Monday, 14 August 2017

For Whom The Bell Tolls...

Today is the 14th of August. It is the eve of the most momentous day in the history of modern India: our Independence Day.

The mood of the nation is ebullient. We are justly proud of our spectacular achievements in the field of economics, science and culture. We are the fastest growing economy in the world, we have sent a probe to Mars, we are the first country to send more than a hundred satellites into orbit using just a single rocket, we have given the world the greatest gift of all – yoga. All this is amazing and there is much to feel proud of and be ebullient about…

But I am not in an ebullient mood today. On the contrary, I am depressed and angry. Very angry.

photo courtesy: iStock

What changed the happy mood into a towering rage in the morning is a headline that I read in one of our leading newspapers. It said: “KIN LYNCH DALIT WOMAN, KHAP IMPOSES FINE OF 2,500 RUPEES”.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Those Were The Days My Friend...

photo courtesy: Amazon

I have just finished reading Arundhati Roy’s “The MINISTRY of UTMOST HAPPINESS”. It shook me up. Some of the descriptions in the book are unnerving (especially the brutal torture and rape of a Naxalite woman in Andhra Pradesh by six policemen and the callousness, as she delineates it, of the Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir). Truth in the raw is often unnerving.

Arundhati Roy is a consummate writer. I have read the reviews of her book and they are mixed. As Mulk Raj Anand has said: “Nothing is born without pain and blood”. Whatever else people might say about the book, one thing cannot be denied – a lot of pain and blood has gone into the writing of this book. I believe it took twenty years for Arundhati Roy to write it.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Salesman In The Mall

Met a fellow today, a salesman in a Mall, who gave me a bit of a surprise. I have never heard of a case like his.

Mythological TV serials are in great demand nowadays. I am doing a TV serial that I was told was a straight family drama but slowly, almost imperceptibly, the script tilted up to the skies and Gods and Goddesses walked into our lives. As a result, the scenario changed somewhat. My initial prediction was that this change in the script might not work. Seems like I was mistaken.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

A Brush With The Supernatural

Gentlemen, I do not believe in the supernatural. But what happened to me during my stay in Russia one autumn night is inexplicable. I want to dismiss it as a matter of chance or an accident, but for the world of me, I cannot do so.

It happened in a city that was called Leningrad in the Soviet days and is now called by its original name – St. Petersburg. I was studying in the Film Institute in Moscow and all the foreign students – Arabs, Africans, Germans and a guy from Iceland (I was the only Indian among them) – were taken on a trip to that city.

photo courtesy: Pinterest
It was in autumn. Of all the seasons in Russia, this was my favourite season. Like in Kashmir, leaves turn golden in autumn and the landscape is transformed into a fairyland. But in St. Petersburg the autumn is special. It is called a “golden autumn”. And it is to be seen to be believed.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Actor and Age

When I went for my morning jog the other day I was apprehensive. I have grown (for a film) a huge, white handlebar moustache and sideburns, which have completely changed my persona. I was worried that this would have a disastrous effect on my acting career. Like most actors I try to look younger than I am.

What happened on the beach, however, was utterly unexpected. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

A Pinch of Salt

I think it is better to take everything with a pinch of salt. I don’t think it is good to get too excited, too passionate, too idealistic and too partisan about anything in life. In the long run, it can cause one a fair amount of discomfiture.

I made the cardinal mistake of becoming a rabid nationalist during my sojourn in Moscow. And it happened because of Nehru.

photo courtesy: The New York Times
I was in awe of him. I hero-worshipped him right through my school and college days.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Beach Disaster: Trumpeting For Change

Had to bathe four times this morning to feel clean again. The reason?
I decided to go for a walk on the beach. Monsoons are just around the corner. The signs are unmistakable. The GULMOHUR tree outside my window has become a fiery red. There is a coolness in the air. The sky is overcast. Beautiful weather.

Remembered Dad today. This is the weather he used to love to swim in. Decided to follow in his footsteps. The sea has become rough and stormy. It will become more intimidating as the monsoons progresses. The breakers will become enormous and the tides will become very strong.