Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hrishikesh Mukherjee, R.I.P.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee , who directed more than 45 Hindi movies, passed away last Sunday, August 27. May his soul rest in peace.

Hrishida was one of my favourite directors. His films were always good and clean entertainment. And yes, his movies usually had good songs. Most of the movies directed by Hrishida had music by either S.D. Burman or R.D. Burman. Two movies which had made me cry were directed by Hrishda -- in Satyakam, its hero, played by Dharmendra who gave his life's best performance, played an idealist man who never lied come what may, and Ashirwad, for which Ashok Kumar got national award for the best actor. In Ashirwad, Ashok Kumar's wife who was a rich women, always used to nag him and he leaves home and his daughter. In the most memorable scene of the movie, the daughter is giving alms to poor men and beggars who had come to her wedding, one hand is shown palm down, instead of palm up, and the daughter realises that it is her father who have come to give her Ashirwad (blessings) as she had been promised by him long time ago. That once scene showed the tremendous power of the cinema, and I just could not hold my tears. Hrishda was truly a great craftsman.

I read somewhere that Hrishda used to shoot his movies in a peculiar manner by shooting the portion of the movie first sans its songs. He believed that songs are unreal, but necessary part of the movie. When someone used to ask him how is shooting of your movie going, he used to reply that the `real' part of the movie is shot, and the `unreal' portion is yet to be shot. Hrishda has left this unreal world for the real world. His films will continue to give us many hours of enjoyment and fun.

Weekend Diary

This is my weekend diary for Weekend August 26 and 27, 2006.

Last Friday, I purchased a Titan watch for myself. In fact it is gift from my wife to me, on the occasion of our Marriage anniversary, which was on Monday, August 28. I always worn a Casio digital watch till now. For a change, I thought I will have an analog watch. This Titan watch is an analog one, with day and date display.

Last Friday night an interesting bit of conversation took place at dinner time. I, my wife and our daughter, Namrata (Noona), who is 9 years old, were having dinner at 9:00 p.m. Our son Sachin, was away as he was attending his classes. As we have cut off the cable network few days ago, nowadays we usually talk while having dinner. My wife was saying that she is quite worried about Sachin, about his studies, about his future and said that Sachin is main, and said I am not worried much about Noona. Noona who we thought was not listening, suddenly said, `oh Sachin is main, aur main kiya hoon. Main kiya Sachin ke cousin hoon. Aagar Sachin main hai to main be main hoon'. I and my wife were taken a bit by her outpouring. Of course what Noon was saying was absolutely correct. My wife and I hugged Noona and said yes, you too are main. Children are becoming quite smart and sharp at young age.

Last Saturday, we went to shop for a shirt for myself, which my wife wanted to gift to me, in addition to the watch. And I wanted to buy her a nice dress for her. After selecting a shirt for myself, which was chosen by Noona, we went to look for a dress for my wife. We were shown many dresses by the shop assistant, but none were of liking to my wife. Suddenly, Noona pulled out a dress from a pile, and whispered to me `Yeh dress lo, pappa, yeh aap ke shirt se match hogi'. She was right, the dress did had the same shade of colour as my shirt's colour. So both Noona and I pursuaded my wife to take that dress. She got it stitched quickly for wearing on Monday.

Last Sunday, we met to meet Poonam, my wife's niece, who has done B.E. in software engineering and had a good job at Pune. She had come down from Pune, where she lives, to Ulhasnagar to meet all of us. Poonam now has got an offer from a company in Helsinki, Finland, and will be joining them this week. It is very brave of Poonam to leave a good job and take up a job in distant foreign country. All the best to her. Sunday was also Ganesh Chaturthi.

Monday was my 16th marriage anniversary. It was on August 28, 1990 that I had got married. Sarita has been good wife to me over the years. I trust I have been a good husband to her. On Monday I had decided to take a day off from work, so has Sarita. We wanted to have some good quality time together on our important day. I read somewhere recently that marriage is the biggest comedy of life, but for the women. For men, marriage is the life's biggest tragedy. Well, everyone had their own experience about marriage. Mine had been good overall. In the evening, we and children went out to have dinner. Since it was Monday and days of Ganesh Chaturthi, so non-vegetarian fare was out of question. So we had Pizzas, Pav Bhaji followed by yummy Falooda. Since we both were wearing same shades, we decided to have a photograph of us taken at a photo studio, to make the day memorable.

Cross-posted from my other blog Raju's world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sachin, 15

My son, Sachin, turned 15 today. Sachin is named after great music composer Sachin Dev Burman.

When I had been enaged to be married, one saturday, we usually used to meet on saturdays, I and my would be wife were sitting on a bench in the local park. I suddenly said to her that after marriage we will have a son and we will name him Sachin. I looked at her after saying this expecting her to say something in return, but she just shyly nodded her head in consent, and of course blushed. I had bored her to death with my priase for songs of Sachinda and Panchamda and had played for her numerous songs of Sachinda and Panchamda, as she too has liking for Hindi film songs. She had said what if it is a girl. I am sure, it will be boy, I had said. If it is a girl, you can choose the name for her, I had said, after a few moments pause.

True to my prophecy, Sachin was born to us next year, on August 23, 1991. When mine and her relatives come to meet my wife and our newborn in the hospital, their first question, as in most such cases usualy is, what name you will be giving it to the baby. We readily told them it will be Sachin and nothing else.

Well, Sachin has turned 15 today. And he is getting taller day by day. He has inherited my shyness and smile and good manners.

Cross-posted from my other Blog Raju's world .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wittiest play

I am presently reading The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. It is generally considered as wittiest play in english language. I had read it numerous times and every time it is an enjoyable read. It is one of my wish to see this play on stage. If you have not heard about this play, which is unlikely, or have not read this play, which is likely, it is available online. Please do read it.

Here is a funny excerpt from the play:
CECILY. I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn’t write them down, I should probably forget all about them.

MISS PRISM. Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.

CECILY. Yes, but it usually chronicles the things that have never happened, and couldn’t possibly have happened. I believe that Memory is responsible for nearly all the three-volume novels that Mudie sends us.
Substitute diary with its modern version Blog, and it still make sense.

Cross-posted from my other blog Raju's world.

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan (March 21, 1916 - August 21, 2006)

Ustad Bismillah Khan, who popularised and brought shehnai to the centrestage of classical music, died of cardiac arrest at a Varanasi hospital yesterday. Shehnai is traditionally played on weedings and other auspicious occasions in India. Ustadji brought it to the concert level and almost single-handedly made it popular. May his soul rest in peace.

When I was in my teens, I had seen an old movie Goonj Uthi Shehnai on Doordarshan. In the movie Rajendra Kumar had played a shehnai player. The recital of shehnai in the movie was very very good. I was mesmerised by it. It was the highlight of the movie. Later on I came to know that the shehnai in the movie was actually played by Ustad Bismillah Khan. This fact remained in my memory for quite some time.

When I had got married on August 28, 1990, I purhcased few casettees of shehnai recitals by Ustad Bismillah Khan and requested the manager of the marriage hall, where I got married, to play these casettes while the marriage ceremony was being performed and also at the reception. I felt at that time as Ustadji is blessing us with his magical shehnai. Next Monday, I will be completing 16 years of married bliss, and as a tribute to Ustadji, I will play those casettes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Weekend Diary

This is my weekend diary for Weekend August 19 and 20.

Last Friday was quite good for me. I left office for home at my usual time, instead of staying late or visiting bookshops to browse or buy books or CDs. I must first clear the pending credit card bills, and then think of buying new books and CDs. Anyway, the Books and CDs just accumulate and I have been on buying spree over the past few months. I must stop buying new books and CDs for few months.

It was a sunny saturday last week. I got up quite late and had a good breakfast and lunch. Since my wife has taken leave for few days and it exam time for the children, I stayed most of the time with them and helped childen in their studies for the exam. After many many days I went to the local park for my evening walk and felt good. I had read long time ago in a newspaper that, in Ulhasangar, the city where I live, there is shop which sells Bengali sweets. While strolling in park, I for no reason, remember that, and afterwards went to that shop to buy rasgullas for my family. Children were happy to have them, after dinner.

Sunday also was mostly sunny, though it rained lightly few times. I spent Sunday morning reading my favourte newspaper, which is Hindustan Times, then went out to buy mutton, as children had insisted that they want to eat it for the lunch. So we all at home at quite good time.

Since my son, Sachin, is in Standard X, and will be giving board exams in March next year, I and my wife and decided to cut off the cable connection. So since August 10, there has been no satellite television for us. At first it seems quite strange as we are use to watch silly serials as we had dinner everyday. But, we are slowly getting use to it.

Cross-posted from my other blog Raju's World.

Monday, August 14, 2006

KANK -- Kuch Nahi Hota Hai

I saw Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK), last Saturday. I disliked the movie. It just did not connect. It did not made much sense to me. It is supposed to be a look at marriage from the point of a view of director (Karan Johar), who at 34 is unmarried.

The plotline/storyline of the movie is at this link .

What you read below is mostly fictional.

Since the screenplay of the movie is co-written by my (imaginary) cousin Shibani Bathija, I decided to call Shibani about many things which annoyed me in the movie:

Hello, is this Shibani?

Yes, it is her. Who is this?

This is Raju, your cousin

Oh, cousin Raju. How do you do? Have you seen KANK?

I am good. Yes I saw it and did not liked it.

Why why why?

Oh, it was just rubbing salt on the wounds of a married man. I did not liked it. I wanted to talk to you about it, since you have co-written the screenplay.

[seems quite annoyed] Then talk to Karan Johar, the director of the movie. Nowdays he is eager to establish communication with anyone about KANK.

Communication? Oh, you mean, he is willing to talk to anyone about his movie.

Yes, I mean that. I have been reading P.G. Wodehouse recently. Ok. I will call you after I have fixed the time with K. Jo.

Arre you writing a script based on PGW book?

Keep guessing.

After few days, cousin Shibani very kindly set up a meeting with Karan Johar at a local Coffee Shop. This is what I recall from our conversation. [My questions are in regular text and replies by K. Jo, sorry Karan Johar are in italics.]

Karan, you look dashing in Pink shirt.

Thanks Raju. Inside I am bundle of nerves. I am wearning Pink shirt so that I can be in Pink of Health.

Oh. I see. Good. Tell me how do you got the idea to make KANK.

I was having lunch in a small place at London, where the tables were placed quite closely. I happen to overhear a couple talking. And they seems to be talking about going their separate way as their marriage has not worked out. What striked me that they were talking about it in a amicable way, even joking about it. I thought I have to tell their story to the world. I thought I will make a picture on this phenomenon.

And you made it?

Yes, I did. Tell me are you married?

Yes, I am, since last 15 years.

15 years is a lot of time. Did you ever think that you married a wrong person?

Sometime, but I let the feeling pass. Thankfully I saw KANK alone. For some strange reasons, my wife did not want to see this movie.

I wanted to tell the married persons that if they ae not happy with their marriages, they should go their separate ways.

Don't you think it may break-up many marraiges that way. Are not you advociating adultery among married persons?

No, no I am not. I am saying if they are not happy with their marriage, there is a way out.

What if they are not able to find their soulmate? Do you know why I am happily married? Do you want to know the secret.

Yes, yes, I do. Please pray tell me.

It is in this small poem `A word to Husbands' by Ogden Nash:

To keep your marriage brimming
with the love in the loving cup,
whenever you are wrong, admit it:
whenevery you are right, shut up.

I think most of the husbands all over follow it. What keep a woman happy or unhappy after marriage, science or poets have still to find out.

You did not liked my movie, then?

No, I did not. I tried to sympathise with the characters of SRK, Priety, Rani and Abhishek, but could not connect. I tried very very hard to figure out why Rani was unhappy with Abhishek, who played such a good husband to her, or what was wrong with their marriage, but could not. I only liked Amitabh in the movie. He made me smile and happy. Tell me, why was Shah Rukh Khan looked so bitter, cynical and unhappy in the movie?

Oh that was simple. He looked bitter, cynical and unhappy in the movie because he felt that way. Actually I made him drink Coca-Cola, instead of Pepsi, which he endorse, to get this effect. I had banned Pepsi throughout the shooting of the movie.

And Abhishek looked crestfallen because you told him to use Nokia mobile phone, instead of Motorola, which he endores.

Lucky guess.

Last question, why was your movie so long -- it was 3 hours 10 minutes 48 seconds long?

Well, I love long movies. I think a movie should never end !

Do you know what Alfred Hitchcock had said about the length of a movie: ``The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder''. Make your next movie 120 minutes long. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two Blogs

I have decided now to keep this blog, Anything Goes, as well as my other blog Raju's world.

In this blog, I will post about things which does not directly affect me. While in my other blog, Raju's world, I will post about things which affect me directly, and will also post more personal posts. I will, of course, cross-post between these two blogs sometime.

I choose WordPress for my other blog as it is a part of a Open Source community. Since I use most of the Open Source community programmes, like Linux , Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, amaroK, etc. for my office. WordPress is cool. If you thinking of starting a blog your own, give WordPress a consideration.

I am happy to arrive at a decision. Being a typical Libran, I alwlays feel happy when I arrive at a decision.

Monday, August 07, 2006

My new Blog

I have created a new Blog Raju's World at WordPress.

I have also copied all my posts from this blog to my new blog. I am thinking seriously of moving to WordPress.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola Matlab Pesticides

The Telepgraph, Kolkata, reports :
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today said soft drinks continue to hold cocktails of pesticides and charged the health ministry with stalling efforts to set limits.

Releasing the findings of a new study, it said the levels of pesticide residues in some samples tested this year are higher than those observed in samples three years ago.

Centre for Science and Environment's report is here, and its Press Release is here.

The CSE has given a wake-up call to the Indian government to notify the regulatory limits for pesticide residues and caffeine in soft drinks. This has still not been done. This important matter is hanging between various committees. Strange are indeed the ways governments functions.

What I really find ridiculous, personally, are the endorsement by top Indian movie stars from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan to Rani Mukherjee, of various brands of soft drinks, for money. Even if one of them came forward and says that he or she will stop endorsement of the soft drinks, as presence of pesticides have been proved in them, it will be great. But I know, it will not happen.

Will at least government instruct the soft drinks manufacturers in India to put a statutory warning on all bottles that Drinking soft drinks may be injurious to health. Maybe that is like asking for moon.

Cross-posted to my other blog Raju's World

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Indian Bloggers in a spot -- again?

It seems the ban/block on www.blogspot.com is back again. I am not able to view (though I am able to edit my posts) my blog on blogspot. But I am able to view my blog using www.inblogs.net.

A few weeks ago (in fact on July 13), Indian Government had ordered Internet Service Providers in India to ban/block 17 websites, which included 4 blogspot blogs. At that time, the ISPs have bloced the blogspot.domain, so that people who were accessing internet from India were not able to access their own or any other blogs hosted on blogspot.

Are the Indian bloggers in a spot again?

If yes, then it is ridiculous and deplorable. It is yet another attack on the freedom of speech.

Update: It seems the block was due to (maybe) some technical problem at ISPs end. I am able to view mine and other blogs on blogspot.com. More about this is here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Leave it to Psmith

Finished reading Leave it to Psmith. I read it for the third time time. It is too good. I will write my review of the book later.

A blog post about Psmith is here.

Have been very busy with work and work.