Friday, December 30, 2005


Nav Varsh ki Shubhkamnaayein!

All right guys, am off tonight for Pune, to bring in 2006 in the city where I spent two of the happiest years of my life (my MBA)! May the Force be with all of you! Be honest to yourself, be fair, and make merry throughout the year!


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Dilli Dilwaalon Ki

Dear Diary,

I returned from Delhi yesterday morning, and still haven't recovered from the hangover. During the 3 days that I was there, I realized how much I missed my hometown, and how happy that city makes me, especially in the amazing winters! Along with the cold winters come a lot of fringe benefits- Hot street food tastes much better, you get to eat peanuts while lazing in the sun, many seasonal fruits and vegetables like radish and oranges are available, the days become much shorter and it gets extremely foggy(a benefit if you enjoy the cold), you can enjoy Vodka or Rum better... I could go on andon!

Well, the trip itself was extremely hectic but great fun. The flight was 2 hours late, so I reached Delhi at 2 AM, and home at 2.30. The fog started the night I reached Delhi. Left early morning and was on the road till 8 at night along with ouroutdoors agency, travelling across the length and breadth of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, and Ghaziabad, selecting outdoors sites. Saw parts of Delhi that I did'nt even know existed, would have seen more places that I had seen cumulatively in Delhi till date. Well, slight exagerration, but you get the picture!That night, went to a friend's place and we went out in the cold to eat some street food. Had delicious aalu-tikki and aalu chaat. Relived my growing up years!!!

Worked throughout the day on Saturday, and in the evening(Christmas eve), went to catch up with some old friends, with whom I was sharing a placewhen I was working in Nagpur. Had a marvellous time, drinking and singing throughout the night! Haven't laughed that much ina long time!

On my last day in Delhi, i.e. Sunday, I fulfilled another long-pending dream- I travelled by the Delhi Metro. When I left Delhi4 years ago, it was still being constructed, and for the last couple of years since it has been in operation, I've never been able to travel by one. This time,I had to look at some Branding options on Metro stations so I went to some stations and travelled by the trains. It was heavenly after travelling in Delhi by autos with drivers out to fleece you, and over-crowded and slow moving buses! That evening, went to a Bikaner Sweet Shop and had aaloo tikkis, samosas and jalebis! Yum Yum!

But the icing on the cake was the incident that happened on my way back.I had an early morning flight, so I left home at 5.15AM. No autos in sight. After 10 minutes of wait, saw an auto coming my way and flagged it. The auto already had two passengers- with dhotis, faces covered by shawls et al- the typical Jat Delhiite, but I was desperate and I agreed to share the space with them. I asked the driver if I would have to travel like that throughout the half-hour journey, and he replies- "Nahin saab, bas in dono ko Central Jail chhodh doon, phir seedha airport chalenge"!!! Experienced a different kind of chill for the rest of the journey till they got down!

Thankfully, the flight was delayed by only half an hour, the fog having cleared in time!

All in all, a great experience!

As the great Lord Budhha said- " Dilli dilwaalon ki"!


Thursday, December 22, 2005


Hum to jaate apne gaaon...

All right, this one's going to be a real quicky! I'm going home... to Delhi. Leaving in a couple of hours. Sarkari(read official) tour-taar, as they say back home in Delhi! Had been dying to go at least for a day, just to see the Delhi winters again- and I'll be there for 3 whole days!!! Gawd, agar aur kuchh maanga hota to woh bhi mil jaata:-)

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Main Tumhare Bacche Ki Maa Banne Waali Hoon!

This hugely cliched and highly cult dialogue from umpteen Hindi movies in the '70s and '80s was a source of great tension for me yesterday. No guys, don't get shocked! No 'abla naari' said it to me in an accusing tone :-) Let me start at the beginning...

We're making an AV presentation for our channel, and my friend Kunal, who's handling the project, wanted some scenes from movies where this dialogue is used. Now I have a reputation of being a Bollywood trivia freak, so he called me up to name some movies, fully expecting me to rattle off the names of 10-15 such movies immediately. But imagine his consternation, and my embarrasment, when I couldn't come up with a single name. We make fun of this dialogue so routinely, that we've never realized that we may not have seen it as many times as we think we have!

Anyways, I had a reputation to live up to, so I got cracking. The net obviously didn't throw up anything. Another colleague came up with 'Meri Jung', in which some sidey actress says this to Jaaved Jaffrey! The dreaded call came. I gave him Meri Jung as an option, and became silent. "And...", asks Kunal. "Can't think of any other movie right now, but i'm on the job, don't worry", was my reply. Does the dialogue come after the Roop Tera Mastaana song in Aradhana, asked Kunal. I was clutching at straws now. Yeah Yeah, I think it's there. Then, 2 other hopefuls came to me: Deewar(Parveen Babi to Amitabh, towards the end of the movie), Shakti(Smita Patil to Amitabh). Try these na, you'll definitely get something, I tell Kunal, and hang up!

10 in the night, Kunal calls again. "I need more options!" Gawd, why can't he just change the concept if he can't find the scene!!! Two final options came to my head- Raakhi in Yash Chopra's 'Daag', and Anil Kapoor's sister to Hema Malini's son in 'Jamai Raja'. Try these, I tell Kunal, pukka kuchh milega!

Arrived in office this morning, dreading the thought of facing the world if the dialogue wasn't there in any of the movies that i'd proposed. Kunal straightaway took me to the edit room and started the AV. "Main tumhaare bachhe ki Maa banne waali hoon"- Raakhi to Prem Chopra. The movie- Daag!!! Yesssss!!!! I can look at myself in the mirror again! But only just!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The End of a Culture!

"Bakhshi, what do the lyrics of this song mean?", asked Namita, a colleague. The song in question was the extremely popular Punjabi pop no.- 'Kala Chashma'. She asked me because I, being a Punju, am supposed to know my language. I asked her to play the 1st two lines again, was able to understand the broad meaning of it and give her some schpiel about what it meant. But the exact meaning of specific words- naaah!!! This set me thinking on a something which has been troubling me for quite some time- Is this the end of our culture?

For a long time now, I have taken great pride in calling myself a 'global villager'(if the world has become a village, that makes us villagers, right?)! Cosmopolitan outlook, living in a multicultural environment, and just assimilating into it, leaving your own ethnic identity behind. Never really thought if I had an option but to become an integral part of the crowd. But still, the thought keeps nagging me- what of my culture, my roots?

Let's take an example. My grandfather, born and brought up in the Pakistani part of Punjab, knew five languages- Punjabi, Urdu, Persian, Hindi, and English. My father knows four(all of the above except Persian). And yours truly??? Hindi and English, that's all. I can understand and speak some tooti-phooti Punjabi, but...! And it's not just me, I look around at people around me, and the situation is the same everywhere. It's not a problem with me, it's a problem with a whole generation, it's just that some of us just haven't realized the seriousness of it. I sometimes wonder- If I ever get married, my parents, aunts, uncles etc. will be there to sing traditional folk songs, will know all the rituals which have been a part of our heritage for centuries, the whole atmosphere will be distinctly Punju. Cut to the marriage of my children(hypothetical scenario- If I ever get married, and subsequently, If I ever have children)- who is going to know anything at all about any song or ritual, we hardly know enough of the language to ask for water!
Another generation later, the whole rustic, earthy Punju culture would have died out, in my family, and in many other families who have become a part of this cosmo-culture.

Scary??? I really don't know what can be done about it, but maybe there's still time. Maybe we will no longer be ashamed or afraid of using our mother tongue in a city like Bombay. Maybe we are too old to learn, but we can ensure that our children listen to a lot of our language at home, they learn to read it, write it, speak it and understand it, just like they would learn English or Hindi. Maybe people will appreciate that instead of(or in addition to) teaching French/German to their kids as a status symbol, they should teach them their mother tongue. After all, the destiny of a centuries-old culture depends on it! Cheers!

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