Haider is a ‘Bang Bang’

Movies are a time to celebrate. Be it happiness, grief, anger or your life, it is the perfect medium to exert your mind.

For lesser people who remained at their cities, without having the chance to go out for an escapade, two cinemas that caught their imagination. Haider and Bang Bang. Two completely different movies from the Bollywood but, oh boy, are they not entertaining within their own paradigm? Completely engrossing.

HaiderWatching Haider was easy. It was Vishal Bharadwaj, a Shakespearean play, Gulzar lyrics and history repeating itself, after successes of “Maqbool” and “Omkara.” It’s an easy job. What I liked most about the movie, it was the beautiful portrayal of humdrum Kashmir, like back alleys, at a time when going was getting tougher. Being a child that grew up in troubled Assam during 1990s, it was a deja vu for me. VB is known for making ‘beautiful boys’ to act. In ‘Omkara,’ it was Langra Tyagi as enacted brilliantly by Saif Ali Khan. And, so he became a man. In ‘Haider,’ he tried to do that Shahid Kapoor. Did it work? I think it did to a considerable level. But, yes, it was not a ‘WOW Shahid’ feeling that I got.Haider 2 It was a job well done. For the performance of others, they did what they knew best. Kay Kay, a slimy petty opportunist but God fearing uncle; Tabu, in her classical expression of torn between her love for two men in her lives and that feeling of being helpless, Irfan Khan, with a shawl of mystery around his character and a dark glass that he put to cover the ugliness of his character, were brilliantly captured at the hands of VB. The music was exceptionally brilliant. That soft touch of Pastu, when those Kashmiri musical instruments and hymns are injected here and there, help you to relish the Kashmiri delight. The drama was engrossing. The subtle layers of the movie were smartly described by VB. The scene of flirting between Haider’s mother and his uncle, just aftermath of his father’s disappearance, left Haider on the other side of the veil realise his loss. He seemed to knew all along but never removed that veil. But his father’s disappearance, his hero, gave him that excuse to pull down that veil. He did but he could not stop loving her mother. So much for VB, to give his critics to run for their money. He delivered Haider. Almost.

What I found shocking that cinema could not reach to people, who were watching it in a plush cinema hall in the national capital of Delhi? It was a really sad sight when people started clapping, some of them, at the torture of Kashmiri people by armed forces. It depicts how ignorant some people of the society are about the hardship that some of their brethren had to undergo at the behest of the defence forces. Of course, AFSPA is Chutzpah because most people does not care. Because, they have not lived inside of it, breathed under an open sky with chains on their minds. There have been incidents that a piece of cinema, Haider, has created rift between friends and split them in to groups like liberals and nationalists. Oh god! For the love of god, can you beat this? Why is it that we cannot take what the gist of the movie rather than pricking our brain about the stage? ‘Chutzpah ho gaya yeh toh!’

imagesTo beat the Chutzpah, we decided to Bang Bang our lives. I desperately wanted to get back mainstream. The ‘Bang Bang’ was a perfect escapade. I am not here to offer my critical points about Bang Bang. But its a ‘Paisa Vasool’ masala movie. We should not, or we deserve to, to criticise about ‘Bang Bang’ when we miss the message from Haider and read the address on the envelop. Bang Bang had everything. The superbly beautiful landscapes, eye candies Hrithik and Katrina, superb music and really groovy tunes, action sequences that are well executed and to top it all, we had Danny Dengzongpa. He played the age old villain, that I miss so much from Bollywood. The villain is bad. There is no question of black and white. And, I thank for making my life simple. He kills his brother and his brother avenges. Loved the plot. Just the perfect cinema to watch with your beloved on a relaxing Sunday evening. She won’t complain because she will drop her jaws at Hrithik’s sexy incarnation.images (1) Oh boy! Katrina, this is the best. Just stick around. That much will work for the guys. And yes, the songs do not bore me. They actually make me sit up. With eloquent dancing by flamboyant Hrithik and lass Katrina, I wonder if I shall ever be able to dance like him. images (2)At least, in the next life? Please. And yes, I can ignore those ad plug ins within the cinema if the director delivers what he promises. Bang Bang is a no brainer, slouch back and hooting kinda cinema. That was promised and that is why.

‘Bang Bang’ gave the audience to chat, talk, hoot, whistle, munch in popcorns, play around, romantic cuddling, emotional atyachar, and even fight for getting late on a Sunday cinema date. I just hope that they, the Bollywood, stick to this level of commercial cinema and do not torture us with Om Shanti Om or the forthcoming, Happy New Year.

Go ‘Bang Bang’, if this is what you want.

12 Years A Slave – Making people with heart bleed!

It is painful.

However old it may be, the story still pains. So, does the brilliant portrayal of the pre-civil war Americas when being ‘nigger’ can warrant you nothing better than the life of a ‘baboon’, or mostly worse than that. The question of liberty and equality, as prescribed by the nature, remains a unknown and unwanted mystery for Solomon Northup until he was kidnapped, tortured and sold as a slave. As a spirit that he was and not someone who ‘ain’t got the stomach for a fight;’ he declared “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.”

As an eloquent violin player, Solomon Northup, played by Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor for this role, lived happily with his small family as a ‘free man’ at Saragato, New York. Soon he would be kidnapped and transported to the South where he would be sold in the market. That the men and women can be traded as goods in the market is perfectly shown by director Steve McQueen. Freeman, who is the trader of slaves, parades his slaves naked in front of potential buyers, ask them to perform, show their teeth for their perfect health or even jump and run. The cinematic excellence can be measured when you shockingly walk with the potential buyers and see them bargain.  

This is a cinema that bleeds your heart. As they bled by those whiplashes befallen upon their backs, as they are made to dance at night after a tiring day at the behest of a drunk cruel, as they sing on the death of a peer, you bleed. As a benign buyer of slave, Ford bought Platt, the new name forced upon Solomon, along with a mother, Eliza, who was to be separated from her children. As she cried aloud on the separation of her children, Platt started playing his eloquent violin. It was horror. You feel the gruesome cry of mother for her estranged children and an urgent need to play down that voice by the soothing sound of Violin played so urgently by Platt. The sequence ends when Mistress Ford seemingly empathizes with Eliza, upon her arrival at the estate, and says, ‘something to eat and some rest; your children will soon enough be forgotten.’ Eliza would soon to be drag out of the estate, for she kept weeping for her estranged children, as she cried for Platt who went deaf upon hearing her crying help.

Google ImageI don’t know if torture can have this impact. The film wrenches your soul as someone would lock a person in chains and then beat him until his bat breaks and still beat him. You don’t see ‘meat and blood flow’ but your mind screams as Platt exchanges his blood stained badly mutilated shirt for a newer one. For Edwin Epps, the ruthless ‘nigger breaker’ cotton grower ‘master,’ is caught in a dreadful situation when he cannot escape from his weakness for his slave ‘Damned Queen’, Patsey. He was so envious or possessive about owning her, that she would strip her down and tied onto a tree to be ruthlessly whipped. However, he could not. He had Platt to whip her and whip her so hard that you see the sprinkle of blood spit out of her back at every whip. You feel her agony, or may be your mind resists to it, as she cries at every whip splitting her smooth back into tatters. The torn flesh of her back, the tired sound of crying, the soul wrenching pain that Platt incurs as he beat her, these are moments when the pain that you get is resisted by your soul. Closing your fist, it refuse and wants to rebel.

Google ImageThe movie is not only seen but its felt. Not many movies can do that. When you see Platt staring at the light with not a single utterance of word for almost five minutes, you feel the ignominy and sting of his helplessness. When you see Platt remains hung with his tip of foot on a slushy muddy land, you feel death every second as an ordinary day is spent around you. He lives through the day, the afternoon and the evening hanging before he is being rescued. What is staggering is the hope that a man condemned by fate still holds! Platt steals a piece of paper, creates and sharpens a pen, and discovers his own ink with blueberry. This is hope that leads him to experience deceit once but freedom at another time.

‘12 Years A Slave’ is not just a movie but an emotional journey for anyone, with their heart and soul intact, who would not know about slavery. It is not just about a person but tragic evidence of a merciless, barbaric and inhumane blot in human civilization. The metaphoric Platt is at last reunited with his family but he is old now, a grandfather with a grandson.

The movie is metaphorically encapsulated in this dialogue of Solomon on the occasion of his reunion with his estranged family that was “I apologize for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.”

From Ayurveda to an Immune India, via Chywanprash!

It was around November, 2007 when the feeling of missing an early morning flight made me sit up the entire night. While I sipped tea at regular interval so that I stay awake, then I realized that winter has set in. The nip in the air was a little more than pleasant. My fragile immune system, thanks to my unhealthy lifestyle, gave up its fight against cold too soon. The quilt that I wrapped around me was of little help as I felt the cold creep inside me. A methodical chaotic lifestyle has resulted weak defense in my body. I realized how important is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Now, like a typical managerial straightjacket that I lived my life, I started to break it down – step by step. What is the problem? What is the source? What are the readily available solutions to address this? And, how do I employ counter measures to defend & strengthen my fragile immune system? The allopathic medication was good that gave a swift impact. The culprit was confused weather of not-so-warm-yet-not-so-cold. But, will it sustain your health with all the ills of the modern lifestyle?

I was all shook up. The first of all, I started to follow old treatise of “early to bed and early to rise”. The next in the scheme of thing was to do some kind of physical exercise regularly. Trust me! It works like a wonder. It may be a struggle at the beginning but if you make a start, it will show you benefits. The Lodhi Park is such a delight to jog in the morning as I look forward to this time of the day. The collateral benefit of jogging allowed you to make friends who are dead serious about living healthy. As conversation often stirs up in those long laps of short & heavy breaths, I stirred up the classic debate: new versus old.

As a contemporary corporate south Delhi-ite, I put up a stage for the modern energy drinks and advocated heavily for allopathic medication even for cold. A candid confrontation was put up by an elderly gentleman, who argued how age old traditional Ayurvedic herbal substances, with proven medicinal benefits, can help the body to regain strength and fortify its immune system. This is when I realized the power of our culture & decided to learn more about these medicines. I always heard about the benefits of Ayurveda from my elders but wondered if they will be easily available in urban India.

With this doubt in mind, I spoke to my cousin doctor. He laughed and gave me an answer in a name that I have heard since my childhood. He said, “Your answer is Dabur Chyawanprash. It is very good as preventive ayurvedic jam that helps in boosting immunity to prevent like cold, cough etc.” Amazed that I know about this brand but never realized that it is Ayurvedic. It is indeed a simple yet effective solution for an ayurvedic product with proven track record that is easily available. I tried to browse more on internet and found that Dabur’s chyawanprash actually is the market leader with almost 70% of the market. I was amazed at how such a health enriching product is available in my nearest cornershop but I never realized. When I studied more about it in www.daburchyawanprash.com, I realized that the Dabur Chyawanprash is enriched in Vitamin C. Often termed as ‘elixir of life’ in Ayurveda, it is rich with natural Ayurvedic items like Ashwagandha, Asparagus, Bamboo manna and many other important herbs that help in healthy metabolism. Its rich anti oxidant properties help your body to brace up for day to day health challenges. Known since the time of classic Ayurvedic treatise Chakra Samhita, this semi solid paste formulation has withstood innumerable challenges for thousands of years.

Today, we work late, party even later. Our atmosphere is polluted and we live amidst greater health risks as our bodies are exposed to flu & harmful bacteria. As the modern medical science is working hard to stem the new age diseases and health challenges, I think if we can reap the benefits through products like Dabur Chyawanprash that are easily available at any market in India at a reasonable price, then we can actually look at an Immune India.

Empowered with my new found knowledge about Chyawanprash, I bought my first Dabur Chyawanprash from neighborhood corner shop. The first benefit of this wonder is its beautiful and aromatic flavor. As foodie, I always cherished food but I think this is the first time that I cherished the taste of Chywanprash, a medicinal product. The good faith, which Dabur has earned over the years, was reinforced once again when I tasted Dabur Chyawanprash.

As their dedicated website says “Dabur Chyawanprash’s magnificent brew of Ayurvedic herbs strengthens the body’s natural defence mechanism by increasing your NK cells (Natural Killer Cells) three folds. NK cells assist in fighting with virus and bacteria in your body, thus giving us increased immunity from various infections.”  And, how I am impressed! The scientific studies have confirmed Dabur Chyawanprash’s immunomodulatory and anti allergic potential. As I started to have it regularly, I felt the difference in me. With a regular life of healthy home cooked meals, regular regime of physical activity and regular intake of Dabur Chywanprash, it has not only improved my immune system manifold that was reflected in my ability to withstand the sudden weather changes and corresponding virus, flu & infection. The After all this, I became the latest convert of Dabur Chyawanprash and since then it has been an integral part of my immunity.

The positioning of the Ayurvedic medicines has been a challenge to get a foothold in the huge young & urbane population market. As we evolve as a society, it is important that we package things with contemporary ideas. The marketing strategy of Dabur Chywanprash in this regard has been very innovative. By employing contemporary popular icons right from Madhuri Dixit to Amitabh Bachchan, from Indian Cricket Captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni to Bhojpuri starlet Ravi Kishen, it has not only tapped the different tiers of markets but also made Dabur Chywanprash as a contemporary medicinal product without any side effects.  The smart contemporary packaging of an age old time tested Chywanprash is the simple yet ideal mean to reach out to Common young people and provide us an Immune India.

Ram Leela goes Ruptured Lola!

If he thought of doing a Vishal Bhardwaj, then he fell flat on his face. The latest colourful cinema from Sanjay Leela Bhansali is nothing but a pathetic display of brilliant photographic frames, loud & not necessarily good music, incessant violence without any sense, style or substance, a love story gone completely wrong and vibrant colours. The took too much from Bhansali and I think it received little from the Bhansali of Black or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. My suggestion is to save some time & money, divert your effort to watch another movie or just lay back in the arms of your loved one. Trust me, you’ll be more in love than you ever will be after this pathetic adaptation of Shakespearean classic play Romeo & Juliet.

Raam Leela

Courtesy Google

For a story to start, it has to have a start. The Ram Leela did not have one. Once upon a time, there was a holi celebration where she kissed him with colour and they fall in love. At a time, when films like Ishaqzaade by Habib Faisal, that is more or less have similar story lines, were made at a more dramatic yet pragmatic milieu, this Bhansali movie is shame on today’s film making culture from Bollywood. The biggest pull of a romantic play is the romance between the protagonists. It is flirting, the beautiful unease, the dreamy stares, the painful aloofness that made it beautiful. Sadly, these essential ingredients are given a complete overlook by Bhansali. It does not have romance but its is pitted as a romantic movie. That is the pity.

What is good about the movie is the frames! He has good eye for colour, for beautiful frames. But where Bhansali flops are editing and story telling. The romance of the movie never started for it to end. The plastic smiles, those dispassionate kisses, those distasteful acting by the Ram & Leela did their best to usurp the happiness of the viewers. Don’t be surprised if you see people leaving at the intermission not to return to their seats to watch the later part of the movie. I came back just to see how bad it can be. Is it so bad that it is good? Sadly, it isn’t.Ram Leela

The grand sets, vibrant colours, songs for each and every occasion made the lives of viewers pitiful. The viewers love songs when they arrive at the right juncture with apt timing. If you are bombarded with songs at every five minutes (it happened twice in this movie), then you will sunk inside your palms as you have no place to escape. The movie maker should note that romance is not about bootylicious heroines, topless heroes and smutty witty one liners. Even if it is for commercial reason, then it is to be weaved into a story for the viewer to enjoy it. Jumping the gun, wielding the gun and pulling the triggers at every turn of moment won’t get us an action pack. The worse was pathetic acting by leading actors (?) of the movie; Ranveer Singh (a sexy body does not imply good acting) and Deepika Padukone (some acting apart from joyful display of beautiful skin)

I wonder if Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to do what Vishal Bhardwaj has already done beautifully. They both adapted western classic plays by William Shakespeare (read Othello and Macbeth by Bhardwaj and Romeo & Juliet by Sanjay Leela Bhansali), Indianised the theme, Bollywoodised the movie & produced a product they deemed fit for commercial success. One important thing to note is that Sanjay Leela Bhansali also directed the music of the movie. However, Bharadwaj edged out Bhansali in all of the departments, hands down. The Bhansali should do movies where he can do justice rather than trying to do more than his might.

If you are looking for an one line review of the movie, then this is what I have to say: If you are planning for Ram Leela this weekend, then save some money and time. This is Classic Bollywood trash with no sense or sensibility in what is an adaptation of Romeo Juliet. Disgusting!

Overhaul Education: For a better & secure Tomorrow!

Speed is everything today. We are running a mad race today to catch something. We know that because we are told to catch that thing. But the sad part of the story is that we don’t know why we catch something particular but not something else. Metaphorically, the science has made our lives so simple that we want to complicate it now. We are hard pressed for time as we fail to secure time to do the basic things in life; like breath without fear, dream without anticipation and love with conditions. As Gandhiji said, ‘there is more to life than increasing its speed.’ Do we care to listen & understand it? Ailing South African revolutionary leader, Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The tragedy of life is that not many of us appreciate the value of education today and the very philosophy that education tries to imbibe into a person. The philosophy of reason and logic are the ulterior objectives of any education that help to quench the natural human inquisitiveness about the unknown. As we fail to understand the power that education has to bring changes in the world, do we see cracks in our social fabric that is crafted with innumerable years of human experience? I think we do.

A typical middle class family from relatively poorer eastern part of India lives a dream to catch something. The baby enters the earth with that very urge to catch something, he’s grown up in the cocoon of competition, he’s trained hard to fight to stay ahead in the competition, and finally he catches that something. But, all his life, he has known only one thing that to catch something! Once he gets his engineering or medical degree, because it is only thing to catch as rest are mere options, he turns to catch his next something, and then to next. He gets old catching some things, growing old accumulating something without really enjoying any of his prizes because he does not know how to relish them. He was never taught to.

The Indian education system remains largely the colonial heritage of past century. The legacy of joining, for lack of a proper word, the rat race and bestowing the winner with the trophy is essentially sums up our education system. It is classically based upon the carrot and stick policy. Never a sincere attempt was made to move over from this bequest but efforts were initiated & hastened by society to perpetuate it even further. For lack of a system to relinquish such obnoxious and obsolete education system, today we are facing a system of cut off in the recent Delhi University reaching 100%. The severance from the realities of society and time has made it an elite model, rather than an ideal universal model. The incapacity of the regional universities to learn new things, explore novel ideas, deliberate and imbibe them in their education process has led to their tragic decay in importance in the present education scenario. The intelligentsia of such universities forgot the very basic of education which Albert Einstein quotes as ‘the most important thing is not to stop questioning.’

Are we asking the right questions and making the right echoes in the society? The growing vacuum of brilliant minds moving away from the state should have been regarded as a state disaster. However, the way the educational bodies are encouraging and paving the way to excel in these rat races to secure an admission in the elite university, it is far from identify it as a crisis. Having lost its teeth to mismanagement, lethargy and archaic operation, then the Universities bask in glory of the past. They effortlessly forget to improve the education, relinquish colonial educational hangover and imbibe a tradition of inquisitiveness, invention and innovation in their academic lives. Sadly, this has not been forthcoming. There has been marked improvement in the infrastructure of education institutions in Assam today. The government on its part has made a remarkable thing by introducing Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) for recruitment of teachers. Many other innovative schemes like mid day meals, bio metric card system, digital classes & libraries, setting up of newer educational institutions etc are laudable and indeed a lot has been done to improve the infrastructure of the educational institutions.

But, did we miss the brief? Do we need physical assets or do we need human assets that result from a vibrant educational environment? As the Chief Minister set 2016 as the deadline to improve educational scenario, it will be interesting to know what we are trying to achieve here. Are we trying to regain the lost glory of the state language? Or, are we trying to find confidence in the student of a vernacular medium government secondary school? Does the creation of new universities in the recent past will bring about a sea change as teachers teach a subject? Or, do we recognize the increasingly diminishing importance of the state language and initiate steps to promote it, quite like the promotion of the national language? Can we bring back glory to our state level educational institutions so that students don’t need to go outside for study? Are we bold enough today to recognize that brain drain is huge issue for the future of our society? Do we appreciate the grave danger that future possesses of an intelligentsia less society if the educational exodus from the state is not checked? Can we expect our respected intelligentsia to stand up and vouch for a system that promotes inquisitiveness rather than simply ‘hoping for betterment of education?’ Are we ready to initiate a process of believing in education and its inherent philosophy to bring light in the dark?

If the government and we are talking about these questions and many others, then I think Chief Minister is thinking in the right direction. However, to bring such a metamorphosis in next three years looks impregnable, I think it is important for the polity and society to set realistic set of terms & a meaningful pursuit to achieve logical conclusion. The society is standing today at a peculiar crossing point. We are confused. We don’t know where we are, where are we travelling to and why are we travelling that way. People, who imposed faith in their land, society, culture and customs, are afraid to hold on to their ageless traditions as they are deceived politically and historically. The economic realities are pushing the society further to abandon them so that they can adapt to a certain short term arrangement that will get them economic rewards. But as human history tells us the real wealth is customs, traditions, social practices, languages and pride. Change remains the spice of life and education brings change in the society. An overhaul of education is the need of the hour and not to think of ways and means to increase marks of the students of the state so that they can get admission into the elite universities outside. Then, I hope to see cut off for subjects in our educational institutions scroll down in the ticker of at least our regional channels.

Dead Men’s City: Are we still dead to be alive?

When I chose the title “Dead Men’s City,” I was both skeptical and scarred to use it. But, in the hindsight, I think just apt and perfect for the situation. As a human being, I am ashamed of what has happened in Guwahati just a year ago, as we conveniently forgot about it. A girl was assaulted and molested by a bunch of hooligans in the heart of the city. Yes, the law took its course, thanks to endless social scrutiny through the eyes of media, at national level. And, there goes a media channel and, an array of media stories to follow, to air this gruesome act. Yes, you will agree, as like any reasonable person, that the sense of justification and reasoning of airing such a video only displays the lowest journalistic ethos like getting the prized byte from a victim who gets molested in front of the crew as they remain busy covering it.  ImageBut, we should not ignore, especially in a consumerist society, which the media, that it is a reflection of the society that we live, is driven by market forces and people find it amusing (?) to watch such barbarism on television channels. There is a sense of urgency in this particular incident. While the justice has been delivered in this case with such swiftness (in a matter of months, that seems impossible to dream), is our justice system only lends its importance to those matters of excessive public scrutiny? Yes, I can understand the motives of the politicos or the bureaucrats as their ulterior motives can be understood. Are we heralding an age where justice is delivered and not delayed? People may have their own judgment here without a lesser intelligent citizen opining on their behalf. We heard it. We know it.

ImageNow, I have a very unusual or, if I can use the word, controversial question to it. Like Ceaser, we, the society of righteousness and crusader of wrong, may claim & exhort ‘veni, vidi, vici.’ But can we really? Why is it that we woke up then? Why is it that when the incident was shown on national television that people were hitting the street to demand justice, and not before when it was repeatedly played in regional channels? Why we are not shammed to death for any other, unreported incident but widely known among people, cases of molestation? People have been questioning the ethics of the media. This is good. But are we questioning our own sense of morality and ethics? Do we question our conscience when we may have ignored such an incident happening when you were travelling late in a city bus, or a lonely road in the afternoon, or in a dark alley in the neighbourhood? Did you stop, raise a protest, took it up with the law? Can we lay hands on our souls and tell the truth to our own self. You got your answer & I got mine. That is where we can call ourselves as hypocrites, and no. I am not saying that I am not a hypocrite. I am you.Image

Thanks to media, we are seeing the exposed value system of our society. We are only shouting our voice when we were shammed in public. We have lost our face and we are facing questions from people who would haunt us for our boasting claim to fame about women dignity in Assam. However, we also knew that this is not entirely true. With those disturbing images doing rounds across the country and the world, we are running for covers, from pillar to post. We don’t know how we will continue to live in the fake blown-up-beyond-proportion ego of culture and social identity that is long dead. We are still drawing inspirations to boast about a cultured society from a bunch of sacred heroes who are increasingly getting diminished from the moral map of the present society. As we tried hard to escape from our gory, ugly face, did we try something in last twelve months to improve these scars? Like rising a voice against any injustice & taking it to its logical conclusion or helping a destitute to preserve its honour & dignity, even when there is no pressure of ‘social conformity.’ I did not. Did you? Or, you are me!

All that we love to do is to jump the bandwagon and remain loyal to the ‘way of social conformity.’ As we increasingly compromise our own identity, I wonder if we, as a society, will have another hero in near time. It’s appalling that we are starving for heroes and we shy away vehemently to ignore such a reality. We love to live in a world of myth and materialistic bling. We are hardly bothered about what goes out there as long as I am ‘safe.’ This atypical idiosyncrasy of the present society has led me to question us. Where do we stand as a society? Why did we fail as a fertile society that stopped producing heroes from whom we draw strengths to fight? As we cling on to those legends from yesteryear, there is an urgent need for newer heroes in our lives. Someone contemporary, someone who instills life, someone whom we can feel! Are we ready to find that person? Are you ready to become that person rather than being someone with a job in MNC, a trophy spouse, an iPhone, a Sedan and a flat in the Millenium City blessed with an unknown old age death with no ramification? Do I at least want to try? Do you?

Till the time, it was not aired in the national television; this incident has not insulated such a reaction. Because we love our fake identity and take magnanimous pride in it, this incident shammed us or we are shammed because that the lie that we live in is exposed in front of the world. The foundation, the mascara and the kajal of the society were washed away by this tragedy and the aging wrinkles and horrific scars of our society lay exposed. We don’t know what to do or how to go back to our old fake self. We are challenged by an array of questions. Are we bold enough to lend our ears to these pressing questions & try to look for an answer? Are we ready to have our guts back to fight for our own glory & honour? Am I?

ImageConsumerism and materialism has so much consumed our society that even our values and reputation need to be kicked hard so that it can wake up. Today, sadly, even one’s individual self respect and ethics are driven by market forces. Because, it will have negative impact on the overall reputation of the society we should now join in. All that we care about today, is a good mark-sheet so that one can get admitted to Delhi University (Let the Assam education system go to hell), get a job in an MNC (let the entrepreneurial kick die), get a trophy wife (who cares about love anymore, we need someone who can mingle with my social class), get a hatchback, midsize or sedan (because it’s not only about commuting anymore) and a home as early as possible (because I can move to a bigger house on a bigger loan on a later date).Image In our mad rat race, we forgot to think about our surrounding and ignore the catastrophic implication that it may have on our individual personal lives, our own identity (provided we have one) and an honour (if we care to own it). Am I thinking the way it should be or am I the only one? Are you thinking alike?

With passing days, we will get back to the machine that we love to log on to, and keep on doing things that were being done. We will post a “RIP” if some elderly looking gentlemen dies without recognizing the contribution that he had towards the society. This is how we remain true to the ‘Conformity Movement’ and we will come out on the street wearing black T Shirt (because we love Metallica) only when it’s not too shiny or hot to walk out, is a Sunday and more importantly our fake image is not tarnished and our dirty liens are not washed in front of the nation. Otherwise, we are doing just fine and we are happy with the shopping malls, swanky cars and bikes and five star hotels. Who talks about Assamese language, or its identity? Face of protest? Kalaguru Bishnuprasad Rabha, Ambikagiri Raichowdhury? Who are they? They are passé. We are talking about the changing the world, bringing communism by wearing black, man! How about Ernesto, oh! Sorry! Che! Gueverra? He is kind of cool to be worn. ImageBut, what the heck? We aint grabbing national headlines for any wrong news now. So, let’s just sit back, sip my beer and watch my EPL & La Liga matches! We are happy till our shallow selves are covered. Am I? Are you?

Are we living in a Dead Men’s Society? I am. Don’t know about you. Just pinch yourself and you will get your identity. I knew that I am a dead men before I pinched to realize. Did you?

For beloved Tapan Khura: A Tribute

“He not busy being born is busy dying”

Popular American songwriter Bob Dylan once sang this to inscribe the true meaning of being born throughout the life rather than being busy dying. Life for its innate nature has spectacular virtues. The catch is to be born throughout one’s life to experience the novelty that it has to offer. Many of us remain busy to pursue larger goals in life. There is nothing wrong in it but, at times, we may fail to rejoice at the brilliance of our lives, of the people around us, of the society that we live in, the small celebrations in our daily lives and the unknown. There are only a few amongst us, who are always busy being born, rather than busy dying. Not many of us know how we can strive to born innumerous times before we die. Arun Saharia, fondly known as Tapan, is one of them. Tapan Khura always lived to born again as he celebrated youth by remaining forever young at heart.Tapan Khura

His 72 years story in his heart was alive till the time he died on April 24, 2013. Always opened to newer shores, newer dreams, and blue skies, Khura knew how to breathe the fresh air, celebrate his experiences and make merry with memories as he stayed forever young. Born into a vibrant family and a progressive neighborhood in Laban, Shillong, he was a person with whom we lived their childhood, in a time that was devoid of materialistic bliss of today, and a time that was struggle at every turn of the day, and may be a time when people truly smiled.  And, he recounted how they celebrated the buying ofa  ticket to cinema by selling old newspapers, how they let their dreams fly sky high with their kites, how they run amock in the neighborhood with their sling shots, how they would celebrate the Durga Puja at the illustrious & historical Laban Naamghar, his stories from his days in St. Edmund’s College in Shillong or Regional Engineering College in Rourkella, his arguments as a senior technocrat & learned man or a man of his generation debating why new is better yet old is gold. I tried to live that innocence through his eyes, which lit up when they show me those lost frames from their childhood; through his engaging voice, that egged me to leap in joy with excitement like that small boy in him. His rich generation taught us this craft of busy being born and we shall continue to celebrate your life, your smile, your voice, and your memories.

A people’s man, Tapan Khura was always to be found among people: talking, sharing, experiencing. His humane touch was felt, deep and wide, when he left us recently after illness. The love that he invested among people, the care that he provided to people, the moments that he shared with people came back to comfort his beloved ones during this critical hour of his departure. For his immaculate ability to swiftly tell the day, date from a particular year, for his spick and span intelligence, for his beliefs in logic & reasoning, for his advocacy of shedding age old superstitions, he taught us how to celebrate life. A heavenly soul, a smiling face, a fruity voice, our tall & handsome Tapan Khura departed from the physical world.  But, yes, you have born again. You are inside us with your stories, with your arguments, with your experiences, with your beliefs; for your love for us, for your blessings for us. You are inside our hearts; nice and warm. We knew that you will born again even after your death in our thoughts, our memories enriched with your story. Death is the final reality but life is the truth that we live.

Tapan Khura, you are busy being born again as you never knew to die. ‘May you stay forever young!’