effort to achieve it) and my family and also learnt to support the truly needy souls...material possessions are gradually becoming secondary though travelling to the unseen mystic destinations is still a desire. I have repeatedly conveyed to my best friend that I just don't want to sacrifice my health for material wealth. My health is the most precious to me as I aspire to live long enough to see my two daughters well educated and independently settled in life and thereafter stroll alongwith my wife towards the rising sun on the beach.

Till then I want to use my able-bodied human form (which in my opinion is my best friend's most treasured gift to me) for the most meaningful purposes so that when I bid farewell to this world, I would be so proud of him for having affored me that opportunity. OH MY GOD!!! am I a bit confused. I bet you all are...But I sincerely hope that this post inspires you all to make God your best friend and not look at him as a mere deity or a religious compulsion thrust upon you.

Friday, January 22, 2010


A LITTLE LATE IN THE DAY BUT ANYWAYS A VERY HAPPY & HEALTHY 2010 TO ALL. I must confess that I had a fantastic end to the last year gone by and a more than rollicking and rejuvenating start to the new year. But thereafter it was back in the dumps and to the harsh cruelties of life...a true roller-coaster experience. If I may say so, then nothing less than "an enthralling and dismal melange of happenings". First, the reasons for a happy ending to 2009 : Watched and immensely enjoyed the biggest bollywood hit till date (no points for guessing...3 idiots it was) with my family on Christmas day followed by mouth watering Dominos ultra cheesy burst pizzas. At last most parents (after watching the film) would probably now allow their children to follow their professional passions even if they seem idiotic at first. The days of only choosing to be either a doctor, CA or an Engineer are passe. So mark my words that the Gen-Y kids undoubtedly would be happy and successful doing their own thing which they are truly passionate about. Then on the 28th, we had a Silver jubilee reunion of several of my old school friends and batchmates at Dublin, Maurya which was extremely nostalgic and full of lovely memories. On the 29th, I flew out of the country with family in tow to Dubai for a short vacation to usher in the new year. Next, the reasons for a happy beginning to 2010 : The first five days of 2010 were the best ever to start a new year till date, what with going the whole hog on cruises, snow parks, aquariums, safaris, dune bashing, belly dancing, binging, therapeutic shopping in the swankiest of Dubai Malls and having a high after watching Burj Khalifa ( the tallest building in the world) alongwith musical fountains...all in a week's time. Who said holidays are for relaxing??? But no complaints as mine was terrific since it soothed my mind, if not the body.

Alas!! the Roller-coaster had to start its downward journey. So the cracker of a holiday had to end and we finally landed in Delhi, rather forcefuly brought back to mother earth. Back home in Gurgaon we are welcomed by the coldest January in a decade or so, massive fog and darkness all over...what with 12-15 hour daily power cuts doing the rounds of the so called millennium city. I sometimes doubt whether we are still living in the 21st Century :-(. I think Pandora, the planet (in the blockbuster movie "Avatar") was any day better. The roads and water situation is equally deplorable...the infrastructure of the city literally sucks but the real estate prices in Gurgaon continue to rise unabated as if its the new Manhattan. I don't know why more and more people (unprecedented demand could be reason for the booming real estate) are flocking to Gurgaon despite the infrastructure being in shambles. Maybe the Fortune 500 companies with their swanky offices are attracting them to take up jobs here unmindful of their residential woes. I bet, the bubble will soon burst if the State and Central Governments don't wake up from their prolonged slumber and get serious about the pathetic infrastructure soon enough.It appears that the Government thinks that Gurgaon is inhabited only by the affluent who can in any case generate their own electricity. What a shameful thought to have in the largest democracy of the world!!!

And then out of the blue I had a date with rising food prices when my dear wifey told me about shooting prices of basic vegetables like onions & potatoes and items like sugar, pulses etc. The act of squandering dough on our just concluded vacation felt neurotic and queasy for a moment. Nah! Nah! don't be stupid, it was real fun and great bonding time with the family after a long time. Sometimes, I really feel sorry for single bread-earner families having monthly income of no more than rupees 5K. Can they even afford two square meals a day in these inflationary times? It's easy for me to write about it, but I can very well comprehend their daily plight and we should all consider ourselves truly blessed. However, it doesn't mean the Government and the well-heeled should stop worrying about them. The least the Government can do is to avoid making controversial statements like the one made by our flip-flop Agriculture minister about rising milk and sugar prices and their scarcity. It was the last thing one would have expected him to utter during his press conference. Sadly, it would have surely alerted the hoarders and black marketeers.

The roller-coaster downward slide still continues with the racists(???) attacks on Indians in Australia going on unabated and well into the new year as well. The Australian government is giving pacifying statements in the media that they are not racist attacks and they are booking the culprits but in reality all these statements are not producing any favourable results. If these are not racist, then why only Indians and not other races are being attacked. Looks like some Australian gang has caught fancy of the Indians. This entire episode is quite despicable and must stop immediately if we are to continue visiting Australia not only for education but for that matter tourism as well.

Last but not the least, I feel extremely despondent and distressed for the lacs who lost their lives in the recent Haiti earthquakes, their close ones and also at the massive devastation of the city. If your heart bleeds for the people of Haiti (like me) then please show some compassion by coming forward to donate for the cause to Red Cross at their American Red Cross website. The link is https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=575848076&df_id=4437&4437.donation=form1

And by the way I am still waiting impatiently for the roller-coaster to take me up again fast...ha...ha!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I don't know how many of you would have listened to the famous 80's rock band, REO Speedwagon's smash hit album, "Hi Infidelity". It was one great album though, I can vouch for that having heard it many a time. But I'm sure Tiger Wood's infidelities are buzzing around in everybody's ears. Since the past more than two weeks, when ace golfer Tiger Woods crashed his car outside his Florida mansion while reportedly fleeing his angry wife, the print and electronic media (not only in the US but all over the world) has really hyped up the frenzy attached with the news to feed us with all kinds of stories regarding his womaniser ways and his alleged infidelity. Every day as you read the morning paper, a new girl claiming to be Tiger's mistress crops up. Sometimes I wonder, the man truly has a great appetite for women like his PGA titles. He has become a butt of so many jokes on front pages of most newspapers. Is there any method in this madness ? Till my last count it was 11 girls until I read the following astonishing news item : "Mistresses of Tiger Woods March on Washington." You also need to read the same to believe the story on the following link http://om.ly/cuZt . The news claims that in one of the largest mass demonstrations in recent history, over one million women claiming to have had sexual liaisons with Tiger Woods marched on Washington on 7th December, 2009.

I mean what a way to bring a global legend and icon (till a few days back) down...a massive fall from grace right into the abyss of ignominy. Pepsi has already cancelled his Gatorade drink endorsement and more such cancellations are bound to follow since he is no more considered a national or global icon. In US they have already stopped airing all Tiger Woods ads. Tiger Woods’s problems seem to be multiplying with the American media reporting the existence of a love child and sex tapes of the golfer. Friends of his wife, Elin Nordegren, however, have said that the golfer’s wife although devastated planned to stay with him for the sake of their children despite his philandering ways. “She is a child of divorce and that’s not something she’s likely to want to do to her children,” an unnamed friend told People magazine. But you never know what transpires in future and despite Tiger admitting to his transgressions and apologising for his sins to his family in the media, his reputation is under fire all across the world. We still don't know to what extent the allegations about the mistresses are true but his image is definitely tarnished. Just hold your horses a bit. We all are fans of the golfer because of his golf and not because of his faithfulness (or not) to his wife. Here, I am not defending Tiger or advertising the "SAVE TIGER PROJECT" :)). But everyone has a private life and everyone messes it up once in a while. It is not for the public to scrutinise private lives and more so by writing uncomfirmed news items and giving rumormongers a field day. In any case, why choose to make him a role model on parameters other than golf ? If we do, then obviously we and the media alike are to blame. I'm sure whatever sins he has admitted to his wife after cheating her would have taught him a life-long lesson to never ever transgress. Reports say that he's taking an indefinite break from golf to repair his marriage, if at all it can be repaired. I'm glad his children are too small to understand what all is happening otherwise it would really have left them in bad taste about their hero father.

But I still doubt that whether through this scandal, all men either ordinary or celebrities would have learnt a lesson or two from Tiger's battered image so as to mend their philandering ways or my so-called 'HI INFIDELITIES'. As the cliche goes : 'Men will be Men'. Even their pretty wives won't deter them from going astray every now and then. Most still fantasize of bedding every beautiful woman they come across but never admit that in reality. However, you will have to ask God whether he will save them from their wives' wrath or not. We can only speculate that Tiger's wife might forgive him to save her marriage. But, suppose we reverse the roles here and the husband gets to know of his wife's adulterous affairs. I'm sure he isn't going to easily digest that, leading to a messy divorce in nine out of ten cases. Gul Panag, the actress on a lighter note rightly tweeted recently on Twitter that, the next PGA tour( or Tennis grand slam, F1 race, Olympics, T-20 for that matter) should have a score card for 'fidelity' as well to choose the 'true' winner. Ha..Ha..Ha...

Monday, November 16, 2009


And now they are further dividing the country on the basis of language and caste politics. Where are our politicians headed to ? When will they learn ? I totally fail to comprehend. Their one-sided negative approach will leave an indelible mark on our younger generations as they are in no way setting a good example by creating unnecessary furore and disruptions all over Maharashtra and other parts of the country. Lately, they have targeted a sporting icon like Tendulkar for his forthright comments that "he is proud to be a Maharashtrian but is an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians." I totally endorse and respect Sachin's opinion. He has done the country proud on innumerable occasions and much more than these ill-speaking politicians. But Bal Thackeray says that Sachin should concentrate on cricket and not indulge in politics. Will somebody explain to him that apart from being a celebrity and a sporting legend, he is first a citizen of the largest democracy in the world. As such he has equal voting rights like anybody else and has a very important role to play in a democracy by electing the right people as our leaders and at the same time voice his opinion if they are playing dirty politics to divide the country. So now will the Shiv Sena and MNS send goons to Tendulkar ?

I am also annoyingly surprised at all the crap, Raj Thackeray and his MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) party is upto in Maharashtra. They are already guilty of so many acts of violence against the North Indians in the state. He is acting in such a way that Maharashtra is a country independent of India and he is its führer like Hitler. He is trying to become the self-appointed saviour and brand ambassador of all Marathis. Just ask him what has he done to better the infrastructure, the living conditions, the slums, the poor drainage systems in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. MNS has even threatened to stall the recruitment process at State Bank of India, saying that they should recruit only Marathis and no outsiders should be allowed to sit for the exams. I feel very appalled seeing this dictatorial approach. It looks like they have become politically desperate. I would not be surprised if a PIL is soon filed or maybe has already been filed against such political parties and politicians who only have one agenda as their prime motive....to spread hatred and disturb the peace in the country by hook or by crook.

It's high time the Supreme Court takes stringent action against such politicians who are spreading unnecessary hatred amongst fellow Indians in the country. Don't they have better things to do in public life, I ask ? Why can't they dedicate themselves to policies and opinions which unite the country. If we can't fight our internal communal forces, I doubt how are we going to tackle the forces across the border and global terrorism. If every other state and its political leaders keep dividing India on some or the other basis, then one fine day there will be no India left for us Indians. So I sincerely hope and wish that better sense prevails among our politicians, maybe through some divine intervention. I also appeal that many more Indians come forward to voice their opinions to thwart division politics. My heart bleeds till then....

Monday, October 5, 2009


Man has discovered many a place and invented many a thing since times immemorial. But has he mastered the art of rediscovering or reinventing himself too ? Have you mastered this art ? We all need to rediscover or reinvent our lives every now and then to make it more worthwhile and meaningful. And also at times to make it more spicier to get out of the rut we all fall in :). This is particularly essential for all guys and gals hitting midlife and the accompanying 'famous' crisis in many a case. Do you ever find that life has become so hectic and monotonous that if you look back at it and wonder 'just how did I manage to get through it till now ?' Well, this is the feeling I have quite often. I totally agree with what the famous authoress, Jane Austen once said : "Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings". So each of us need to get out of this humdrum existence. I feel that we need to have that child-like attitude to find joy in the simplest of pleasures life offers us on a regular basis, thereby killing the ennui felt in everyday life. So every year as I age, I try to introspect (on my birthday) on the year gone by and how to rediscover my life yet again in the year coming by. Something like a new 'Bucket List' (i.e. a list of things one must do before kicking the bucket i.e. bidding the final goodbye) every year. This keeps me involved for the rest of the year. It becomes a cycle of sorts each year. Try it and you will never regret. I'm sure it will lead you out of your vacuum to a feeling of immense ecstasy and euphoria.


1. I first learned the art of rediscovery way back in 2004, maybe a little late in life. But it's OK. I'm doing fine after that. Thanks to my US trip five years back and quite a few nasty food habits accompanied with a sedantary lifestyle bereft of any physical activity resulting in obesity and some lifestyle diseases. I was quite down and out but still never crumbled. I resolved to hit back at life with vengeance and I'm proud I could achieve my goal. I have already mentioned in one of my earliest posts why and how I became a fitness freak, so I needn't repeat that again. But what I want to stress is that I rediscovered the 'zing' I was missing in my life after I became fit. I still regret how I let my 20's and to a large extent my 30's pass by without batting an eyelid but now realise that the grass is truly greener on the other side. I am glad that my regular calisthenics have added more meaning to my life. I truly look forward to flaunt my fit self, be it an official meeting or a party.
2. In the late thirties, I finally discovered that I indeed had the stamina to run long distances.
3. I discovered what it is to be a vegetarian after being a hard core carnivore for almost four decades. It certainly is easy on the tummy if you exclude the deep fried stuff, I must admit. However, this discovery truly tested my will power and pushed the envelope for me.
4. I also discovered how pleasurable and blissful it is to cook breakfast for the entire family every Sunday. My little girl gets so excited about it that she also ends up helping papa in the kitchen and I love that bonding.
5. I was amazed to discover my fascination and love for gadgets and history of the World War II era (yes the 1930's and the 40's) with equal ease, that too coming from an accounting background. I try to take out time to read and watch more about both these love affairs.
6. I discovered the Apple Mac notebook after being loyal to Microsoft windows and resisting change for 17 years. But I must say that this discovery was truly awesome as Windows sucks compared to Mac OS. Thank God for no virus attacks anymore.
7. It was awesome to discover that there is no harm in partying 'stag' once in a while to recharge your batteries.
8. Being a movie buff, I discovered the classic hollywood movies (a list of 101 to watch before you die) which I had missed seeing in the several years gone by though many are still left to be seen out of this list. However, I'm at it.
9. I have lately discovered how gratifying and delighful it is to put a smile on the face of a physically or a financially deprived person.
10. And finally I have discovered my writing skills (still nascent though) with this blog.

All the above discoveries made me rediscover my life in a brand new fashion. I hope you too can keep discovering and reinventing your lives in an interesting manner consistently and more so once you enter your mid-life. Particularly, please care to find joy in the simplest pleasures of life. Try taking an early morning walk in the park with your loved ones amidst mother nature or go on a picnic with them and you will understand what I mean. 'Why are we just busy collecting wealth more than what is required to lead a decent life ?...Love life and live it right'. Let's try to prove the old saying about 'man being a greedy animal' wrong and take the same delight while sharing and giving as we get in receiving. I'm writing this as another year passes by and it's time to start all over again to rediscover....reinvent....and make my life more zingy by making a fresh bucket list of all those things which arouse passion in me :)). I'm sure the festive season ahead will provide us all with such wonderful opportunities. Happy Diwali to you all.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The entire nation mourned the tragic death of a very able politician and AP Chief Minister YSR Reddy and four others accompanying him in an unfortunate Chopper crash in deep forests near Hyderabad on 2nd September, 2009. May his soul and of the four others, rest in peace. Lately, whenever I hear or read about air crashes, my entire body shudders at the mere thought of it. I have become a little paranoid about flying. This is so because last year when me and my family were travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi in Malaysia, we were part of one such monstrous flight made all the more haunting and unceremonius by a f***ed up fellow passenger, that we could have easily crashed into yore. But for God's blessings, we are very lucky to be still alive and kicking.

That one hour flight was so jittery and full of turbulence that our heart's were sinking every now and then. And to make matters worse was a guy from Bangladesh who (sitting alongwith his two male friends right behind us) was uttering all crap and nonsense about the flight, as if in jest. Whenever the plane went up and down due to turbulence, he kept on blabbering that he had a nightmare only last night about this particular flight definitely crashing and he was so sure because his nightmares always turned out to be true. He literally scared the s**t out of me and other fellow passengers who were listening to his scary outbursts. Obviously, my two little girls were also scared to death. It all reminded me of the movie, "Final Destination". I was constantly praying deep inside my heart that nothing as averse as mouthed by him happens. I don't know why anybody didn't muster up the guts to shut him up there and then. Fortunately, by the grace of God we somehow landed safely in Langkawi in one piece. Thereafter, his two friends immediately apologised to me and my wife for the harm their idiotic friend's brainless comments about the flight might have caused us. It was visible that they were quite embarrased because of their friend and also probably due to the timid look on our faces during the whole duration of the flight.

After this particular experience, I always make it a point to thank God and Count my blessings. It has taught me that we should get rid of all kinds of negativity around us, believe in the Almighty, remain grateful and contended with all the good things in life he has provided us with; rather than crib for what we don't have and finally take a cue from only the positive things happening around us. I hope the Ambani brothers who are among the richest Indians soon stop their now infamous fight over money and rather count their blessings. The fact that you are leading a happy and healthy life in itself is a boon. 'So Let us just impart & imbibe only positive energy'. And please !! please !! do count your blessings before you go to bed every night as we often forget to do that in our mundane existence and remember that each day is a gift from God :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I am afraid that some of my friends are proving to be my muses for some of my blogs, once too often. But I am also glad, that at least this way I get inspired to write, with no offence to them in particular. Just recently, I received two links about a same news item from my cousin in the UK which I found very bizarre but anyway they made for some amusing reading. As such I posted the links on my Facebook wall to share with my FB friends. But the reaction of some of my friends (interestingly all in their forties, I doubt what became of the adage : 'Men get naughty at forty' ) to these links was pretty abashed, unforeseen and negative as if I had offended them and they were some kind of soothsayers. Or were they trying to scoff at me in a pretentious manner before the FB community that 'Yours Truly' was having a mortifying effect on them ? I will never know the truth but I would like to believe it that way. Their reaction was as grotesque and eccentric as the news item itself. Here, I am not trying to defend myself but just as a rejoinder to their comments, putting across the fact that I am no loser who thrives on any kind of voyeuristic pleasures.

To me, if a particular news article (be it on any subject) poses some interesting fact, then I definitely like to share it with my friends. Due to this instinctive nature and not because of any other misunderstood reason, I had shared the links on FB. However, now I truly believe that some people lead a dual life, one which appears so artificial on social networking sites and the other which is diametrically opposite in person. I'm afraid that such people are not going to win very many friends with this sadistic approach. It will be definitely better for the entire FB community, if they can make some real, debatable and meaningful comments apart from the obvious funny and light-hearted ones. You guessed it right : I am slightly miffed and confused at such meaningless eccentricities.

The links pertained to a recent news about an all nudist hotel coming up in Germany. A few commented that I was fascinated by nudists camps and frustrated like the Germans and my next trip would surely be to Germany. Ha...Ha. No doubt I was fascinated by the bizarre news item (but certainly not for the experience) and so just because of the curiousity quotient attached to such news items, I shared the link to it. The news read something like this : " In what is claimed to be probably the world's first, a nudist-only hotel is all set to open in Germany.Yes, you have heard it right. All the hotel guests will be required to leave their clothes at the reception while checking in and must be naked at all times when on the premises -'or they will be required to leave.' the Daily Telegraph reported. 'We hope to open as soon as possible. It will be the first comprehensively nudist hotel in Germany,' a staff member of the planned Hotel Rosengarten in the black forest town of Freudenstadt ("Town of Joys"), Silvia Probsthain said.The hotel rules state that all guests must put towels on chairs and lounges before using them, that there would be no sexual harassment and that all sexual activity in 'commonly accessible rooms' is strictly forbidden. Those who disobey will have to put on the ultimate badge of nudist dishonour-clothing-and leave."

The Germans are quite infamous about their views on nudity since the German FKK (free body culture) movement was founded in the 1920's and later banned by the Nazis for reasons of immorality. Still about 40000 Germans take holidays every year on nudist beaches in their own country and nearby Croatia. Last year a German travel agency organised a nudist plane trip from Eastern Germany to Usedom, a Baltic resort. Passengers had to dress before leaving the jet. And even Americans are not far behind. A recent news item in one of our national dailies reported that Nude Yoga has become a latest fad among international celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, J.Lo, Naomi Watts, Nicholas Cage and the like. The technique involves practicing conventional yoga postures without a stitch on so as to liberate oneself from all inhibitions and help in unification of the mind, body and soul. That's what the exponents claim. Hence a number of Nude yoga clubs have mushroomed across the US and are actually creating a stir. Then last Sunday, protesters, mostly women across seven cities in the US walked naked through the streets demanding equal rights for women to go topless on the beaches. They were celebrating "National Go Topless Day" to honour Women's Equality Day at Venice Beach in LA and promoting the idea that women have the same constitutional right to be bare-chested in public places as men.They say, "If men can go bare-chested on the beaches, then why can't we ?" But to me this is nothing less than perversion and gimmickry. However still, doesn't all this news make attractive reading material to normal human beings for a change ? We all look for an interesting change of thought during a hard day's work. There is nothing sinful in that :-).

I, maybe out of sheer enthusiasm wanted people to know the morbid extent to which Germans can go to fulfill their perverted pleasures in the 21st Century and certainly not what I intended doing :-). The Germans and now even the Americans are in fact planning to go back to their prehistoric roots when humans were bereft of any clothing. I may never muster the guts to come out in my birthday suit in my entire life but I get the inkling that my same friends who were surprisingly acting to have been appalled about my post referring to the nudist hotel camps could actually be the ones who would be game for such wild experiences ;-). Most others intelligently managed to refrain themselves from commenting on the links on my FB wall, lest their guilty pleasures would also become public prey. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So I would like to believe that when people dream about participating in sexual jamborees which can never be fulfilled, then they are the only ones who rant and rave about such activities in public. I am neither a dreamer of that kind nor a practitioner. Anyways, for those who never got a chance, I would still (even in the aftermath of some brickbats) call upon them to read if they wish to, from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/destinations/germany/article6016553.ece and sign off with a message for my muses : chill as the link was never meant for you, but try getting a life.

Monday, August 3, 2009


After a very hectic month at work, all I can now think of is movies and more movies. So with this blog entry, I intend taking you on a brief journey of the engrossing world of movies and my own first-hand experiences which changed my life for the better. I must first admit that I am a total Hollywood movie buff and a very passionate one at that (similar to the appetite of some of the voracious readers). So passionate, that over the last ten years I have indulged in a fine home theatre and built a gargantuan DVD collection to save on the time and hassle (parking blues for sure!) of visiting the multiplex every now and then without regular company in tow. And the best excuse to own one is that multiplexes don’t run at my beck and call, whereas my home theatre does. So now I can watch whatever and whenever any number of times depending on the flavour of the day. I have noticed many affluent and the nouveau-riche owning the best of home theatres which are biting dust on their walls (I can exchange mine with them any day) as they are never viewed but just flaunted in their circles. However, I don't belong to that class at all. The visual medium is a truly enjoyable and gratifying exercise. As when one thinks of going to the Movies, then Popcorn, Coke and the Fun factor definitely come foremost to mind. But as my experience unfolds before you, then at the end of it all you would realize that there is a lot more to movies than just a jumbo popcorn. In my case the ‘more’ was and still is 'Enlightenment and Education', both with a big ‘E’, but not necessarily similar from the fiction/non-fiction books we all read. Some movies are a great inspiration to educate oneself on all that was undone in school. However, the so called educational movies I am referring to are not the boring documentaries but astonishingly, the mainstream Hollywood English films only and not the majority of bollywood trash we are subjected to more often than not. I have been watching the Hollywood stuff since the late seventies when I was in my fifth grade, but catching the American accent then was like a cat and mouse game. Still my interest in them didn’t wane and I continued my love affair with the enigmatic original stuff, Hollywood churned out year after year whether at Chanakya or Archana cinema in Delhi or on VHS tapes at home, many a times bunking school and college. I have very vivid memories about the first English film I ever saw. It was the John Travolta blockbuster “Saturday Night Fever” sometime in 1978. What a huge rage it was during those times. And you won’t believe it, that I had asked my favourite English teacher to get me the tickets for this movie as she used to stay next to Archana Cinema in GK-1, Delhi. She not only bought the tickets but accompanied me and my cousin for the movie. So as a bonus, even popcorn and coke was on the house :-).

But true independence as a Hollywood movie buff came much later, at the start of the new millennium in 2000 when I bought my first Sony home theatre and a TV to match. It’s another matter that both these purchases broke my back at that time. However, in hindsight it was money well spent. Since then my personal Hollywood DVD collection has swelled to over hundreds of titles (before my friends and relatives have other ideas, just wanted to clarify that I don't intend being in the renting or lending business though.…LOL). Moreover, I detest when people borrow my DVD’s and books but never return. My treasured DVD collection is spread across all genres from Action thrillers to Romance to Suspense and Horror flicks to War/Historicals and many famous classics. Earlier, I was mainly a fan of the action flicks as they are abound with fast paced screenplays and the accompanying car chases, fights, stunts etc. particularly look terrific on the big TV screen. Later in 2007, when I graduated to a larger LCD, I still restricted my DVD collection to a handful of action flicks and some classics. But then one fine evening while flaunting my new LCD and home theatre at a party, I had a very profound conversation with another movie buff. He had an excellent insight into the movies, Hollywood had churned out between 1940’s to 1960’s, a period abhorred by the gen-next and a lot others (including my wife) for being black and white and out of sync with our present times. But that was the time when movies relied more on outstanding scripts rather than the SFX (visual) effects of today and mind you some of them are really awesome and amazing.

So I gradually started doing my own research on the actors, directors and films of that era mainly on Wikipedia. Thereafter, I purchased some of the Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Rock Hudson classics and several other historical and war movies of that period. I enjoyed watching them all most days of the week, on my personal seven thirty evening show in the confines of my comfy mini theatre-like bedroom carrying over the backlog of some lengthy films to the next day(s) as I had strict orders from my wife and kids to vacate the room for their nonsensical TV soaps after nine pm :-). On a more serious note, the genre which has really intrigued me the most in recent times is definitely the ‘War and Historical’ category. As the cliché goes, “Rome was not built in a day” and how true it proved in my case. But it was well worth the wait to discover and realize the true potential of the Historical/War genre. I am completely enamoured by it and still continue to fall into its abyss. What an irony, as I use to dread history and the Battle names/dates in school. But now after exploring history through the creative and visual medium of films, I surprisingly (coming from an accounting background) have started adoring history, particularly of the World War era and the Roman/Greek Empires.

Now I would finally like to introduce you to some of the films which completely floored me and turned it around for me. I thoroughly applaud the style in which the American Civil War, the Russian Revolution, Napolean’s invasion of Russia and World War II have been beautifully blended with sweeping romances in ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘Doctor Zhivago’, ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Casablanca’ respectively.The serious issue of rape and racial injustice depicted in Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was definitely some enlightenment. I also admired ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Alexander’ which gave me a lot of insight into Julius Ceaser, the Roman Empire and the Greek empire respectively. Then films like ‘Passion of the Christ’ apprised me a lot about Jesus Christ and Christianity. So did the conspiracy aspect of US President John Kennedy’s assassination and the ‘Magic Bullet Theory’(stating how a single bullet caused all the non-fatal wounds in both President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally) shown in the film ‘JFK’ is just mind-boggling to say the least. Enthralling films of this genre were also made later in the 90’s by renowned directors like Steven Spielberg and will continue to be made. My education about the Holocaust (a period during World War II when about six million European Jews were brutally killed by Hitler and the Nazis), Hitler, the Nazis and World War II stems a lot from two of Spielberg’s heart wrenching blockbusters, namely the ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ alongwith the classics, ‘Life is Beautiful’ and ‘The Great Escape’. I hardly remembered anything about the history of these menacing yet passionate times from my school days where history till today is all about learning by rote. This education though didn’t come by me in just two to three hours of watching each of these films. When a particular film floored me, then the curiosity to know more and more compelled me to research extensively on the wars, famous historical personalities, the era they belonged to and many other finer nuances. The resulting exercise led me from one page to another on Wikipedia thereby enriching my knowledge like never before. I somehow never missed reading the voluminous books from which these films were adapted. If ever it would be possible to travel back in time like Michael J.Fox in the 'Back to the Future' movies, then I would love to visit the pre and post-war eras.

As they say, God has given us only one life and it will soon be past, so we ought to take out time to indulge in activities we relish the most (which I definitely did) and will continue to take out with the added bonus of conquering new territory to augment my faculties. It has given me a high very difficult to describe in words. The phenomenal exercise of watching these great epics has endowed upon me some purposeful education and left me a more compassionate and peace loving person at the end of it all. I vehemently think our generation should thank their stars to have not encountered the ravages, miseries and atrocities of the World War era and pay homage to those who did. Although terrorism is a new kind of war to be tackled in our times and maybe best left for some other time on this blog.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Though my heart is heavy, eyes moist and full of grief but I still definitely want to write (while listening to MJ's music) and dedicate this blog to the memory of the greatest pop icon of my generation. That's the biggest tribute I can offer to MJ (Michael Jackson). I was shocked when I read my US-based brother-in-law's status update on Facebook yesterday (26.06.09) early morning, informing me about his untimely death the day before (25.06.09) when we were all sleeping in India. At first I thought it to be a prank; another one of those rumours circulating on the net. But then I immediately confirmed it on TV. However, the news has still not sunk in. I have been one of his most ardent but silent fans since I first gyrated to his 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It' songs way back in school in 1983. That was the time when the American pop culture was just starting to hit the Indian shores. And I was among the few lucky ones to have watched all his 'Thriller' videos even before they were released in India. The entire world was stunned by a black guy who was conquering the world music stage from nowhere. The kind of mass hysteria, the 'King of Pop' generated during those times was to be seen to be believed.

I have literally grown up on MJ's music after he first shone on the music scene with his hit album 'Off The Wall' in 1979. And I am proud and privileged to have lived in the same era when the legend, 'Michael Joseph Jackson' walked this Earth. Because he was a true phenomenon who took entertainment to another level, be it his addictive music, shrieks and shouts, astonishing dance steps and spectacular videos. He was one electrifying performer par excellence.I am pretty confident that the memories of his exhilarating musical brilliance and genius will definitely surpass his eccentricities and controversies which mired his short but enigmatic life. When one of my friends on FB (obviously after reading my status update on my tribute to MJ) jokingly commented or rather taunted that I should attend his funeral, I felt it was nothing less than belittling the icon and the genuine sentiments of a fan. Though now I have taken it in my stride and sincerely hope that better sense prevails after he reads this blog so as to appreciate the connection between one of the greatest entertainers, the world has seen in the last century and the emotions of a passionate fan. As Shahrukh Khan rightly said : 'He lost his youth when MJ passed away'.The same is so true for me and many of his fans in their forties.

Like my friend, millions around the world love to hate him but many more millions are also fans of his gravity defying dance moves and the legendary 'Moonwalk'. However, apart from his exceptional dances I am also a big fan of his brilliant lyrics, enthralling videos and his mesmerizing voice in some of his greatest songs like ''Heal the World, Cry, Childhood, Lost Children, Earth Song, History, Billie Jean, Human Nature, I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Thriller, The Way You Make Me Feel, You are Not Alone, Stranger in Moscow, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, Remember the Time, Speechless, Smile, We are the World''.....the list is endless. So let's try to remember MJ for the heights he achieved in his lifetime and not for his falls. At the end of it all, he was also a mortal like all of us. Even the great 'Elvis' had his share of weaknesses and drug problems. And as if, we all are God. But MJ's genius transcends not one but many lifetimes and generations. If you have been following his music, you would know what a compassionate, benevolent, philanthropic and peace-loving musician he was. I am truly overwhelmed by the fact that many Indians who are legends in their own right like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, A.R.Rehman and Javed Akhtar are also his fans. Amitabh dedicated a blog to him yesterday. And I am gratified to be following suit.

So let us all play a requiem in his honour by praying : "May his soul rest in peace and God give strength to not only his three young children and his family but to his innumerable fans all across the Globe to withstand this unbearable loss." I am 'speechless' but his music will live on forever.......and in MJ's words, 'Will heal the world and make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.' I will always remember you, Michael from the core of my heart.