Monday, December 19, 2016


One of the most interesting things about travel is meeting new people and listening to their thoughts. Getting exposure to others' perspectives opens up your own mind and makes you more accepting, besides ofcourse giving you some fresh ideas.

On one of my recent travels, I met an interesting man, a trainer on Finance from a leading MNC. As he shared his experiences as a trainer, he also described his life's philosophy that he follows in all the activities he does on a day-to-day basis- SIMPLIFY!

We often tend to be intimidated by anything that even remotely seems complicated. Whether it's a new job or a regular task, we often like to think of it as a long, complicated process and this thought itself repels us from the task at hand. 

Simplification, as a small little step, can make us much more comfortable with our life and its activities in general. When we approach anything at hand with an intention to simplify it, we end up enjoying it. Because, we all enjoy simplicity, we crave simplicity, we want simplicity. Simple is beautiful. Simple is logical. Simple is easy to understand. Simple is easy to do. It's simple! Really ;) 

More than the tasks, we need to simplify our emotions, relationships and our ambitions. It never has to be complicated. It only gets complicated when we overthink, when we decide to pursue multiple options instead of working wholeheartedly on one, when we lie about what we truly feel and want, and when we try to please others instead of our own selves first. Things never have to be grey. I like it black and white. Keep these two colours separate. It's your choice if you want to mix them up and go grey.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Aligarh is a Poetic Tale That is Told in its Pain and Pauses

It was a Friday. Three major movies had released- The Revenant, Carol and Aligarh, and I wanted to watch each and every one of them. Sadly, Friday was a working day for me and I was scheduled to leave for Australia early Saturday morning. Amid all the work and preparation for travel, I could just squeeze out enough time for one movie, and that too if I gave up sleep. This led to the big question- which of the three should I choose? All were equally appealing to me and if I had my way, I would watch all three of them. The Revenant promises to tell the story of sheer willpower, the desire to live that overcomes seemingly insurmountable adversities. Carol, well firstly it has Cate Blanchett and secondly, the movie tells the beautiful tale of love between a young soul who is still finding her feet in her career and a middle-aged woman who has been in a hollow relationship with her husband. And then there was Aligarh, the story based on the real incident that happened to Mr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor with the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University who was suspended for his sexual orientation. So, why did I choose Aligarh? Here's what I told myself, "These kind of movies don't happen everyday in Bollywood. Actors like Manoj Bajpai and Rajkumar Rao don't come together very often. As an admirer of this kind of cinema, I want to show my support for it. I want to send out the message that we want more of these movies. I want this movie to earn profit. It won't earn mega crores but if my ticket can help it earn some decent profit and encourage the Indian film industry to produce more of such movies, it would be every bit worth it. " Fueled by these thoughts, I put my tiredness aside and went out for a late night show, alone (absence of company wasn't going to stop me). Now let's move on to Aligarh (not literally ofcourse), my experience watching the movie and my review.

First few minutes into the movie and you are sure that there are absolutely no frills, unnecessary distractions or futile story buildup in this one. It is powerful storytelling that does not require cheap gimics. Right from the locations, the costumes and the performances by the actors to the dialogues- everything feels so real; there's nothing larger than life here. Infact, it shows that how sometimes life, inspite of being so large, fails a person because of something as fundamental and rudimentary as his sexual orientation.

Manoj Bajpai's performance as the lead character is sheer power, power that is effortless, seamless and engaging. Not for one second do you feel yourself away from Mr. S.R. Siras. You feel his pain, you feel his helplessness, you feel his simplicity, you feel his anger, you feel him smiling, you feel everything he feels. He says few words but communicates a thousand thoughts. A simple man with simple pleasures in life, he exudes an aura of wisdom. Like that wise old teacher you feel nothing but absolute respect for. Manoj Bajpai has done a tremendous job playing this character. The restrained body language, long lingering pauses, slight twitches on the face, sad but hopeful eyes- he has emulated his character to perfection.

Rajkumar Rao's performance as a young journalist Deepu is plain delightful. He's the guy next door (especially if your door is in Noida or Gurgaon) who lends a helping hand to our knight in distress. Here, I would also like to commend the writer, director and editor. They have kept Rao's role just the right size, making sure that he appears only where he is relevant and that the main focus of the story is not lost. This may not be his best performance ever but it certainly is a good one (like he can ever give a bad one but anyways)... His chemistry with Manoj Bajpai is natural and endearing right from their first meeting.

Coming to another hero in the movie- the dialogues. They are so crisp and meaningful that everytime Siras says something, you feel like you need some time to process it in your head and dwell on its meaning for a while (you might even wish his pauses were slightly longer).

One of the dialogues that has stayed with me is when Siras tells Deepu that a poem lies in the spaces between words and everyone interprets that poetry differently as per their age and level of maturity. A deeper thought makes you realize that Aligarh is also a poetic tale. It lies in its pauses and everyone will interpret it differently. My interpretation of this poem? Well, for me it is a wakeup call, a message, a subtle reprimand. One that makes me feel shameful that as a society, we have failed a large section of people by questioning their natural sexual instinct and terming it immoral. I felt ashamed of all those times we used gays and lesbians in context of fun. We have no right to judge others' natural instincts and what they prefer doing in their bedrooms.

So, would I recommend you to go and watch Aligarh this weekend? Hell yes! Ofcourse yes! A big yessss!!! And after you watch it, please comment below and let me know what is your interpretation of this beautiful poetic tale.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


My grandmother has always been very fond of knitting and stitching and the best part is that she's amazingly good at both of them. She even used to knit colorful sweaters and scarfs for me and my brother when we were young. Seeing her engrossed in her knitting projects in winter afternoons is a dear childhood memory etched clearly in my mind. Recently her love for knitting sprang up again after she saw a neighbor knitting woolen shoes and that's when she decided that she will dig out all those balls of wool and knitting needles out of her trunk and  will knit similar shoes for herself. So she got right at it and within just 2-3 days accomplished her task!
And I must say she made quite a pretty and impressive pair for herself (that's her happy feet in the picture feeling all cozy in the new pair!!!).
Surprisingly my grandmother's enthusiasm attracted me to the art of knitting as well and I decided to try my hands at this warm art! Oh how happy and encouraging my grandmother was when I asked her to teach me what she knows. She recalled her childhood when she first learnt to knit and handed me over two long needles and a ball of pale yellow colored wool. Few attempts and some overnight practice was all it took to get me to learn the first lesson of the knitting tutorial and the picture you see right above is the first sample of my knitting skill (I know it's tiny but trust me it's quite an achievement!).

Learning this new art has brought so much joy and enthusiasm back into my life. It has made me realize how constant learning of new skills not only refreshes the mind but also adds so much beauty, vitality and versatility to one's life and being. So I am adding another goal to my list for this year and that is to learn at least 3 new skills before the end of 2013, the first one being knitting!

What do you think about the importance of new skills? Do you also agree that it's important to tread on unknown territories once in a while? Are you learning something new? If yes, then do share your experience and let me know how you feel about it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

For those who matter

While it' necessary to act clever in accordance with the changing times and actively adapt to the new lifestyles and technological innovations that bombard our lives every other day, there's something about old philosophies and old ways that still hold as much value in the journey of our life as they did before and one of these age old notions is the concept of 'Family and Friends'.
Remember those proverbial advises such as "Family comes first!", "Charity begins at home", "Family is a haven in a heartless world", "A friend in need is a friend indeed"?
It's important to note here that while family and true friends never expect anything of us besides our own good, it doesn't mean that we should distance them and engross ourselves in the virtual world and in our quest for perfect careers. True friends and family not only provide us with the much needed reality check now and then but also act as cushions of comfort and encouragement during the hard times. They know us closely and do not judge us by the our exteriors or by the virtual profiles which mostly reflect our own desire on how we want to be perceived by others. Our family and friends know who we are, they know our strengths and shortcomings and most importantly they also know of our limitless potential. They are the ones who often encourage us and propel us towards our success when the rest of the world is hell bent on bringing us down.
So even though I absolutely agree with all those who are too busy in their lives and explorations of their self, I would still urge each and every one of you to make some time for those who really matter. Time and tide wait for none and you don't want to regret later in case it gets too late to catch up. I am suggesting here a few ways in which you can stay connected. If you have any other tip, feel free to post it in your comment for the benefit of other readers.
  • Call your mum-dad every night before sleep and talk to them for at least 5 minutes. Let them know you love them, tell them about your day, ask them how they are and send lots of hugs and kisses!
  • Try to organize a family reunion every 6 months. Not only will it bring along reminiscence of old times but it will give your whole family the opportunity to create a new memory!
  • Stay in touch with your closest friends through personal messages and weekly calls. You can also skype with them now and then and stay updated about each other's lives. And who knows you might end up making a joint adventure vacation plan to some place you fantasized about when you were kids!
  • Everyone loves surprises especially when they are least expected. So how about you surprise your parents with a fresh flower bouquet on a Sunday morning with a note that says "I miss you!". Your parents' reaction will make your effort truly worth it.
  • If you live with your parents but only catch a glimpse of them while you're on your way in/out, then it's high time you re-evaluate your activities and the importance of your family in your life. Try to catch up and interact with your parents during meals at the dining table and keep them updated about your life, dreams and goals. Also do not forget to ask them about their plans and life.
  • A short and sweet text message now and then doesn't require much effort and time and is a great way to let your family and friends know that you think of them. 

A person who has a strong relationship with his/her family and friends stays much happier and healthier than those who stay buried in their selves. Never forget that you're only a human being and not a machine. You not only need love but you need to give love too. So love lots, stay connected and take out time to make gestures that show you care.