Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 States - the story of my marriage

We have probably read quite a number of novels by foreign authors. But something that is most appealing is when we can relate to our life the most. And Chetan Bhagat is a writer who gives novels that relates to our lives some way or the other. Of all the books he has written so far, this I would say will be more appealing to a specific group of Indians, the Punjabis', the Tamizhs' and IIM-A grads. I was excited to read the synopsis, and the umpteen number of comments that the author received for his latest book "2 States - The Story Of My Marriage". And the more surprising part is that he has dedicated this book to his in-laws himself having been in a situation similar to the storyline in the book.

Too much being already written about the book, I assume this is just yet another review. There are some notable areas of the book to which some of us can relate to:
1. IIM-A
2. Tamizh Brahmins (Non-brahmins can also equally relate to it, in my opinion)
3. Punjabis' ( I guess North Indians can generally relate to it; I am not sure though)
4. Citibank (Not sure what it is to be actually in Citibank, though)

The plot begins with life at IIM-A. Krish (Krish Malhotra) and Ananya (Ananya Swaminathan) begin their journey at IIM-A. Ananya is described as beautiful and attractive who has already received 10 proposals even at the start of her life at IIMA. Krish and Ananya meet up, become friends, and then fall in love with each other. Life at IIMA has the usual college sequence. Krish secures a job at Citibank(posted to Chennai) and Ananya at HLL (Chennai).

As Chetan has rightly portrayed in this novel, in India, marriage is not just a union of two hearts, but the union of two families. So here they are struggling a battle to win the hearts of both the parents. It is an interesting journey which the couple take to reach their goal.

The author has rightly described the way a North Indian would feel about South India. And the mindset of a South Indian home is just perfect in its description. Krish was diplomatic in dealing with Ananya's family and winning each of their hearts. The Punjabi families' description was fun to read, but I could hardly acknowledge the description to the truth behind me being a Tamilian.

Something that made me think was the way the people think. India would become lot better if inter-religious marriages can happen. A change in the mindset of people is a definite necessity today. There is a lot of importance given to complexion and money in the north while I felt these are not just the only two elements that will decide happiness in a family. The South Indians are more worried about the culture and their community being modified.

This book as many have already pointed out, is in a ready-to-be-made movie format. If only this could be made into a successful movie, people might end up learning what exactly is lacking in India that would make it a better country to live in. Living amidst numerous cultures and being tolerant towards each other is good; people should also realize that we are 'One India' and love is definitely above location/religion/appearance. True Love can win over any hard circumstances, if determined.

'We are Indians first' and only then S.Indians/N.Indians and Hindus/Sikhs etc. When India wakes up to this truth and lives together as a nation readily accepting other religions/culture amongst the families themselves, India will rise up to the status of being a truly secular country.

The book brings in this point from Krish and Ananya's conversation every now and then. The novel ends on a positive note, saying the future will live in a state named 'India' and not Punjab or Tamil Nadu. This is the kind of attitude that every Indian should develop.

The book is for light entertaining reading. Grab a cup of coffee, sit on your favorite couch, relax with a bit of music and get ready for the latest youth entertainer that Chetan has given us.

Chetan has become one of my favorite writers now given the fact that he writes stuff that we can personally relate to our lives, be it college education, hostel life, or approaching parents seeking for acceptance of love and being 'Indian'.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Lifetime Experience....

It was the second Sunday of October, 2009; a sizzling afternoon. We had our ‘donor passes’ ready for the most awaited show of AR Rahman, in his own home land. This spectacular event was proposed to happen on the grounds of MARG Swarnabhoomi, which is close to a hundred kilometers from the place I reside in Chennai. Buses were arranged for pick up and drop at various points in the city and Cuddalore and Pondichery. I personally felt, had it not been for the transport arrangements, it would have been really tough to reach the location, for it took 2.5 hours nonstop.
Ok! Let me tell you, this is the first ever live concert in Chennai after Rahman won the coveted Oscar award. This is a part of Rahman’s ‘Jai Ho World Concert’ tour. The proceeds of this event would be used by Shakthi Foundation and Rahman Trust to help the handicapped children.
We were 8 in number, who gathered at Adyar to take the bus from there. It was fun fun all the way to Swarnabhoomi. Though the gang was full of strangers, we built a quick resonance that added to the fun. We started from Adyar at 2:30 pm and reached the spot at 5:00 pm. We then witnessed what I would call an awe-inspiring set up, seating for an approximate 80000 people. We took the 500/- donor pass and happened to sit at quite a distance from the stage. The stage had a baffling arrangement enough to attract every audience. Slowly the crowd gathered, and by 6:30 pm the grounds were full. I was dumbfounded to see so many people from different parts of the country and even foreigners all waiting to see the ‘Mozart of Chennai’, AR Rahman. He is truly a ‘genius’. The estimated number was around 30000 but I believe the actual number was galactic.
The crowd was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the most celebrated genius in music.
People excited the energy levels of the crowd by shouting and dancing. We had a 2.5 hour wait before Rahman arrived. The team consisted of close to 80 performers, including Rahman, Sivamani, Hariharan, Sadhana Sargham, Tanvi Shah, Rashid Ali, Benny Dayal, Blaaze and others.

The concert commenced at 7:30 pm when the huge crowd applauded Rahman with all enthusiasm. I was almost tired by the time the concert began, but seeing Rahman on stage, my energy levels boosted up. I was there in the midst of the huge crowd listening to Rahman begin the concert singing Jaage Hain (Ore Kanna) from Guru. The excitement in the crowd stepped up on listening to Rahman and trying to get a glimpse of him. Rahman quickly gave the number Khalbali. This was followed by ‘Athiradee’ from the tamizh movie ‘Shivaji’, all these performed by Rahman himself.
Rahman quickly got on a crane and moved up to make it easier for his fans to see him better, simultaneously singing. It gave a stupefying effect to the audience. Rahman reads the mind of his myriad fans. He gave a right mix of fast and slow numbers to excite the entire audience. The next number was the super hit ‘Kadhal Rojave’ rendered to the audience by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Next in line was Delhi6 rendered by Benny Dayal, Tanvi and others.
Next in line was ‘style’ from Shivaji followed by one from Slumdog Millionaire. Next came the most stimulating number ‘Konjam Nilavu’ from the tamizh movie ‘Thiruda Thiruda’ which charged up the energy levels of every audience. This was followed by ‘Ringa ringa’ from Slumdog Millionaire, yet another energizing performance. This was followed by the latest ‘Fiqraana’ from the movie ‘Blue’ and ‘Dil Se Re’ from Bombay. As for me, music can make a person or break a person. My mood swings with music quickly. I was enraptured listening to all my favorites live in front of me. It is indeed true that music is miraculous. The atmosphere was turning more energetic and waiting to take in more. Now came ‘Jashn-e-Bahara’ from Jodha Akbar. Drawn by the fascinating music, the audience was cheering up with high spirits.

Imagine the rise in enthusiasm, all ARR music lovers, when ‘Snegithane’(Chup Ke Se) is being performed live on stage! I was hypnotized listening to this song, one of my all time favourites. Next came the rendition of ‘Mausam and Escape’ by Rahman himself. Rahman made sure he satisfied each one of the umpteen number present then listening to his music. Next came in Rahman’s own voice, ‘tu bole main boloon’. We were all enchanted by what we were witnessing, for it is an experience of a lifetime.
‘Tamizha Tamizha’ from Roja in Hariharan’s voice. Believe me, this song at a situation where thousands of Indians, have gathered together, is sure to bring in the patriotic spirits. The entire crowd stood up with a lot of audience waving the national flag to celebrate the moment to the fullest.
This was followed by ‘Uyire uyire’ (tu he re) from Bombay by Hariharan.
I was expecting ‘Kabhi Kabhi aditi zindagi’ and was almost disappointed for it was not performed so far. And then Rahman, as he always reads people’s mind, gave this piece sung by Rashid Ali. I was overwhelmed with joy hearing it. Then followed ‘Rehna Tu’, which is one of his best, from the original performers. Guess what! Next came ‘Taxi Taxi’ the all time favorite among the youth today. This was followed by ‘Mayya Mayya’ from Guru.
This was followed by a break for around 15 to 20 minutes when Rahman handed over a sum of 1 crore to Shakthi Foundation and Rahman Trust. I was so disappointed thinking that the show was over. And then said Rahman,”The best is yet to come”. The whole crowd felt so delighted and jumped with joy.
Rahman was at his best when he sung the number ‘Azeem O Shan Shahenshah’ from Jodha Akbar. The crowd was lured by the perfection in his moving from ‘Azeem O Shan’ to Rukumani theme from Roja and then gradually moved to Veerabaandi Kotayile from ‘Thiruda Thiruda’. Rahman is simply the best. It was such a beautiful transformation that was being performed. Rahman was all dressed in a white with green lighting on the stage as he rendered to the audience, ‘Khwaaja mere Khwaaja’. It was such a beautiful match of the stage d├ęcor and his way of singing. I personally felt, it was an amazing performance.
Any live concert, I feel is incomplete without Chithra on stage. I was thwarted not seeing her on stage, and that too, in a concert by Rahman. Then came the surprise. She was there, singing my favorite, ‘Kannalane’ from Bombay with Hariharan. The crowd was once again in high spirits when listening to the melody rendered by Chithra. She didn’t stop with just one, she performed ‘Jiya Jale’ as a follow up to Kannalane. I was doubly excited.
This excitement was not let to fade away, when Hariharan and Rahman were there rendering ‘Ay Hairathe’ from Guru. This was followed by ‘Aye Bachchuu’ from Ghajini.
The concert came almost to a close with the third last of the performances being ‘Mustafa Mustafa’ from Kadhal Desam. It was astounding to see the huge crowd of delirious Rahman fans stand up and wave their hands respecting the worthiness of friendship. The song is surely a masterpiece which will remain the favorite of all people who respect friendship as one of the most important relationships in life. I was overwhelmed with joy to be a part of such a huge crowd giving an enthusiastic recognition for friendship.
This was followed by ‘Humma Humma’ from Bombay which is a super hit even till today. It was made even more enjoyable with Blaaze moving around with his part of music in.
Now came his masterpiece, and the concert was coming to a close.
Yes! You guessed it right, it is ‘Jai Ho’ which saw an all charged up crowd going high in spirits. The atmosphere was made astonishingly festive, with colorful fireworks filling the sky. Any Indian would have surely felt high levels of patriotism at that juncture.
It was a feeling beyond explanation to be part of those moments with Rahman in the midst of us. I was let down because I didn’t see Rahman’s ‘Vande Mataram’ coming. I am sure a lot of people in the crowd would have felt that.
Rahman knew that was what his fans were expecting, when he quickly changed from Jai Ho to ‘Vande Mataram’. Guys! I should tell you, it was an amazing feeling when all this happened. As I write, I can still feel and relish those last moments of the concert.
Rahman gave a perfect finish to the awe-inspiring concert. Rahman is undoubtedly a ‘genius’ who will stay in the hearts of millions of people for the joy he brings in all our hearts.
As for our gang, we enjoyed the whole show with a lot of energy, and had fun. One little issue which if rectified would have made the show perfect was the volume of the vocals. The volume of the music was so high or the volume of the vocals was low. As for the first half, we had a tough time unable to hear the singer properly.
Eliminating the little flaw which we felt was evened out by Rahman’s performance, the concert was one in a million. I was enthralled and still feel the same. Hats off to the ‘Maven’.
Picture Courtesy: ;

Monday, October 5, 2009

After a long break....

Am back after a longggggggggggg breakkkk..... The above is the latest of my hands on colors...

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Technology vs Relationship

The world is small! Technology has taken us to so much of comfort levels. Emails, messaging, voicemails, etc. etc. etc. There are really wonderful means that technology has given us this day to communicate. This era, we dont have to worry about keeping in touch with people.
18 years ago... I remember my parents writing long letters to their parents and friends thus communicating with each other. And I remember them reading the reply letters they get with all happiness and satisfaction. And I remember them making STD calls to connect to them through voice, once in a month. That was the time when the STD call rates were quite high for a normal salaried family.
Today... I can see my parents communicating with their parents almost everyday over the phone. I can see them refreshed and happy once the conversation is over. What a tremendous change to be witnessed in 20 years!?!
Long phone conversations once in 2 months seems like a memory of the past. Today, we feel we don't have to worry about communication, for we have emails and messages to help us (Atleast the current generation!!! ) But is it true?! Do we really communicate? Do we really get to know each other's well being frequently?
These days, messaging has replaced 'phone calls' which is not a really good sign of developing technology vs relationships. We consider ourselves really busy to spare time for a phone call. Sometimes, we key in text messages now and then, and yes, thats the end of it. And the frustrating part is, when we message people, some of us don't even care to reply back. Only when we sit back and think do we realize how much it hurts. It induces an feeling of unappreciated, unacknowledged hurt.
We do work/study for long hours and most of us understand that the other is busy. Truely, these days, I have stopped expecting calls from my dear ones only because, they might be busy. Having said this, I would have a fantastic feeling when my friends/relatives spare some time to talk to me. I too don't do it though. Today morning, I happened to talk to my schoolmate, who is my best friend, after a month's time. It was a great feeling to interact with her after a considerable interval. That is when I figured out that there is always a difference, between messaging and calling.
I still see some of my friends who constantly message us just to keep us informed. And some of it becomes chain messaging, chatting through messages. In the midst of our so called busy schedule, it is really nice to key in chain messages which will make us really happy.
And when all this is still available, don't forget to give your friends a phone call when you have some time. Many of my friends have expressed their frustration about not talking to them. Text messaging is there for us, when we need to give some information and that should never become a substitute for voice communication (not voice mail though .. lol). Though technology has gifted us with lots of comfort means, let us remember to call our dear ones once in a while and talk to them which is an essential ingredient of any relationship. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friendship with a Virtual Smile

I happened to read this article on

Here is the link:

I wonder if the world will ever recover from internet-sickness!!!!

This article immediately caught my eyes, the title being so sensitive. I too had been sick for quite a long time, say a year with internet. Internet overtook my senses, when the world seemed close to me. There was a period in my life when I used to gather new friends on social networks like Orkut for hours together. Somehow, this hunt for friends suddenly halted and now I know what is true and what isnt. I still have real good friends on the internet, whom I have not even met, but who come forward to help me at any point of time in my life.

Now that I am out of college, where we gain new friendships, social networks have become a gateway for me to interact and keep in touch with my old friends. I know what they do, when they update their profile or send messages. Whatever be it, people kind of stick to social networks to keep in touch with friends. A lot of my school and college mates remain in touch not through phones, not through frequent visits but through these social networks. 

These days, social networks are taking a new dimension with the coming of professional networks. Professional networks like LinkedIn are bringing people who want to make friends in their professional network, and I personally feel, it is nice to know people from various professional areas and understand the other side of business. They remain good friends too!

My opinion is, when we are left to interact with friends on the web for the first time through social networks, we fail to understand the dangers that come with it. There may be fake profiles out there trying to fool the others on the network, and there are cases, where it was too late when they realized and fell in deep trouble. I mean to say that there always is a difference between the people whom we meet personally and those whom we meet online. 

Though we have a lot of interaction and new friends on the web, we should think fair enough to accept the reality of life. We should spare time to go out and meet our real or rather physical friends like we spend time to interact with the virtual friends or 'still not met' friends from the web.

The last line of the article was catchy. Quoting it, 'It is friendship without a smile -- or at best with a virtual smile -- and certainly without an embrace. Is it less real, then? As someone from a heritage which speaks of degrees of Reality in Vedanta or Change as the only permanent state in Buddhism, how can I say that the virtual is less real than the physical?'