Friday, October 07, 2011

She never cried

My earliest memories of my maternal grandmother (beeji) were eating her vegetarian savories, her mild reprimand of my handwriting and her 40's style spectacles.

She was a typical immigrant from West Punjab, Kasur to be exact. They had lost everything in Partition and then after coming to Delhi, she lost more. Her husband died when she was in late thirties. Story goes that she started operating coal trading business from walled city premises in Delhi, turned around a sinking business and when her children started getting married, sold the business away. At slightly less than 5 feet, with small build that she had, I still cant visualize her working in a coal trading shop, let alone managing the entire business from manpower to trade deals to procurement. But my beeji was tough as steel, strong willed woman who seemed rooted in her belief that education is the only way for her children to get out of the rut that circumstances that forced them to be in.

Misery did not leave her after her children got married off and an estranged relationship with her son ensured that she was forced to live with her 3 daughters, in turns. It is ironic that a person of her caliber could not avoid financial dependence but then more astute people have been guilty of gaffe or two. This was her sole blemish as far as i can remember.

As a grandparent, she was awesome. She could teach me and my cousins all subjects till we were in 5th standard. She had studied till 8th (she was born in 1919) , but I can bet my life that she could have easily been a post graduate in these times. She kept a sharp eye on our studies - her constant reprimand was - "saare majboona (subjects) wich number change laine ne" which was in response my asymmetrical report card which always showed variance away from languages.

Born into a progressive khatri family, she was more of spiritual person than a religious one. I did not see her spending time in front idols, instead she would wake up at 4 and meditate silently. Though she did not articulate it, she to my knowledge was a firm believer of faith being a private matter. Till the day, I find her to more progressive than the next generation or for that matter one after that.

Her last few years were very miserable, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Slow but steady decline into dementia followed. It was very ironic to see her lose control, especially since I had always seen her composed and firmly in command as far as her life was concerned. She used to tease me that I had got cavity in my molar at the age of 21 while she had full set of 32 at 80.

In 2007, she quietly passed away in my mother's arms.

I was not around, and I wept like a baby on her "chautha". I do miss her much, but I do not cry whenever I think about her. Just as she never cried when faced with adversity in her life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review - Shaitan
If you love cinema of Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and always wanted to see how counter culture in an Indian city looks like, this movie will not disappoint.

Lot of people will try to compare it with Dev D - another favorite of mine. Similarities are palpable, though soul of the cities (Delhi and Bombay) make a crucial difference. Twenty and Thirty year olds have been guzzling western cinema to watch mind bending, counterculture and any thing which falls under an overarching dysfunctional genre. Here comes our savior, setting is desi, relevant and most of all very realistic.

Kalki is as usual is surreal, while other female in the pack Sheetal Menon does not do bad job. But the most badass of the characters is played by Shiv Pandit - waiter, crack dealer, the only urchin amongst the upper class brats. Getting Rajat Barmecha to play a teen coke dealer in making is also superb. Highest point of the movie comes in second half with Tarantino like gunfight with
remix of Khoya Khoya Chand playing in the background.

Dont watch the movie if you dont like gore, blood and dark characters. For the rest of us, this movie is a godsent present. Hope Bejoy Nambiar (Director) give us more such gems in future.

Amen to that.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sitting on the left corner of the Auto I noticed...

A biker, caressing his hands on the chrome and taking a good look at the journey ahead. And I wondered if I would ever follow my dreams.

A retired man, sitting on his balcony with a dozen newspapers around him to read. And I wondered if he has enough money or I would ever have enough time.

School children crossing the road in their dark brown school uniforms, eager to take on whatever comes today. And I wondered if they will play during their games period and whether school has a library or not.

Construction for a multi-storeyed building going on at full swing with eastern immigrants getting into their act. And I wondered if they will make my home one day as well.

We were waiting for an unusually long time at a red light. And I wondered if i have waited longer than required for things that do not matter.

Driver's photo identity card which pictured him in his best clothes. And I wondered if lanes in his locality are as wide and as clean as this road.

Sitting on the left corner of the Auto, I wondered if I would notice so much if she was besides me.