We have come a long way, we have a long way to go. Every country goes through turbulence, so have we. Every country has its moments, we have had our own. Every country has a vision, we have ours. No country is perfect, the flaws exude beauty of renaissance and evolution. We did, we do, we will. 

Jai Hind!

For a very long time, I never realised the town had a different name. For me, it never mattered. It was her place of residence and that is all we knew during our growing up days. For us, it was enough. In fact, me and my sister never cared to know her name as well, for a very long time. Again, it doesn’t matter as names and relationships don’t always go hand in hand. Not for me, not for my sister either. She was our dear Granny, my mother’s mother and there lies the inherent respect that we derived and which deemed to exist forever.

We visited her and grandfather during our summer vacations, once in a couple of years. We lived far away but the connect was somewhere, ethereal to say the least. My grandfather was a reputed personality in the adjoining areas surrounding the town and widely respected. I and my sister used to be in awe of the palatial house they lived in and where my mother was born and raised. I am still in awe of that place, I don’t think we can afford to build a house like that in the city, even in today’s economical surge of possessions. The other day, I told my wife that the kitchen in the house used to be the size of our master bedroom, so it’s now easier for you to understand why we were so awe struck. She was the queen of the house and we all ran around like scattered pedestals from a garden of blooming flowers.

The house was perhaps the starting point for the current generation in our family that has grown up and is established in different parts of the world. Our cousins lived in different places and our visit was similar to a reunion – catch up, play pranks, have fun, irritate and disturb my grandfather’s afternoon siesta, and get the flak for it as well. But, nothing changed as our granny used to be at the back of us, supporting our trivial acts of childhood. All that and more, today belongs to the world of folklore.

I will never quote as being very close to her. Distance is one factor, second we did not belong to the classic generation where a spate of people lived under the same roof – grandparents, parents, cousins, relatives. But, the little moments spent with her during our early years will we etched as golden moments in our lives.

As we grow older, she grew old as well. Ironically, the sad part in the happiness of we growing up is the difficult episode of watching our parents growing old. Inevitable and excruciatingly believable, painful at the same time. She went through a similar phase, we lost our grandfather few years back which obviously was a big jolt in her life. From being the queen of independent living, I saw the transition that relegated her to the confines of four walls and very few people around her. Not that love diminished, it’s just that times were changing and she was part of the usual escapade.

With a life lived long enough to watch her children and grandchildren grow up and leading a fulfilling life, were indeed the high points of her illustrious life. Most significantly, her contribution is unsurpassable as we don’t exist if she doesn’t. A unhinged legacy.

Some people don’t leave us, they just distance themselves to keep vigil and see that we are safe. A mother is irreplaceable and her loss will be felt. As for her influence in our lives, time will make the statement at an apt hour of realisation (it does already!).

mayavaram-paatti

Paatti, please rest in peace and help us to remain blessed.

There are human beings with talent and proficiency, there are ordinary individuals who come out of their inhibitions and limitations to carve a niche for themselves in the tough gritty world of glorious pursuits. And then, we have actors like Om Puri.

Rugged face, turmoil expressions and a non fancy appeal. Yet, what stood behind was one of the finest that we could ever withdraw from. At a time when we shied away from what was called as ‘Parallel Cinema’, Om Puri made his mark with some iconic acts in films like Aakrosh and Ardh Satya. The latter, was a film ahead of its time. Attacking our system embroiled in corruption, bureaucracy and nepotism, Ardh Satya had some powerful performances from its lead actors – Om Puri, Smita Patil and Sadashiv Amrapukur. in fact, Om Puri had some memorable outings with landmark directors like Govind Nihalani and Satyajit Ray. Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was a film acknowledged as one of its kind that enjoys cult status today. In fact, associated actors with JBDY look at awe when this film features in the classic bandwagon. Om Puri played a typical modern opportunist and excelled in a small but crucial role. Another Nihalani favourite is Drohkaal, which saw Om Puri playing a cop who infiltrates with his team in to the web of a dangerous terrorist organisation. Nothing glamorous but Om Puri was a class apart.

Our generation has seen very little of Om Puri, which is quite unfortunate. His characters depicted on screen swayed magic and while our character actors always tend to get overshadowed in an industry that’s ruled by Superstars, actors like Om Puri held their own despite very little going for them in terms of roles, weightage and attention. Post 90s, he was one of the very few to cross boundaries juggle between Mumbai and the west in versatile and unconventional avatars. Interestingly, films like Ghayal, Chachi 420, Hera Pheri and Gupt made us realise how we bracketed and dumped a top notch mainstream actor in to a shell of meagre opportunities and ventures.

The world of cinema will not come to a standstill albeit outpourings of condolences but the industry just became poorer with the loss of a titan like Om Puri.

I am not a political aficionado though am raised in 2 states that are considered to be the feather-bed for political potboilers. Yes, my affiliations are random and anything intriguingly watchable is my forte. But, if it’s about Jayalalithaa, then I will have the Pandora’s box open for numerous anecdotes.

Jayalalithaa was a combination of enigmatic qualities – talent, charismatic, gutsy, controversy child, courageous administrator, a power hungry leader who is obstinate, eccentric and autocratic. Yet, the love and respect that accentuated from people of Tamil Nadu clearly made a statement – she was the powerhouse behind AIADMK’s routing success amidst titanic rivalry.

The most impressive strata of Jayalalithaa’s resume was her impeccable transition from films to politics. Yes, she was a MGR protege all through but to have held her own in a man’s world amidst eyes of vengeance and ceasefire is a testimony to her character. After MGR’s death, Jayalalithaa and AIADMK were orphaned. The future looked bleak especially since the party divided between MGR’s family and Jayalalithaa. Stories of how she withered away a hostile AIADMK after MGR’s demise is a story to be read and told. The resolute and adamant could only have seen the storm off, and Jayalalithaa stood tall. She made AIADMK a force to reckon, with pleasant and unpleasant notes across acute political waters.

Jayalalithaa’s political avatar was no less animated and was plenty of drama. Tamil Nadu’s legacy of tentacle politics plus Jayalalithaa’s debonair made the cat fight even more interesting. She had her ups and downs but adjacently, her popularity soared.

A top notch actress in 60s and 70s, 28 films with the mercurial MGR and his greatest protege (personal and professional), heralded AIADMK flag after MGR’s unceremonious death, 6 terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, jailed for corruption and propaganda of wealth, her addictive and curious relationship with Sasikala Natarajan, spitting venom with DMK chieftain M Karunanidhi, undisputed political aura that eclipses a failed personal life, a lady of a single mind and self possessed persona. And, remember – her last successive victory in 2016 (first ever by AIADMK since MGR in 1984) just established her as the greatest messiah of the AIADMK clan.

My most visible moment of Jayalalithaa was her BBC interview with Karan Thapar. She battled fire with fire, provocative questions were brutally shot back, allegations were retorted with data and personal questions were dodged skillfully. “Chief Minister, it was a pleasure speaking to you today”, quipped Karan Thapar, extending himself to shake hands. “It was not a pleasure speaking to you today. Namaste”, Jayalalithaa responded.

Life moves on and so will AIADMK. There will be ruffled feathers but someone will take over the mantle albeit chaos. But the big shoes of Jayalalithaa will never be filled. And perhaps, AIADMK will miss the audacity of Amma.

 

‘Kisi baat par main kisi se khafa hoon, main zinda hoon par zindagi se khafa hoon’.

The lyrics of mundane joy, a rendition that will stir your soul, the meaning that will wrench your veins, the inadequate fear that encapsulates the primal human being, an era that remains the home to divinity in the playback universe.

Kishore Kumar – you continue to conquer, then and today. Truly, Bemisaal. #classicnotes

My nerves shook when I read this story. A life never lived, this is probably one those painful stories which was never told or heard enough. Organically alive but dead as vegetable, a life destroyed by a dastardly act of vengeance. Yet, we continue to live in urban jungle with animals lurking around.

Indeed, jungle it is.

I want this story to reach every corner, and pledge together to stop such acts of vast inhuman proportions.

Please, let’s save our women.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/aruna-shanbaug-dead-rape-mumbai-hospital-coma-euthanasia/1/438859.html