Friday, December 18, 2009

The Not-So-Young Designer

Last week my NID Convocation marked an important milestone in my life’s journey.  I finally managed to earn the tag of a ‘Young Designer’ after (quite ironically) spending most of my youth struggling with incomplete courses and two monstrous documents (they almost took my life but on the positive note they gave me the conviction to start this blog, so not that bad!). The four year long phenomenal journey or rather a pilgrimage deserved an equally remarkable end (I just figured Convocation in Hindi is ‘dikshant’ which literally means an end to education surprisingly).  

The trip to Ahmedabed with my family for attending the convocation ceremony was indeed quite extraordinary. Covering 960 kms by road was an adventure (maybe not an hair-raising one but with parents it is quite substantial!) you would never regret but would not repeat it either. Driving all the way to Ahmedabad was one of my father’s fantasies that we never considered seriously until this time. With the number of days at hand and the ambitious itinerary it was the most fitting option available.  Only stops were for food and refreshments (and of course the unavoidable nature calls!).

While after starting we realized covering all the places on the plan was literally unfeasible within the given time frame. The reward for going through wearying drive (specially for my mother) was a day in Nathdwara and Udaipur. After traveling whole of the previous day, early morning ‘Shringar Darshan’ at Nathdwara were really enriching. The rest of the day went in sightseeing in Udaipur admiring the exquisite architecture of City Palace (the stained glass and marble engraving is magnificent), Sahelion-ki-vadi (the dream bathing area with gorgeous fountains), Moti Mahal, Maharana Pratap memorial and not to forget the markets like Bapu Bazar (with my sister as usual tripping on all the bling stuff and clothes available!).

By night we found ourselves in Ahmedabad. Till this point I hadn’t told any of my friends about the mode of travel, just in case to avoid their questions and concerns. Somehow, Siddhartha guessed and I had to spill the beans. Obviously, the outcome was a series of questions and disbelief! Komal and me landed straight in Chocolate Room (one of my fav dessert places in Ahmd) that was followed by a coffee at Chirag. We spent most of the time fielding these queries from Pogo, Siddhartha and Bhavin. It certainly took me lot of time to sink in that I was actually yaking with them in Ahmedabad.

The following two days went in attending or rather managing to attend all the Convocation ceremonies (except the photo shoot, which I missed but yes, thank God for Photoshop!). A big chunk of time went into running all over the place with Rimjhim in order to fix my famous convo ‘sari’. All my dreamy plans of showing my family places around Ahmedabad went straight down the drain, as there was hardly any buffer time (but no regrets again!). The most special part of the trip was that it was my mom’s first visit to my institution. I strived my best to show them my studios and rest of the campus as to affix visuals to my long narrated stories and experiences in the past. The main ceremony somehow didn’t have the overwhelming impact I presumed it to have, thanks to the all the surrounding events (being more exciting ones!). Though the overflowing pride in the eyes of the parents assembled made me wonder – Is it really an achievement, that big?

The rest of the night (after the ceremony in the eve) and following day were spent in the car traveling and sleeping in turns (of course, apart from my Dad!). Finally, we managed to reach the start point ready to drop. Indeed an extraordinary expedition to be remembered all my life!

 With the New Year knocking at the door, I look forth to embark on new roads with new milestones!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The big fat Punjabi wedding

I am sure you all have been to one of these or at least have been virtually part of their Bollywood rendition. With all my cousins queuing up to take the pious saat pheras, I am continuously reminded of a dialogue from the timeless DDLJ, which goes something like -- Purre ki Purri nasal hi Jawan ho gayi hai.

The world of Punjabi weddings is not too far away from our beloved bollywood. Both borrow a lot from each other. Just like our films we have a hero, our dashing bridegroom, (who can give a good competition to a Shah Rukh Khan) radiant in an ornate sherwani. For a good part of the movie…ah..I mean the wedding, poor thing keeps waiting for the heroine ah..again sorry… the bride to arrive. And when she does arrive, all these cameramen (or the paparazzi) take over, with the luckless relatives and guests trying their best to get one good look of her, getting sidelined.

One thing I have never been able to understand is that ‘Are these weddings only meant for the cameramen to shoot in order to have a good album or a video for the people to admire later or for the souls who worked so hard to deck up and make it to the wedding venue?’ The question is always left answered since everybody is waiting for his or her turn to get photographed with the celebrity couple. Anyhow that again makes it very close to Bollywood where shoots are done only keeping the camera in mind. The people are meant to enjoy the films later and not the real stuff, so fair enough!

Oh, so yes our lovely bride (no less than an Aishwarya Rai) has arrived! It takes like forever for her to get to the stage (yeah, we know the tiny thing is at least managing to walk in the 10 kg zardosi Lehenga of hers!) where her prince charming is eagerly waiting for her, trying his best to appear composed. As I already mentioned her entry is no less than any celebrity’s with all the camera flashes and people following.

So, Finally she’s here and now comes the time for Jaymala or the garland exchange for the firang souls. To add to the surrounding drama there is one new addition to the sequence, which left me, astounded the first time I witnessed it.  The bride and the groom are made to climb this high pedestal (not to be confused with the stage, that’s separate!) where they exchange the garlands. The prime reason for making that lighthouse sort of structure is of course a good view for people, no actually the camera. But the drama doesn’t end there. After the exchange, the disc on top (where the couple is!) of the pedestal starts rotating and does so for atleast 15- 20 min. During that period there is a continuous rose petal shower that adds to the spectacle.  That strengthens their position as the celebrity couple and merely brings us back to the point where I said they are so much Bollywood ishtyle!

Though one thing sets them apart is that the bollywood films ends in 3-hour (or max 4 hours!) but this show goes on till next morning and is a sure shot paisa vasool for the spectators (that is if you are smarter than the camera man!). From the couple’s (bride and the groom of course!) photography sessions, people photography sessions, couple’s eating session and the finale the sat-pheras session, everything is quite fascinating. I will end up writing a book if go in details of all of these ceremonies and more (doesn’t sound like a bad idea though!), which hold their individual charm and excitement.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life’s Good


LG might have copyrighted it (the title!) as its tagline but surely can’t keep a tab on its umpteen usage in our daily lives. Thanks to the globalization the professed American optimism has spread its roots deep in our lifestyles. Whether it is good or bad is very debatable but the answer to the question ‘Howz Life?’ would definitely be  ‘Good (or gud)!’(that comes with a forced smile!).

That leaves me completely flummoxed! How on earth is it possible? We all respond differently to identical tastes (Ever wondered how the same thing tastes on other’s taste buds?), smells, sounds, surfaces and sights. How can the majority retort to the above question with a common answer? Can so many people be in the congruent phase (tht’s Good!) in their life? Is it the lack of apt vocabulary, which makes it a convenient answer? Or is it a more politically correct manner of saying—‘ It’s none of your business’?

Ah, That’s a long list of questions! Let’s see how well do we know ‘Life’ to find an answer to the ‘you know what’ question.

Not so long ago, my status line on gtalk said, “ A feather stuck in a cobweb, waiting for a puff breeze” (if you try to decipher it would mean I was in an unpleasant state and was waiting to find an escape). My dear baby sister (actually thought of her as a baby before this!) Komal introduced me to the concept of ‘escapes’. She very well explained it to me how we more at ease in any situation when the ‘escape’ is within our field of vision and vice versa.

My recent experiences in life have seconded her argument.  To my displeasure I have come to understand that ‘life’ is ‘empty’ on its own. We end up living the ‘escapes’ and fool ourselves in believing ‘that’s Life’. These Escapes can range from a simple flick, a long holiday, work (oh yes, that’s an escape too!), materials, nostalgia, daydreaming and of course dozing off (Tht’s my favourite and the most accessible!) etc. Whenever you try finding a meaning to ‘Life’, you will end up perplexed because there is none. So, you strive giving meanings to it in form of  ‘escapes’.

Emptiness and escapism, that’s Life! I am not sure whether it makes it any easier to answer that particular question but it certainly clears my other doubts. ‘Good’ might be American way of keeping away from the nitty-gritty of life (which is really complex! Being a staunch optimist I do not know if optimism makes to ‘escape’ list.).

May I ask you— So, Howz life?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The missing spark!!

Here is the first post on my blog, which isn’t a product of my gray matter. I guess it’s the recession taking a toll on my creativity too. 

This piece by (I guess u know her!) Ayn Rand, provides the much-needed motivation whenever I feel dispirited.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in the lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be Won. It exists it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

Another one to add to the flavour, a bit over the top but relevant nonetheless. This one’s by Kirsti A Dyer (not so sure who she is but what she says makes lot of sense!). Here it is—

Like the mighty phoenix,

Once again I rise from

The flames set to destroy

me and take flight.

I am stronger




Friday, August 7, 2009

The Illusion and the Real


The previous post made me delve deeper into my search of the meaning of the word ‘Love’. It made me question its existence and our perception of it. No, don’t give me those prying looks; I am not ‘in love’ (even if a series of posts on 'it' might suggest otherwise). For understanding an emotion you have to be out of it. Like how you have to be calm yourself to understand what anger is! I know it’s such a cliché and overdone subject (love, what else?) but still we can’t get enough of it (and we don’t grow sick of it either!).

Maybe I am tad late in my realization but it recently occurred to me—How we end up loving the ‘illusion’ of people instead of the ‘real’ people. Everything seems sunny, till your rose coloured glasses are on. Once, you start seeing outside them, things start to get stormy. Our visual or rather mental image of our ‘object of affection’ is way different from the real-life them. When reality strikes you feel deceived (not by them but by your own sense of judgment).

In one of my recent chats with my friend Sreejith, where I was griping about the fact that I don’t understand this thing called love. Not much to my surprise he answered saying— “Mankind is made of love, also in its distorted forms. You can’t live life without loving something or the other”. Agreed that we end up loving somebody or the other at every point in our life. But there are these times when you don’t feel so affectionate and hence feel ‘unloved’ in return and it works vice versa too.  

For once I would like to concur with how Meg Ryan (as Kate) describes ‘Love’ in the movie Kate and Leopold—“ You can’t live a fairy tale…. The whole love thing is just a grown up version of Santa Claus, a myth that we confect since childhood.” As I perceive it she refers to the ‘romantic’ love here. For ours is the generation raised on a good dosage of fairy tales since childhood. We grow up harboring this notion of ‘love’ and related stuff. That pretty much explains the culmination of many so-called ‘love-marriages’ in divorces.

How much ever we fight it or desire it, love is here to stay as it has always done. The genre may differ. It can vary from ‘selfless’, ‘motherly’, ‘parental’, ‘human’, ‘puppy’, ‘romantic’, ‘erotic’ and (not to forget) ‘unrequited’ etc etc. That’s precisely why more often than not (with some exception to times like the ‘present’!) I find myself humming – “ I can feel it in my fingers, I can feel it in my toes. Love is all around me….”.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Good Ol’ Unrequited Love

May those who love us, love us and for those who don’t, may God turn their hearts! If he doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles, so we will know why they are limping.” If this bartender’s dialogue from (my newfound favourite) the movie ‘Keeping the Faith’, was to hold true we will find more than half of us limping, giving brisk business to our dear orthopedic docs around the planet.

The unrequited love has been a favourite with writers and filmmakers for centuries. Whether it is the hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza in Marquez’s ‘Love in the Times of Cholera’ or our very own Devdas (or Dev D now), they have all experienced it’s bitter agony. Florentino never lost hope and finally got love of his life in his end years (giving some hope to the hopeless souls). Devdas lacked courage and tried to drown his suffering in the endless supply of alcohol.

The famous comic strip, Peanut’s character Charlie Brown suffers from unrequited love for the little Red-Haired girl, as Peppermint Petty does for him. Now, Betty Cooper from Archies has also joined the loser gang. Archie Andrews has finally proposed to Veronica Lodge after 68 years of fooling around, adding weight to the popular notion of nice girl/guy loosing the game. Even if he realizes his faux pas later, poor Betty is already down in the dumps.

Bollywood Betties are no less popular. Be it Karisma in ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ or Kajol in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. We had all done our share of sympathizing with these luck-less souls. Even while being aware of the fact that it’s all fiction, we end up praying for them in our hearts. Few end up being ‘just good friends’ (like Karisma aka Nisha) helping the guy/girl get his soul mate. Others (like Kajol aka Anjali) get their share of a ‘happily ever after’, even if it comes lil late in life.

There is no end to Betties and Devdases, not only in ‘reel’ life but also in ‘real’ life. Most of us have been in their shoes at least once in our lives. Whether it’s the love in the times of cholera or love in the times of swine flu, the rules of this game haven’t changed much with time (excuse the masks please!).

May God superglue all those broken hearts out there. Amen!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Can I help u?

The person manning the reception desk or any other salesman at a shop repeats this question a thousand times (or may be more) in their lifetime. I wonder how many times they actually come to our rescue.

Our everyday lives are filled with so many questions and crucial decision-making. Since, childhood diverse thoughts cross our minds giving way to ceaseless row of queries. Most of these are left unanswered. Others, which are supposedly answered, have mere assumptions and justifications for answers. These are governed by our biases.

To do or not to do, making the right decision in tangled situations is exhausting. We find ourselves stuck in such situations at times, where one decision can alter your complete life. There’s not much others can do for your rescue, other than giving suitable advice.

Had God provided us with ‘How Can I help u?’ service life would be much simpler (too bad if u r an atheist). Our questions would be answered (I mean the ‘real answers’) in a jiffy. You would always end up choosing the best (decision) with God’s thumbs up sign flashing.

You can have a counter argument by saying he is providing us with signs all the time. But what’s the point when most of us cant read them or else interpret them wrongly (making it all the more worse). It makes more sense to have direct answers than signs that confuse us.

I am sure we will all be at much more peace with ourselves with our doubts and queries resolved. How about signing a petition to God requesting such a service?