Monthly Archives: February 2005

The world I have known

It’s quite interesting to note, that the world I have known has changed so much. And all this in a span of such a short time. Now it seems as if I talk of the stone age when I talk of yesteryears. Which was not very long ago.. just about 7 years back. I was still at college then. There were no cellphones. Ok I’ll rephrase that as no one used to sport a cellphone on their person except maybe if they were the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, Hindujas. You get the drift. My parents used to call me as often as they could (which would be once a week). At times, they used to book the call through the army exchange. This entailed *waiting* for your call, till the operator would tell you that the call had been connected. It could take the entire day for your turn depending on the call traffic on either end. The girls’ hostel having just one external line, which also had the intercom connected to it, made it an impossible task to get through to anyone. At times I got the call during my classes. The ‘tai’ (hostel maid) used to call us from the class. The person would go bolting like a bunny to the phone and attend the STD call. The STD rates were exhorbitant. Just 5 minutes of a conversation meant parting with one ‘gandhiji’. This also when the rates would be 1/4th, which used to happen at 11pm in the night. We would especially request our warden to let us go to the nearby PCO (which would be a km away) and call home.

Picture the scene now. My mom picks up the cellphone and dials my sister’s cellphone number.(She happened to be studying in the same city as I did). They talk every *single* day. Not only this, they keep calling her to ensure her safety, the entire duration of the train journey that she makes to that place. It was one of my “duties” to reach back and let them know of my safe arrival as soon as possible.

The advancement in technology has changed this world so much. There was a time when I used to write looooong letters to my friends and post them all over the country. (Ahem… They used to wait for letters from Twilight Fairy). Buying greeting cards was a major pastime with me. I would lounge around in card shops spending hours and come out with a huge stack keeping in mind miscellaneous occasions and several people. I would keep my supply of inland letters and stamps stocked. It all slowly came to a fullstop when I started working. Most of my friends had also started working and now they had an official mail id if not a personal one. Greeting cards got replaced by e-cards. Archies? What’s that.. ok, a comic character by that name comes to my mind now.

To withdraw cash from the bank there was a “procedure”. Firstly one could not just get up and go, visit the bank whenever one felt like. There were certain days assigned for cash withdrawal and certain timings. One had to fill in a withdrawal slip and sign it. The passbook (with a not so complimentary picture of you) had to be taken along with it. Once at the bank, one had to go through a huge rush at the withdrawl counter. After waiting for your turn, you would get to a person who would stare at you and then at the picture in your photograph, and ascertain that the person is indeed you. Once this interesting detail got confirmed, they would go through some drawers, finally landing at something you scrawled, but now called specimen signature, indexed somewhere according to your account number, match it with the one you made on the withdrawl slip and *then* sign the withdrawl slip and pass it on to the cash counter. phew.. Again, await your turn, produce your passbook, get it updated, collect the cash and be able to leave.

The scene now – go to the ATM, punch some buttons, withdraw cash and come back in less than a minute.

I am sure at the pace that the world is changing, some day I would just need to utter the word “cash” and it would come flying into my pocket. I dont care where it comes from, as long as it lands in the right pocket. The left one is also ok.

It’s yesterday once more

Amul chocolates – a gift for someone you love, Thums up – happy days are here again, Goldspot – the zing thing, sipso – soya milk, Uncle Chips, Gems, Maggi, Krishi Darshan, Sugam Sangeet, Afternoon transmission, UGC, Chauraha, Hum Log, Tamas, Trishna, Ek do teen chaar, chitrahaar, rangoli, Discovery of India, Mile Sur mera Tumhara, Molu, Swimmy, Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya, He-man (I have the power of the universe), Spiderman, Mickey mouse, Donald duck, Uncle Scrooge, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and dale, Tom & Jerry, Superman, Ye jo hai zindagi, Idhar Udhar, Star Trek, Persis Khambata, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachhan, Parveen babi, Neetu Singh, Jayaprada, Sridevi, QSQT, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Boy George, Sam Fox, Wham, Boney M, Beatles, Carpenters, “Those were the days”, “Summer wine”, “Que sera sera”, piano, sitar, needlework, clay modelling, Delhi, Jhansi, Chandigarh, Siliguri, Kho-Kho, Dog and the bone, Dodge ball, Treasure hunt, akkad bakkad bambe bo, chuppan chupaaee, pakdan pakdayee, lock and key, chidiya ud, inky pinky ponkey, “Tumhee ho maata, pita tumhee ho”, “Hum honge Kaamyab”, “Vande Mataram”, “Chishti ne jis zameen par”, “Kadam Kadam Badaye Jaa”, “Jana gana mana”, Shivaji house, Nehru house, Nalanda house, Vikramshila house, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, Nandan, Target, Misha, Reader’s Digest, Archie, Richie Rich, Tintin, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, measles, chicken pox, jaundice, “Bakra Kishton pe”, “Buddha ghar pe hai“, VHS, VCR, Digjam, Vicco Vajradanti, Tata ka OK, Godrej hair dye, Bombay Dyeing, Onida, Texla, Binatone, Binaca geet mala, Forces request

That was a snapshot of my childhood. How was yours?

Page 3

Spoiler warning – plot revealed

It was just by chance that I went to watch this movie. I was really not interested in watching P3 even though it had been given a good rating by the papers (journos really identified with it or what?)

Anyhow, my reservations had to take a backseat when we decided to draw a lot and select the movie for a team outing from office. The best I could do was to draw the lot myself, which I did. Few hours later, I was watching Page 3 at PVR Gurgaon.

The movie has no crisp storyline as such. The first half is just about a snapshot of the life of a P3 journo. Young and ambitious as they come, Madhavi (enacted by Konkona Sen Sharma), goes to all P3 dos, fashion shows, gliteratti parties, you name it. People are nice to her. Of course, they want good press. The movie shows life the way it is. Madhavi has 2 roommates – Pearl (enacted by Sandhya Mridul) who is no non-sense, practical and knows the way Mumbai works, and Gayatri (enacted by Tara Sharma) – a lost lass from Delhi, in Bombay to try her hand at movies. The plot reveals the superficial lives that social butterflies lead, flitting from one party to another, bitching about each other, screwing anyone and everyone who they could manage to “lay” their hands on (age no bar, gender no bar), air kissing, name dropping… the works. One can make out a lot of characters shaped out of known P3 regulars, be it the police office who’s more at parties and at filmsets than at his own thana or area of jurisdiction, the lady who writes novels on what else – sex, the gay fashion designer, the director with the casting couch, the hero sleeping with young, nubile, wanna be’s. But there are a few other people in this otherwise “artificial” mix, who are genuine, like the honest Inspector Bhonsle (Upyendra Limaye) who tries putting an end to crime in his own way, the journo Vinayak (Atul Kulkarni) who works in the same paper as Madhavi, but on real stories rather than superficial party dos, the odd socialite who does social work whether or not there are journos to write on her. The movie gradually proceeds with Madhavi’s love life blooming with the struggling model Tarun, pragmatic Pearl hitching a millionaire, so that she is served to rather than *she* serving ppl (as an air hostess) and Gayatri finding love in a successful hero who impregnates her as nonchalantly as he would swat a fly. Madhavi is gradually disgusted with all that has been happening.

Post interval, she decides to do meaningful journalism like crime reporting, instead of smiling plastic smiles whilst watching the plastic lives of social butterflies. She gets trained under Vinayak. Just when she thinks that things are becoming more meaningful, she discovers that her model boyfriend has been screwing a gay ‘makeup man’ friend of hers. She takes this in her stride along with all the other things which disgust her. One fine day she witnesses a blast. The misery, helplessness, blood, gore, bhaichara, all affect her deeply. She realises that life is not a party and blurts the same to the police officer who she encounters as a cover up journo in a P3 party. One night when Vinayak is out covering other cities, she gets a tip from an informer. She ropes in the inspector and goes on to expose a child abuse scandal involving a major tycoon, who happens to sponsor her paper. Needless to say, the news never makes it to the paper, the proof gets destroyed and she gets sacked. Life moves on, and she learns that one must “try to change the system while being a part of it”.

The acting is generally good. But the actor I like most is Sandhya Mridul. I found her better than Konkona Sen. Atul kulkarni is also good. Boman Irani (as Madhavi’s editor) is wasted. Soni Raazdaan looks awfully old. There are lot of P3 types who play themselves like Suchitra Pillay, Dolly Thakore etc. Upyendra Limaye is also good and there were times when the audience started clapping/cheering. I also liked the driver bunch who keep talking about their saab/memsaabs.

The soundtrack is good. I registered only 3 songs out of which one was pure torture to the ears, referred to as “truck driver” song in the movie. A deep, thought provoking “Kitne ajeeb rishtey yahan par” – has been sung by Lata Mangeshkar and an utterly melodious “Maar daala, Huzoor-e-aala” – has been sung by Asha Bhonsle.
The movie can make you cry and make you laugh. Basically shows what life can be all about. Overall rating – eminently watchable.