Monday, May 28, 2012

An Award and A Few Introductions

Yay! Here I get my fifth ever blog award, and its a Versatile Blogger Award which has come my way again! Blog awards always feel special, because through these gestures, people of your trade appreciate you, single you out to tell you what you are doing is good and worth celebrating. However, what makes this award a tad more special than the others is the person sending it my way- Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan. He is an author who bowled me over with a simple, and touching story he wrote about the love which binds and sustains a home, called Father Of My Son, published in Bright Lights (Urban Shots). It is primarily because of this story that I have gifted and recommended the whole anthology to several (now) thankful people. And it is the same author who conferred on me this priceless, green colored honor. Thanks Roshan! You are responsible for this huge smile on my face!

Before I rant on seven random things about myself, as is mandated with this award, I would like to introduce to my readers three new blogs, which are totally worthy of all the blog awards out there. However, I find myself too small to be honoring them. Diverse in their own spheres, each of the following blogs is a gem to follow, a treat to read.

Tharoorians For Change
I have made a mention of this blog earlier too (Read about here), but once again, I would like to exhort all of you to please pass a glance at the amazing, informative and enriching content this blog has to offer to its readers. Written under an responsible name, each article of this blog is an opinion expressed by people who might be policy experts of our country, even the world, tomorrow. That I am associated with it in a small way is only a matter of luck and pride. This blog is updated regularly and on topics encompassing various issues of local, national and international relevance. Do read what the change agents of tomorrow have to say.

Musing About The Muse
Even before this blog was conceived in the head of its author, I knew this was going to be a piece of sheer, bejeweled brilliance. The overtly simple layout (the kind which perhaps the peppy, jazzy element in me does not quite endorse) you will see on this blog asserts in plain terms that content is what rules here. Sukaran Thakur is one writer (and also a gifted photographer) I take pride in knowing personally, for he has a talent which won't stop till it evolves into something really big and luminous. Read this blog for basking in the pleasure of some warm, engaging, light, descriptive and beautiful stories.

The Thaumatologist
You also did not know this word? Me neither. Heck, the dictionary which runs a vigil over spelling mistakes on my blog did not. But then that is what you can expect from Sandeep Vasudevan, the author of this blog. He is a person I am positively smitten with, which he only knows too well. The glare of this man's brilliant is blinding, and so, I will stop at simply recommending this blog to worshipers of good language and quality content.

The above are three blogs I tag along with this post.

Now for seven random facts about me, I will steal a few ideas from Roshan, and add a few of my own.

1. Of late, I have begun hating books as gifts. I mean, they make for brilliant gifts, I know, but with respect to me, people have stopped thinking beyond gifting me books. And lack of thoughtfulness behind gifts is a big turn off, isn't it?
2. One of my biggest fears in life is that I would die before reading each book I have included in my wishlist. Trust my words, that list is really long, and updated almost daily.
3. Of late, I have started feeling that I am growing up. I hate the feeling.
4. I expect too much from people who are close to me, so just in case you are feeling like having me as a good, close friend, uh, take a second opinion.
5. Dharmesh Sir, from Dance India Dance Season 2, is perhaps the only reality tv star I am crazy about.
6. I am a proud Delhi Daredevil's supporter, and my favorite moment in this IPL season came on 19th April, 2012, when , during a match between Delhi and Deccan, at 1614 hours, my tweet was displayed among the top three tweets of the day! (You can follow me - @saumyakul)
7. I really think the three blogs mentioned above deserve at least a glance from all of you who are reading this post.

To end, flowers for all the lovely people reading this post! A little gay, right? Aaj ke liye chalta hai boss!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Drink With A Tzing!

Product Review- TZINGA Energy Drink

I am yet to understand in full the surprises and subtle benefits my blog can potentially send my way. While I was still trying to establish my reputation as a zealous reviewer of books, a request to review a new Energy Drink in the market caught me off guard. Happy am I to say that after being contacted in person by an enthusiastic representative from Hector Beverages, I availed this opportunity to taste and give my opinion on Tzinga- all three flavors of it.

Since I am reviewing a beverage for the first time, I feel like doing it in an organized form. Lets go step by step.

The Packaging
Quite a few times, I had seen black colored pouches of Tzinga on food kiosks while walking out of metro stations. They seemed smart, easy to carry and dispose, but I only never ventured near buying them thinking that they might be exorbitantly priced like other energy drinks across the market. That, of course, was a myth I carried, busted only recently. A thumbs up for the packaging- neat, easy, disposable, attractive- and helps save some costs too, am sure. 200 mL, the volume of pouches I received, is also a decent doze for energy drinks to be sold in. Also, the manufacturers claim this packaging is environment friendly- hence another bonus!

The Flavors
Tzinga comes in three flavors- Mango Strawberry, Tropical Trip and Lemon Mint. Besides containing caffeine, the staple of all energy drinks, this drink boasts of containing ginseng and guarana and a host of other natural ingredients. Where this drink scores heavily against its competitors is on the taste factor. Most energy drinks do not find favor with people whose taste buds play a hyperactive role in deciding what is to be injected in their system. Of the many energy drinks I have had, a certain blue colored, bottled drink I felt like throwing up because it tasted worse than the bitterest medicines I have consumed.

However, with Tzinga, the taste was a total win! A cousin I shared the drink with without telling her its name mistook it to be a fruit juice. Now, going flavor-wise,
Mango Strawberry- This was a relative disappointment. Tastes okay, a little bland but. With mango and strawberry mentioned as the key flavors, somehow, you expect a very lively combination of tastes to greet your tongue. Contrarily, a slight let down is what I felt this flavor to be.
Tropical Trip- This was the next I tasted, and it totally banished any disappointment I had with this product. Zesty is what I would call this flavor. It even leaves a nice aftertaste in your mouth.
Lemon Mint- Easily the best flavor in my opinion. The best, perhaps, to beat this cruel heat. It has the tangy element of lemon as well as the cooling taste of mint. Perfect combination for a perfectly refreshing drink for a hideously scorching afternoon.

The Kick
Well, that's what energy drinks are supposed to give you, right? I am a regular caffeine addict, surviving primarily on its most basic domestic manifestation-coffee; so I might just be incapable of gauging the kind of effect caffeine is to induce in humans. I have had 600 mL of Tzinga since the morning, and all I can say is, er, I just feel bright enough to type away happily.

The Price
The Indian middle class is obsessed with numbers. So when we are to review a product, the price tag at its back is nearly always the point at which we start. Amazing quality at exorbitant price is useless for us, average quality with cheap pricing is a boon. With Tzinga, you are getting awesome quality at an awesome price. Why I never ventured near the jazzy pouches of Tzinga displayed at food kiosks was because I assumed, wrongly of course, that they would be priced similar to other available energy drinks in the market. Not the case! 20 bucks is all you need to shell out to sip on these amazing drinks from an ambitious start-up.

If I were to give a rating, like I give to books, that would be 4.5/5.
Strongly recommended to everyone who does not have medical compulsions to avoid caffeine. Lemon Mint is going to be a staple for me now on.

(Product reviewed on request from Hector Beverages)
Know more about the product at

My favorite among all three flavors!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Entertainment, Entertainment Aur Entertainment

A Guest Post by Agransh Anand
Agransh is a cricket enthusiast, the kind who feels disillusioned by the game owing to the entertainment based extravaganza it has been made in this IPL season. You can feel this post has been written straight from the heart, and why not? A cricket fan in India is nothing if not passionate. While I was regaling myself with thumping DD wins, another fan was mulling over some obvious trickery. Here on, Agransh takes over, to take us through an IPL journey.

I have witnessed over the years that Indian movies don't make it to Oscars, and even if they do, they are not good enough to win the coveted trophy. The surprising part however is that over the past 5 years, we Indians have witnessed some great 3 hour movies and that too not just one but in huge numbers, being released every day, for a period of two months . These not only contain some world class actors and some newcomers every season, they have got the makings of a perfect thriller, the glitz, drama, pretty faces in the form of cheerleaders, emotions running high on and off the field- consistently giving us 3 hours of uninterrupted entertainment. An increasing number of followers every season have made these movies more intense, more thrilling and have surpassed the expectations of the people when they give 'I did not expect this kind of ending' time and again. This movie, my friend, is predictably, the Indian Premier League or IPL for most of us. Produced, Written and Directed by BCCI.

I had been an ardent fan of the league since its very inception. Not only did the league threw at us names of some brilliant budding cricketers, it also changed the way cricket is played all over the world. The purists of the game have always put test cricket first over every other format but it only showed that they are sulking because of the glory these cricketers are basking in and somewhere would be feeling that they had missed the bus when it came down to the money factor. Every person is entitled to making as much money as he wants to. And by putting in those extra hours between their international assignments, they were earning all that they had ever dreamt of. It also meant that hundreds of other cricketers who would never see the light of the day in the Indian team,would not be deprived of a secured financial future. In a game which had less money for cricketers as late as 15 years, back this was a welcome change everyone had been yearning for. They were getting recognition and were awards for all the hard work they had put in over the years. They were in the limelight for the right reasons, had become households names, loyal fans were cheering for them and were being given a shot at their lifetime goal of representing their country. Ranji matches had become obsolete. No longer did the traditional old rivalry between states hold any importance in either selection of cricketers or viewership of the audience. And why would it? Here in ipl you had 19 year olds sharing dressing room with legends of the game, smacking best of the bowlers around the park and getting guided by world class coaches. For someone who does not go into the nitty gritties of cricket, from a distance, IPL seemed to be a happy picture. Why would someone spend 3 hours on a senseless bollywood movie (most of them are) when he can enjoy a fantastic spectacle of cricket daily? More so, it had become a status symbol for those who went to see the matches in the stadium. For the first time ever, the female population of the country was taking an active interest in the game, even if it was out of love for Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta or Shilpa Shetty. The biggest industrialists of the country too were caught by the bug.  When Mukesh Ambani takes out time to watch the match in the stadium, you know it is something special. If you had passes to the match, you were amongst the lucky ones and if you had jugaad to the after party you were amongst the privileged ones. If your dad's firm was the sponsor of one of the team, you got immediate respect in the social circles. In totality, being associated in any form with the ipl meant big for those who were mere spectators to the drama called IPL. The league had been a success, well written, produced and directed.

However, only a few had imagined that while scripting this success story, the roles of the actors (read cricketers) were also fixed. When egos and politics get mixed with sports, the outcome becomes ugly. It hampers the very nature of sportsmanship. There are good rivalries as well as the bad ones. India-Pakistan, Ashes- these are the ones which are good for sports. When Dhoni has a spat with the vice captain of the team, it means trouble for the Indian cricket. But when Dhoni, Sehwag, Gambhir, Bhajji have their egos getting clashed against each other, it means more fun for an average cricket fan. Each of the great cricketers having a go at the other. Life would have been simpler had a healthy rivalry accompanied by some show of attitude plus display of exemplary cricketing skills minus the swearing  would have been the order of the occasion. These players had been great ambassadors of Indian cricket. Getting selected on merit has always been the key for them. All of them at different levels had shown admirable leadership qualities and had earned respect from the cricketing fraternities. The Tamasha cricket had given them another platform to display a side of theirs which one cannot see much during the international matches. And now comes the role of the director.

In movies, you can script a story according to the taste of the public. You can make the good guy triumph, show that the villain lost in the end, long lost brothers meeting again etc. In cricket however, your role ends the moment the players take the field. From thereon, its their game, their lives, their clashes. If ever anybody wanted to take lessons on event management, there is no big event in India than IPL. But just like a good event management company, they have no say in whatever happens on the stage. By putting their foot in the wrong area, IPL has not done itself any favor.

Over the years, IPL has had its share of controversies. Be it the fake blogger of the Kolkata team, the strategic timeouts which changed the course of the game within a few minutes, accusations of match fixing, parties and the latest one being spot fixing. But as  a hard core fan, I had always negated these even though I was irked by the game changing time outs at times. Yet all these factors could not hamper the very strong following of the game.

When the Chairman of the league announces at the opening ceremony that this will be the most entertaining IPL ever, you don't take those words literally. You feel that you have seen past 4 seasons and what different could the 5th one be? Half way down the tournament you realize that you were mistaken. Not only have you not seen more thrilling last over finishes, you have also seen the most number of last ball finishes. Javed Miandad's moment of glory was hitting a six of the final ball off Chetan Sharma way back in 1985 at Sharjah. At IPL, every Tom, Dick 'n' Harry was replicating that moment at will. It took me some time to realize that what does the 'Business End ' of the tournament means. It means that when TRP's will drop, you will have a sudden surge in close finishes, giving you more viewership and commercials. It means that weaker teams who started brilliantly in the tournament will fade out and never recover from their downfall (Pune). It means that if your team doesn't boast of big names, its not good enough to generate excitement amongst viewers, no matter how good the youngsters in your team are (Punjab). And it means that if the president of the BCCI is also the owner of a certain yellow jersey team, your team has every chance of qualifying through to the play-offs. It means that three matches which had to go in Chennai's way for them to make it to the next round, will go their way. It means that a team which has lost 11 of their 14 games, will suddenly strike form and knock out two probables (Rajasthan and Bangalore) from entering into the next round. Outside the IPL, it means that if you are a part of the yellow jersey team, you get an automatic entry into the Indian team, which in due course time will be called CSK extension. That no matter how bad a player you are, you will get full support of your skipper, Dhoni and will be retained time and again. That even if you are bits and pieces type cricketer, you will get auctioned for a whopping 2 million dollars when the best in the business get paid much less than you because there is skipper's backing. That IPL ego clashes will be taken to the International matches and players will be selected based on the franchise that they represent. If the Indian skipper doesnt like his Vice Captain, lads from Delhi will hold less chance compared to those who belong to Chennai and Bangalore. If anything, Ipl 5 should act as an eye opener for millions of fans around the country who get exhausted by the end of the match in a hope that their team might pull off a turn around when little do they know that the 'Business end' has already been looked after. Going to watch a match in the stadium is a day long affair for an average Indian, fighting through the traffic, trying to find a parking space and entering the stadium after battling it out at the entry gates. To play with the emotions of people is a sin. To drain people emotionally and give them a result which you wanted them to see is a crime. Its time that the BCCI understands that IPL is what it is because of the people who follow the game so passionately. Don't play with their feelings. We would be happy to see honest contests more than the tailor-made matches.

Agransh Anand
One of the many IPL fans in India. Till now, at least. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Girl Who Asked For Too Many Surprises

I wish this post were a short fiction about this little girl with mischievous gleam in her eyes and a soft, innocent smile on her face who went around asking people for gifts without specifying what she wants. But sadly enough, this post is not a story about that girl, unless a few people might think that that girl's description possibly applies to me. Does it? I don't know, but I have a queer feeling in the pit of my stomach which says that some people might agree to the above stated. Few of those some people might be the closest friends to me. Oh, and aptly enough, those are the people, and not the girl herself, who are the subject of this post.

An old wish fulfilled, due to my cousin's crazy affection for me. Thanks Tapan!
I sang, and danced, and shouted around since weeks before my birthday as to how excited I am for it. Few smiled, few scoffed, mostly people ignored. My birthdays in school days fell during holiday season and during college days fell in the exam season. In short, the timing of my birthday was a recipe for disaster for a girl who takes such keen interest in dates and looks to celebrate even the most insignificant among them. However, something special was in store for me this time around. Without waiting, like I usually did, for people to create that perfect birthday ambiance around me, I went ahead and did it on my own. I bought myself trinkets. I saved up to buy some grand gift for myself. I fooled around a lot. I allowed myself to have an impossible wishlist and secretly sneered when people thought what a perfect lampooning crackhead I am. I went out and risked things and people beyond my comfort zone. God knows what all I did in order to feel like an idiot, but a happy idiot this time around.

However, this birthday was different in many respects from the previous ones. It is not a facebook addict's typical line I steal when I say I had the best birthday ever. 'Tis true. Reasons galore, few I would like to share.

This was my first birthday where I got to see three whole cakes dedicated to me. Now that is HUGE by any standards I have set for myself in life. The cake season was on the wane in my life till it was revived this year by three very thoughtful sources-best being the one my family brought in for me.
Fruits and glaze and cream and chocolate- dad does know the best! 

A regular chocoholic, I had never quite eaten anything like this one. Oh wait, what was its name, again?
A third cake had manifested itself in front of my eyes via the people who have been a source of tremendous consistency in my life for past some years. Their presence was almost a certainty for my day, and I did revel in this lack of unpredictability. Despite having studied in a girls' college, I have had many boys as (almost) my college mates, and the ones I would specifically thank for embarrassing, but entertaining me on my birthday are- Mujeeb, Mittal, Diwakar, Namit, and Mudit. Pampered and cared for- among them I feel safe.

That one expression describes most of my expressions- but the people thanked above have much their own interpretations and sound and visual effects for the same.
An odd yet special little bond had happened to develop between my and a young student at an event I had once went as a judge-cum-chariperson to. A precocious ninth standard student sat among confident college goers and unleashed on them his intellect and oratorial skills with baffling ease. More than inside, my relationship with Anup grew outside the committee. In a very sweet gesture, from a person so far away from my immediate landscape of life, manifested itself in my inbox. Red and bright and warm. Needlessly said, I loved it!
Another surprise awaited me in my gmail inbox. It was a masterpiece of crazy creativity sent my way from a girl who has been a part of my heart ever since I can remember. Her artistry lent me, not smiles, but guffaws. In a gesture commensurate with hers, I would thank her by accepting her perceptions of me as reflected in this ingenious poster. Thanks Niyati Kochhar!
Two extremely endearing gifts came my way from the girl I call my Goddess, with whom the readers of my blog would only be too well aware. Cheistha Kochhar is one hell of a talented woman, the kind whose talents cannot be bundled together in a single category or genre. On demand, she got me a painting and a flower arrangement she herself assembled. Here is a glimpse of them both.

As weird as it might sound, but I have never gotten something which can lexically be described as a surprise on my birthday. This time, hence, I went around telling people to surprise me. For once, I am glad that the only girl I did not ask to surprise me took my words seriously. Cheistha brought together few of my dearest friends to create what would remain my favorite memory from all the recent events. As I was still absorbing the presence of Pallak Jagga (the sunshine, as friend better than the best) around me, I was greeted by two nonchalant figures waiting for me at a restaurant table, one of whom was supposedly sick and another out of town. Saurabh and Rohan were perhaps all I needed to make the celebrations not just complete, but special. From these two, a few things still remain due.

Two cups of coffee later, when I was finally returning home in the metro, thinking that the best is now over, a brawl broke out in the metro coach I was traveling in. A twisted middle aged men was hurling abuses in front of his daughter and wife over the occupation of a seat at an older and more decent couple. When I might have felt bitter and angry or scared, I felt happy for having witnessed a scene in which right and like-minded set of people came together to support the ones being humiliated by the abuse-spouting uncle. I smiled inwardly and decided to thank everyone, aside from those bold but polite people in the metro, who made sure I was happy on the day I most wanted to be.

Tarique and Sumit and Gopan- Thanks for all the pampering.
Cheistha- Thanks for just being yourself
Pallak- Your one smile is enough, but thanks for a long familiar hug.
Mudit and Diwakar- Thanks for getting me paintings in the perfect color.
Mittal and Namit- Thanks for creating an Awww Moment
Saurabh- Thanks for just coming. And the two cups of coffee.
Tapan- As I said, thanks for the crazy affection, a frame and a new friend.
Rohan- For smiles, and pleasantness, cheesiness and that refreshingly fresh tone of yours.
Manan Bhaiya- Thanks for the consistency in taking my wishes seriously.
And Mujeeb- Thanks, for too much to be simply put in words.

"Reach high,
For the stars lie hidden in your soul.
For every dream precedes a goal."
-Cheistha Kochhar

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Asocial Networking by Dhiraj Kumar- A Review

Admittedly, I am not a big reader of non fiction books, except for an occasional biography or political treatise. However, when I received a request to review a book which themed around the phenomenon of Social Networking, I immediately leapt at it. The reason was simple. I am old school at heart, and though at first I felt baffled by the pervasiveness of the phenomenon of social networking, I could not ignore the many bounties it brought into our lives. However much I tried otherwise, I could not stay away from its influence. Slow and forth, I figured out for myself that there are some changes, evolutionary ones, which man cannot resist or block.

Anyhow, still reeling under angst caused by those of my friends buried deep into the screens of their handsets with a juvenile fascination, and missing out on personalized birthday wishes from all those heartless, too-busy-to-be-true entities who preferred posting an impersonal message on my fb wall rather than simply (thoughtfully) calling me up, I agreed to read this book to secure a kind of vindication for myself. Vindicated, I was; though not in as charming a way as I had imagined.

The Asocial Networking is author Dhiraj Kumar's debut book. Mr. Kumar is an engineering graduate, who has written this book with an unmistakable but untamed passion. The book, more than being a treatise on the phenomenon of social networking, is a collection of 150 essays by the author which reflect his convictions and disenchantment regarding the virtual life. In essence, the book is a 'real versus virtual' debate. It criticizes, in an unabashed, scathing tone, the enslavement of human kind which social networking has brought about. With deep understanding and research on the matter, the author tries to convey to the reader the commercial propaganda which the collective humanity has fallen prey to, the kind which has made them give up a need for 'real' existence. However, this book has many failings, which at least left the keen learner in me dissatisfied.

My journey with this book was rocky. I have an erratic style of reading, which includes reading prologues and epilogues before the main body of the text. Thanks to that habit, I could go through a very endearing and humble 'disclaimer' by the author at the back. He points out that this book might not satisfy the need for an intellectual or informed read. Curiously enough, after arousing a decent degree of interest, the disclaimers by the author come eerily true.

While Mr. Kumar does good to begin with a very comprehensive description of the social networking phenomenon, his narrative, discontinuous and even incoherent at places, loses steam rather quick. I felt that the enthusiasm with which the author expresses his disapproval of networking websites comes out vibrantly and influentially in the first few essays. Why there is a need to drag the same thing, reiterated over and over again, to about 150 passages is beyond me to comprehend. The book criticizes, but fails to develop a balanced critique of the most pervasive of all forces our generation has been witness to.

The potential in the concept of the book was amazing. But rather than banking on mock generalizations, some case studies- negative and positive- would've aided a reader's imagination enormously. Very often I felt frustrated with the author's disdainful tone and even absurd conjectures about the the social behavior which emanates from a person's virtual life. An apt instance could be where, by understanding the psyche behind 'likes' and 'comments', the author develops a prognosis as to who might be 'true' friends for us in life. His categorization of bisexuals under 'perverts' who saunter into the virtual space at night was a disturbing opinion, especially for me, whose entire network claims to be nocturnal. Also, deeply unfair to the whole concept of the book was to make 'facebook' synonymous to 'social networking'. Less, negligible attention has been drawn towards other, related and unrelated websites, which might not be as big on membership as facebook, but which definitely would've aided to the understanding of the psychology behind online interactions, which is precisely what the author has intended to do. Strong, vocal, repetitive and insistent- that is how I might surmise Dhiraj's whole work. Uncompromising on his views might be another attribute I forgot to mention.

Besides being discontinuous, the flow also is hindered by some ill-placed, incomprehensible and plain absurd passages inserted at some places.. Frustration with numbers and amusement at common names were two articles which woke me up in the course of a sleepy narrative, not too pleasantly. However, for me, the greatest failing of this book, which perhaps forced me to abandon it much before it neared its end, was the sharp, one sided, severely unbalanced opinion it dictates. Almost no appreciation, even as a saving grace, appeared anywhere till what I read, of this omnipresent, insidious devil of social networking- if I am to go by the author's view. Despite proudly proclaiming myself as a girl who revels in little beauties the real, old-school world has to offer, I have myself witnessed many positive attributes of, say, facebook. And one of these positives I derive from Dhiraj's own narrative. He does mention about the equality with which we are treated on online social forums. This, I have seen to be a blessing for specially abled section of our population.

That aside, I will still laud the author for being able to give lucid words to his convictions and coming out in the open to express a sentiment that evidently goes against the popular tide. As much as is presented is well researched, but exaggerated. The language seems superb at first, but too much repetition kills it later. If I were to rate this book, it would be two on five stars- these two for the effort and understanding and few insights in the book which make you sit up and ruminate. Even if an exaggerated outburst, nothing of what Dhiraj writes falls beyond the realm of reality.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kill Her!

”The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl’  ”– Shirley Chisholm

Almost all of us had earmarked an hour today morning to watch the eagerly looked forward to show on Star Plus- Satyamev Jayate. The perfectionist, Aamir Khan, had done the perfect job of creating enough curiosity and excitement around this show. This man, besides knowing the best tricks of the marketing department, knows one more thing- how never to disappoint his audience. Today was no different. Giving cynics their space, this show turned out to be a fresh, rejuvenating delight! For once, something on television was doing more than merely entertaining. Someone was here to educate us, stir us, talk to us, and to make us act.

Aamir Khan, for whatever his haloed status in filmdom be, left his star image back home. For this show, stars were the people coming forth to share their stories. The show kicked off with the first issue as Female Foeticide. And did they miss out on anything in their entire packaging of this issue? Did they miss out on any angle to give this issue a comprehensive treatment? No! Beginning with stories of struggle to stories of success, and culminating in actions planned for future- the first episode had me on the edge each moment. And also much of India I guess. May be that is why, a solid two hours after the show, 9 of the top 10 trending topics on twitter are related to Satyamev Jayate- #smj, #satyamevjayate, Aamir Khan, SMS Y to 5782711, swanand kirkire, DD National, Star Plus, Female Foeticide and may be a few more.

The masterstroke, as has been concurred by many, with this show was to air it on DD National. If the cause is to reach the masses, how can the still most widely watched television network be ignored. The stories today reached people about whom they were.

From delving into statistics, to hearing from superwomen like Amisha, Parveen and Mitu- foeticide was  discussed at length, but without any ridiculous melodrama. According to me, the high point of the show was where Aamir brought out a fact which very few of us know and understand. Foeticide does not exist as a persistent social evil in just the lower, rural or less educated classes. It is rampant among the higher echelons of modern metropolitan cities like Delhi. As a practice is began in Government hospitals to 'filter' out the population from girls. So, where as education is supposed to empower and instruct masses against these hideous crimes, we came to know of a family of doctors and academics who thought it fit to kick an underweight daughter down the stairs when the mother did not allow her to be killed in the womb. And this is only one story which came out. I know of at least twenty more, within my own family, which reek of gender disparity in grotesque odors.

He said it all, but one more thing I would like to reiterate here is the painful prick my heart felt when I saw video clips of a sting operation conducted by two firebrand journalists across Rajasthan on doctors who facilitated and encouraged annihilation of a life within the womb of a woman if it suited the interests of their pockets well. A WOMAN doctor could talk about taking out an underdeveloped, but a breathing girl from the womb of a woman, and SUGGESTING that she be BURIED somewhere since she could not merely be THROWN away. Such are the people who are thought to be messiahs of life. A campaign has been launched to urge Rajasthan government to set up a fast track court for prosecuting these ugly doctors who still are practicing without any action being taken against them. If you still have not, please sms Y to 5782711 to support the campaign.

Also, I do not think all the emotions I felt while watching the show would be vented out here till I do not recall the lyrics of a beautiful song which Swanand Kirkire and Ram Sampath (two of the most talented musicians in our country at present, firmly) presented to give an echoing end to a haunting first episode of Satyamev Jayate. Much beauty and much depth is enshrined in these few words. May be you will read in between the lines and understand what they seek to convey.

O Ri Chidaiya

O ri chidaiya
Nanhi si chidiya
Angna mein phir aa ja re

Andhiyara hai ghana
Aur lahoo se sana
Kirnno ke tinke
Ambar se chunke
Angna mein phir aa ja re

Humne Tujhpe hazaaron sitam hain kiye
Humne tujhpe jahaan  bhar ke zulm kiya
Humne socha nahi tu jo ud jayegi
Yeh zameen tere bin sooni reh jayegi
Kiske dum pe sajega mera angna...

Tere pankhon mein saare sitaare jadoon
Teri choonar dhanak satrangi bunoo
Tere kaajal mein main kaali raina banoon
Teri mehendi mein main kachchi dhoop maloon
Tere naino saja doon naya sapna...

If you missed the show, please check out this link.

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Gift

For about a month now, I have been posting the most impossible, insane and ludicrously self-advertising birthday wishlist on twitter, much to the annoyance of my twitter followers, I am sure. My birthday is still 14 days away, but I like making my demands much in advance. So I did. However, nothing beats the charm of subtle surprises that come your way to make you feel nice, revived and loved. There came my way a sweet picture surprise from my dear friend (My Goddess). Though I share this picture with many more recipients and it isn't exactly a slice for my birthday, I am still taking the liberty of officially considering it my first gift and posting the same here. Cheistha, who very thoughtfully shared this picture with exquisite words with me, is slightly more than a mere inspiration for me. But what that 'more' might be, I am yet to understand.

Ridiculous. I was supposed to have kept dumb and shared the picture. Look at me! Can never get enough of words.

Here is, what I pompously declare as my first gift from a dear friend. The irony, unfortunately, is true, as I have been explained today.