Friday, 13 February 2015

A day for love

Standing under a calm shade, I cornered an eye
At a thinking and innocent girl just passing by.

Moving silent and slow, she seemed to reveal
the pain of lost love, with a charming appeal.

"It's innocent and warm", as if she tried to say
"Should I be sorry or thankful, for not choosing to stay."

I tried to read more words from her silence.
Gravitated, I stole permission from my conscience
To follow her parallel,without a license.

Soon I could feel few signs of despair.
As they do leave marks, these foolish love affairs.
Anyways I calmed my racing heart
and broke the ice while crossing her path.

"Hey" is all I could utter after the essay inside.
Only to make her eyes grow sweet and sour in surprise.

"Yes?", she replied with lovely act of evasion.
To which I graciously offered "I am Shakespeare and you are an inspiration"
"What?" She obviated, to which I offered continuation -

"This morning is fine, your eyes are divine, so how about a cup of coffee at the hour of nine?"

She stood shell shocked as if she went offline.
But then crashed laughing, blossoming in sunshine.

"Gosh, Romeo you are funny and so you are your lines"
"But alas, this Juliet is already booked for this Valentine".
Broke, dejected, murdered by those words soaked with kind intent,

is not me. I ran back towards that calm shade to have another attempt !! :-)

Happy Valentine’s Day !!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Our education system needs a rethinking

Image courtesy - The Huffington Post

Today, in the lift in my building, I met a 4th or 5th standard schoolboy carrying a heavy bulging school-bag on his back. He looked sharp and brilliant. But he was drenched in sweat in a fine weather and had his back bent in a curve because of the weight. He was returning back from school. Normally kids carry typical nonchalance and endearing mood and would unknowingly spread the joy. But that look of him told that he already was feeling the weight of responsibility and school had turned out to be an occupation for him. And this isn't just one kid. It is the same story when I see the others.

That one look of the boy trigged the reminiscent imagery of my own school days. It didn't take me time to understand that India's education system hasn't changed much (except for the instant gratification of giving non-deserving institutions prestigious tags by our government), and if at all, it hasn't changed positively.

I mean... How can that boy be thinking of the new learnings and new hobbies to surprise me and you of his achievements in an astonishingly young age. How can he be picking up a new sports or really understanding the meaning of his being with the pristine brain a child possesses when we instruct him to lead a life under instructions-get up early in the morning, go to school, come back to home, take lunch, do you homework, be obedient, get higher rank in class otherwise you are a waste . How can he be thinking on his own and getting curious of small and big facts that the world bestows on that little mind when we say all that? How can he discover his REAL potential? Let me close the scope of this question within the boundaries of our country. How can we make fantastic citizens of tomorrow who are not made up by impositions like a potter makes pottery but are actually self-discovered and self-evolved like the coral reefs - diverse, rich, health-giving and beautiful. Each one as beautiful and important as the other and not ranked on the basis of how-much-oxygen-did-you-produce-yesterday? I only imagine how can we have a truly beautiful education system where these kids will not be ranked and classified but will be understood and flourished in their unique ways.

May be what I implicitly suggested is a fairy tale proposition. Since the economy needs jobs and jobs needs employees, employees come from colleges and colleges demand certain qualifications and RANKS, the suggestion seems least plausible on first thought. But just for a moment let us think over what I call the Bonsai Model. Consider the economic engine of country be the flora - trees and big plants which actually do the photosynthesis- where all the real work happens. If we shrink all these big trees to a small proportion of their size they become bonsais. Now if the bonsais were children and did all the work similarly on smaller scale while developing and being curious and having fun, the whole bonsai fraternity when normalised into trees will function just right without any fight and without being boring. Each will have his/her important place in the flora.

The outcome of it will be a system in which where there will be plenty of jobs and plenty of fields to work have fun in. The students or employees will be really confident and would upfront know what they are doing and why they are doing. They will all be originals. Another way to look at this said goal is this. Either make more and more fake prestigious institutions or make it irrelevant for a child to join a prestigious institution at all. The prestige should be the outcome of the right choice taken by the right talent, not by the by-product of the MATHEMATICALLY NORMALISED ranking system.

At the end, let me leave you with a dream school where teachers will let students to perform and flourish in the following real world subjects- Lego, music, maths, movies, comedy, astronomy, comics, radio, rock and rap, humanity, machines, computers, nature, animals, oceans, business, robots, acting, poetry, history, dance, gardening, science and sports. Let students fit themselves in amongst these choices and the outcome would be a beautiful coral reef, healthy and happy. That may probably be the most robust act of nation building.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I, India, Inflection

It's been long since I've written a post. Well, the hiatus is broken by an occasion.

Something has changed. Today, I'm standing at an inflection point. I now formally dive in the unknown, in the dark. I'm starting up. Oh yes, I'm leaving behind a comfortable office, salary and security for 24x7 work, zero package and non-predictability.

It's latent in the information that the decision and occasion must churn some emotional whirlpool within me. But, most interestingly, I feel nothing. Happy-no. Fear-no. Remorse-nope. None. It so happens, while I'm writing this post, I hope to better understand what really I'm feeling. But that is not the objective. This post is not about an introspective analytical me. It's about a situational resemblance between me and my country - India.

In 2014, India chose development over dynasty. The incumbent Prime Minister is a result of a huge wave of hopes and dreams of an ailing population. India has shown so much faith in him that if it doesn't work out in next few years, some say, the hopes will never gather again to such an extent. So, in that case, government will never be decisive; we will never be able to compete with China and US. India, in that perspective, has taken a dive in the unknown, in the dark.

Yes, anything can happen.

If India gets positively Modi-fied we may be able to catchup with China in manufacturing and with US in research. We may be able to attain a negative brain drain and display a technological prowess in the world. We may. Or if it gets negatively Modi-fied, well.... let's just stay positive.

But how exactly it will happen? In one line, it can't be described in one line. The aspirations are so diverse and multi-faceted that no agenda can inclusively lay down the track to be followed. It's unpredictable. (There, India is starting up). But one thing is certain. It will require an emotionally charged up and positively aligned youngistan. And it will require business. Lack of infrastructure, corruption and un-organized markets. You know... there is a huge scope for new businesses to come and contribute here. We have done some good work in e-commerce and IT. There are a dozen of sectors to champion. There is a lot to cover.

And the good news is, the rising has already started. Just see the India Startup Report and you will know. We have started to apply ourselves HERE. ( Just now I felt happy :)  ). Oh it's going to be exciting. Let me also join the wave.

Time to work!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Movie Review - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

After Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6, much was expected of Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's next flick and it hasn't disappointed. Rather, I'd say, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag surpassed it's hype.

But before I put my thoughts about the movie, let me say to them (movie critics) to KINDLY rise above the overly exaggerated approach of meticulously analysing a beautiful inspiration like BMB and tainting the efforts of an inspired filmmaker. Please!

Just how many of the Indian filmmakers choose to inspire than to mint?

When Milkha Singh himself watched the premier of the movie in London, he couldn't hide a tear. And that, to ROPM, was the true reward of his creation. It pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

Ok... the review... here it goes..

*** Spoiler Alert! ***

The storytelling
Despite the celebrity status of the Flying Sikh, I doubt whether many knew the lows and highs of his life. Movie's first challenge was to highlight the struggle of a boy to make good of his life, let alone to strive for being a national sports hero and the story did full justice to that. The depiction of how the boy, who was once reduced to a bum out of tragic circumstances, pulled himself together, believed to earn a life, fought, stumbled, muscled, ran and sprinted through the crests and troughs of a teenage life, and that too with a self-assuring smile, came out beautifully. The best part was how the protagonist's latent spirit of "fearlessness" gleamed through his condition of "helplessness" without being portrayed explicitly. The screenplay of a solo toddler sniffing off a herd of much older antagonists with just a stare felt so true and believable. Quite a memoir for me. I rarely clap in a multiplex (full of super civilised gentry) but at that moment I couldn't resist the uncalled-for-action-in-their-eyes.

The screenplay
The mix of flashback, present and flashback-in-a-flashback gelled well with the screenplay. It was never a confusing approach (except to them). Rather, the different strands of timeframes seemed a natural knit into a linear unraveling of intrigues and awes. The bit of VFX just added the right proportion of salt. The sword & horse nightmare scene needed support of the after-effects to induce a high tide of rage in the audience. I won't call it overly tech-dependent approach on part of the director. To make a classic masterpiece would come second to create a justified biopic in my books.

The Romance
Lately, the frequency of a romantic buildup in a rustic Indian landscape has caught more eyeballs than those in a concrete jungle. For an instance, recall the highly mischievous act of a shy Don furtively touching the hands of a female in The Gangs of Wasseypur 2. Another memoir. Such subtle instances induces more pheromones than by a three hour long romantic boredom. Really. Similarly, however short, the romance in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, has just enough material to compel a smile, a wry, an exchanged squint and a tear. (Well, the greatest romantic stories ever told have been tragic in end ). It not only had tips for the starters and the stalkers but also had pensive interpretations for the experienced professionals in the matter.

The Run
To make a sport based movie, wherein the sport involved is not cricket, is a herculean task in India. More so, when the sport is a mono-event type like sprinting. In that view, the movie pulled off the track-and-field scenes really well. Second only to the evident dedication of Farhan Akhtar in bringing out the different phases of the physical attributes of Milkha Singh, the thoughtfulness behind those shots was the biggest plus point of the movie. Every other such shot was different from the last and full of variations. Everywhere, it kept the audience engaged. It moved them in their seats, kept them abreast of the other runners' position while focussing on Milkha, made them feel short of breath at finishing lines, accelerated their heartbeat with high bpm soundtrack and even finished a whole running event without a thud or a mutter. It gave space for hungry-for-inspiration souls to connect to themselves. Right there, lies the beauty.

The Comedy
The inclusion of notoriety, wry humour and some standard punchlines in the convoluted timeline of the movie kept the audience adrift of an otherwise serious storytelling whenever needed. May be those vouching for a masterpiece-like creation would have asked the editor to truncate these portions, but for me, these jolly moments cemented the serious bricks well and weren't unnecessary. More than that, very subtly they gave us a very strong message of enjoying oneself even during the tough times.

The X-factor
The X-factor was revealed in the promo itself. The six packs, the strenuous training sequence with a heavy tyre tied at the waist, the Ladhakh scenes, the push-ups with a foreign babe on back had enough masala to attract the non-ardents in the cinema halls. But, in fact, the promo served to be a good impostor. The movie stumped me with with a more than expected solidity and originality.

The Realities
Few subtleties of human relations can only come out of a real life story. His sister's constant motherly affection, his first trainer's sweet scoldings, his sharing of punishment with the childhood friend, his childish revert to the second trainer during Asian Games, the stalking along the railway lines and his never-revealed feeling for the hottie in airline indeed fused reality in the drama.

The Verdict
I would not try to write the message of the story here otherwise we would go back to zero, that is equal to the driving force of a daily food for thought. One must watch and live the 185 minutes to etch his/her personalised take of the movie in the mind. To the young-at-heart-folks, if you have even an ounce of adrenaline flowing through your lymphs, then let it rush. Give yourself a chance to change gear and run. Give yourself a chance to fly like the Flying Sikh. Go and watch.

Jai Hind!