Monday, December 22, 2008


It was the mid nineties, and as I was creeping up from meekness to hit the point of I know everything, my mind was seduced by one of the most romantic tunes of the decade, churned out by AR Rahman. The heroine draped in a beautiful saree, in typical South Indian style, coupled with the beautiful Kashmir background, all in glittering white snow, lent a sensuous touch to the whole romantic moment. The song and the settings went on to become a rage. Every young lad wanted to be the hero, and obviously, the lasses yearned to be loved in such an environment. It was all beautiful, and life was certainly more so. My heart and mind were reverberating with When will I experience such a moment in the snow?

Fast forward the situation by fifteen years, and I can only think of one thing, What the hell are they doing dancing around in that snow. She is just draped in a saree, and the hero is wearing a sweater; the clothes, no way sufficient by any means. Forget the romance, forget the song and dance sequence, all that I can conjure at that instant is to flee as quickly as possible, and find the nearest shelter. I no more care about such a romantic setup, and forget seduction, only dread, awe and terror can strike the romantic couple. In the current cinematic setup, and with the economic slowdown, the heroines reveal more than what they conceal. Maybe it has got to do with the textile industry too being hit by the slump, and our great directors are taking advantage of the situation. So, in such a case, it becomes hard to take your eyes away from the heroine and examine the surroundings. That's a discussion maybe I should take up on my blog some other time.

Last week was terror personified. It was as though each day was having a competition with the previous, as to which one is going to win the battle of the sub zero temperatures. The temperature was falling like the NASDAQ, the peak being well below zero. In such a scenario, I dread even to think about the troughs. Added to the traumatic effect of the abysmally low centigrade, one has to cope up with the outrageously painful wind chill factor. Imagine, at a temperature of -20 degree Celsius, one has to bear the speedy winds at about 10 or 15 miles an hour. It is worse in Chicago, and on east coast, all the more. On Sunday, I just had to park my car, climb about twenty steps from my parking spot, and get into the house. My hands had frozen, and as soon as I got home, I felt as if I was experiencing the warm effects of the sauna without even raising the temperature of the heater. The feeling of staying outdoors was equivalent to being locked in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, with the chillness factor magnified by five times. One of the worst moments, according to me, is to walk down to your car in the morning, and as your jeans makes contact with the chillness of the seat inside the car, it is as though, you are paying for your sins, in fifty births before this and fifty after this. Traumatic, truly traumatic!

Anyway, being in the mid-west or the east, you have to get used to this, as all of us cannot experience the warmth of the steady west coast weather. For the time being, let me forget all this, and expose myself to the snowy romantic song that I was referring to, Pudhu vellai mazhai, from Roja. Let me soak the effect, minus the snow, of course!!!

PS: Happy holidays!

Monday, December 08, 2008

What a victory!

What a victory! What a victory!!! I not only could see the excitement in his voice, but also in his whole body language. He was running around as though India had just won the world cup (Cricket, of course, not soccer!). For a second, I was confused and had to check up whether I was on the right website. This, neither was entertainment news and neither did it have anything to do with sports.

Anyway, I was watching the Assembly election results in six states held across different parts of India. After watching election news all these years,, I can still safely say, without any presumptions, that Prannoy Roy was simply the best in business - calm, composed, and perfect to the point, with a good team of political analysts. Now, with the advent of time, and with the advancement in technology, there is so much access to statistics online, that anything and everything is just a click of a button away. But, those days, to compile everything methodically from different sources, was more like a salesman job, running from one house to another. Today, as media has become over hyped, and always in the region of over the top reporting, the style and class of the traditionalists can still not be surpassed.

So, as my friends and I tuned into one of the channels, and saw the ultra biased reporting, it was difficult for us to fathom the fact that journalism had become so one sided. There is a thin line between reporting and taking sides, and it required no Einstein to figure out which way the analysis, if that's the term you need to use, was headed. It was just half an hour since the results started pouring in, and we were really not sure who was more excited, whether the winning party or the channel. It was as though the party spokesperson was relaying the news of the election results.

Oh, X is winning by a landslide in state Y. So, we can definitely go on to say that X is forming the government in Y without any question. After a few minutes, as the gap closes in, it was equally amusing to hear the statement. Oh, We have no doubt that X is definitely heading to be the single largest party and is all set to form the government with the help of others.

As a neutral observer, the bias was easy to notice, and on an equal footing, totally disconcerting. From time memorial, there has always been some sort of an unspoken relationship between the media and those involved in the political circles. It was visible, but not explicit, as the print media, apart from a few scribes, were careful to disguise their affinity in well worded terms. Some of the brilliant journalists made sure that they conveyed their views in apolitical terms. That truly is straight from the heart journalism. But today, as the hype beyond proportions, reaches almost all sections of the society, it is disheartening to note that media has become vocal in a completely parochial sense.

After a few minutes, we were dying to change the channel, and as one of my friends rightly said, At least for the sake of this guy, I want party X to be vanquished in all states. And, if you have been following the election results even vaguely, you don't need to be a brilliant political analyst to figure out the protagonists.