Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tumul once again..!

A wonderful piece of work by Sri Jai Shankar Prasad, I have appreciated tumul kolahal over years, specially the line ‘tumul kolahal kalah mein, main hriday ki baat re mann”. His poem was about God talking to Manu, the first man on earth according to Hindu belief, and giving him courage to fight against all adversities. ‘Tumul kolahal..’ means in the middle of extreme chaos too, I am the one who rules your heart.

Now this piece here has nothing to do with Sri Jai Shankar Prasad’s work. That was brilliant. Here I have put some random thoughts together and have shamelessly picked the line from his poem that I admire so much.

जो दूर गर निकला कहीं सांझ ढले यहीं आएगा
चलते चलते जो थक जाए या भटक कहीं जो जाएगा
साथ दिलाती राह बताती मैं सांध्य मैं ही रात रे मन
तुमुल कोलाहल कलह में मैं ह्रदय की बात रे मन

जिसे ढूंढ रही तू वोह मिल गया तो गाऊँगा तेरे संग मैं भी
मार खुशी तू दौड़ेगी इठलाऊँगा तेरे संग मैं भी
झूमती गाती खूब नाचती मैं रंगों की बारात रे मन
तुमुल कोलाहल कलह में मैं ह्रदय की बात रे मन

मन आज कुछ ठीक नही खुश आँखें आज उदास हैं
कोई पास तेरे हो नो हो, भगवान तो तेरे पास हैं
शक्ति दिलाता मुस्कान लौटाता, मन का मैं विश्वास रे मन
तुमुल कोलाहल कलह में मैं ह्रदय की बात रे मन

जाते जाते मुड़ के देखो पाओगी तरुवर सा खड़ा यहीं
जितना तुझसे मैंने किया उतना प्रेम किसी ने किया नही
हाथ बढ़ा दो हाँ कह दो, अपनाओ यह साथ रे मन
तुमुल कोलाहल कलह में मैं ह्रदय की बात रे मन

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


There always are some people in a movie theatre who are spontaneous, funny and do not mind expressing themselves aloud. While some of them who belong to this category can be ignored, some of them really make for good laugh there and beyond too when you look back at times. The comments that they pass sometimes just stay with you. Here are some comments that I overheard or collected from others over a period of time:

Chak De: Shahrukh Khan is not happy with Sagarika Ghatge (Preeti Sabharwal), for playing a selfish game. There is a scene towards the end where he calls her and starts shouting at her, and in the theatre there is a plead from behind somewhere – “Please Shahrukh, please Preeti ko kucch nahi bolna..” The whole place was in splits. More than the comment there was that plead in his voice that was so genuine. :)

Lagaan: In the beginning of the movie, Aamir Khan is somewhere out in the farms, and Gracy Singh comes to call him. She is standing at a distance and from there she calls out – Bhuvaaaaan. Immediate reply from some smart guy – ‘aaya darling’. Lot of hahahaha followed this too. :)

Yaadein: Now if you know anything about this movie, you would know how miserable a watch this is. The whole theatre is gloomy and losing patience slowly. There is not a single interested face around. And there comes a scene where Kareena Kapoor (who by the way is extremely irritating in this movie) and Hrithik Roshan (who by the way believe it or not is way more irritating than Kareena) are standing in front of a nice looking building which has a huge concrete eagle on top. Public is bored to death and Hrithik at this point (or was it Kareena..anyway..) goes ‘I love you’ on top of his voice and in the most hopeless style. And there croons a voice from crowd – “dheere bol-a-, udd jayee”. A bihari way of saying – speak softly otherwise it will fly away. There was a little pause followed by roaring laughter from all corners in the hall. This was the only high point of the movie for the entire population sitting inside. :)

Shaan: A 70s movie starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and many other famous names. But the person who became immortal with this movie was Kulbhushan Kharbanda, in the role of famous Shakaal. Apart from the good job he did with his character, his look was also quite distinct and very befitting. He was given a bald look with a shining face. In one scene Shakaal is moving his hand on this bald crown and says – “… main kuchh bhi kar sakta hoon..”. Some one from the audience answers back “arre kanghi nahi kar sakta hai” (can not comb) :)

Hanuman: This was not exactly a comment, but overheard from the next seat. A young lady who was sitting next to my brother’s seat got a call mid way through the movie. Some one must have asked what she was doing and her answer was "Main hanuman ji dekh rahi hoon”. ‘Hanuman Ji’ dekh rahi hoon!!! Was funny but extremely sweet. We had a good laugh. :)

Kal ho na ho: Last scene. Shahrukh Khan is dying. Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan go to meet him. Preity Zinta sits next to Shahrukh Khan and goes little close to his face. Someone in the public, in a loud but emotional voice – Aman main tumhare bachche ki maa banne waali hoon! :) Now we all too laughed at this one, but because of this gang in the theatre, I hated the movie the first time I saw it. The entire emotion of the movie was diluted because of some funny and some not so funny comments that kept coming in consistently.
Some of these may not sound very funny just hearing them or reading them, but were so perfectly timed that it made them truly hilarious.

Talking about funny comments, I am reminded of two funny ones, not from movie halls though, that I heard from some friends.
A young lady instructor to an MCA student who is particularly noisy in the computer lab – I am watching you for the last two hours, you just can’t sit quiet and concentrate.
Student replies back, with a wide grin – Madam, you are watching ‘me’ for the past two hours! :)

There is a very famous chain of a shoe brand in the central-eastern and eastern states of India, called Shree Leathers. One young man entered one of the outlets in Jamshedpur with some of his friends. He looked around and then went to the counter. There was a photograph of someone on the wall behind the counter and it was garlanded. Our man looked at the photograph and did a very respectful pranaam to it. Store keepers at the counter looked pleasantly surprised with this gesture and were looking at him. Our man with utmost respect in eyes and most polite expression went – Shree Leather jee yahi hain kya?
The expression on the store keepers faces changed instantaneously. His friends refused to know him and rush themselves out of the place. He coolly walked out without much ado. Perhaps others were too stunned to say anything. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Strangers.. but connected..

In my previous outing outside the country, the phenomenon that I found particularly strange was Indians on the road just avoiding eye contact with you, as if the moment they made eye contact I will ask them to take me home and give me some food, or lend me some pounds. Not a one off case this one, this was what happened most of the time. So after a while it started looking like normal, though I still refused to be one of them.
Now this time around, I didn’t expect anything better. And honestly I was not even preparing to give it any more thought, as now I know this is how it works perhaps everywhere outside the country. But I was in for a surprise, and a very pleasant one. Well in general the experience has been good so far, but there are two incidents that are particularly worth a mention.

Incident I:
Thanks to my colleagues and their wives here, I did not have to bother about what to buy and where to buy from for most of the basic things. They were there to help me with my shifting, travel, initial settling down, food too on some occasions, fixing me an apartment, helping me open a bank account, SSN, everything that was important. But after the primary basic requirements were over, it was time for the secondary basic requirements for household like lamps, curtain, cleansers, containers, etc. So I with two more colleagues, equally new to the place, decided to venture out on our own to Walmart. And we found out the nearest bus stop and the bus timings too, to go there. It was quite simple actually as bus stop was very close by. So we got in to the bus and reached Walmart. Everyone who has been to Walmart would know if you are there without a list, that place can hold you for hours together and you will not be done still. We were no exception. We kind of wandered all possible alleys and aisles in the store and by the time we were done, the shopping cart was on the verge of puking things out. A look at the watch and we also realized that the last bus back home would be at the stop in less than five minutes, and we had this entire cart to check out. We were prepared to take a taxi ride back, so we started taking easy. We paid up and then decided to recharge our batteries at the Subway store inside Walmart.
At the Subway counter we were greeted by a guy who had Indian looks but very heavy accent. There were few more there but he decided to assist us. From his badge it was evident that he was the store manager, and he had enough work force to handle the orders, but he came himself. And then while I was telling him all the ingredients for my sub, he pushed a question – where are you all from? I smiled and replied – India.
He: (Smiles).. that I already guessed, where in India?
I: I am from Ranchi, and here my friends are from Andhra.
Friends also said their hellos and introduced themselves.
He: I am from Gujrat (broad smile).. nice meeting you all. So how long have you been here.
I: Its not been too long, I am here for a little over a week actually.
He: Oh! So have you settled down well, have you?
I: Yeah..kind of.. in the process.
He: I know it can difficult initially, so if you need any help with anything just let me know.
I: O thank you! Ya I will.
Sub was ready by then, so we paid up and went to sit somewhere and enjoy our meal. Enjoyed the meal, I told my colleague, we need to call a taxi. Why don’t you go and find a taxi number. He said ok, I will ask Sam (the Store Manager) for the number. And he went to the counter, and in less than 20 seconds he was back with Sam. And Sam shot at us, in a nice way actually, didn’t I tell you to let me know if you need any help. And you are asking for a taxi number. Come on I will drop you guys.
I: No, I know it’s a busy hour at work. Just give us a number if you have and we will go. We will be fine Sam, thank you!
Sam: Please! I have been in this country for so long, and I not always had a car. But I never took a taxi. I called friends but never a taxi. They are so insanely over priced. Come I will drop you.
Started moving our cart.
I: No please Sam, its really alright.
Sam: No it is not. It hardly takes 5 minutes from here to your place. I have an efficient team here, they will manage it. And before I could speak further he was pushing the cart out of Walmart. We looked at each other in confused amazement, and followed him.
He emptied the cart in the boot of his car. And we moved from there. On the way he told stories about his early days in USA. The struggle he had to go through, and how he managed to finally own a store of his own. Very interesting story, and by the time the story got over, we reached home.
We thanked him and told him we will see him again when we visit Walmart again. And he said by the way let me know if you guys want to see Niagra, its just an hour from here. We didn’t know how to react for a minute. He was amazing. With the promise we will tell him if and when we want to go, we said bye and he left.
And after entering the apartment, we three could not stop talking about him and his nicety. You don’t meet good people every day. And especially after my UK experience, this was such a refreshing surprise.

Incident II:
Still early days I decided to buy some furniture for my so empty looking apartment. I was checking out some classifieds and I found one interesting deal. There was this person moving out of the place and looking for someone who could buy his entire furniture at a very low price if he was paid up the same day. I called him up, and found he was actually staying in the same community as I, and as close as the next parking lot. So the distance between his house and mine was about 400 meters at the max. I went there in the evening and checked out the furniture. It wasn’t too bad and hence I paid up immediately. This happened to be a Friday, and he said he was moving out the next Friday, so I needed to pick up the furniture before that. I was fine with the idea. So I came back home, looked for some “movers” numbers and called one such service up. They said I had to come to their office in the morning and pay up and then only can I get the truck. So I and one of my colleagues, Ramya, decided to go there in the morning. From their instructions it looked like this place was just ten minutes walk from my house. And hence we started walking. After walking for 20 minutes we were tired and not even first of the three landmarks was in sight. So we called up my manager to ask if he knew where this place was. He checked out in the internet maps and said it was indeed 10 minutes away if we were driving at a speed of 60mph. Aargh! We immediately called up a taxi. Finally we reached their office. I introduced myself and told them I called them last night and this morning. So they were prepared for me. Lady at the counter immediately started processing my request and I looked for my wallet to pay up for the truck. And then she politely said she needed to see my driving license before closing the deal. Driving license? Oh well, I don’t drive! I can show my passport!
Hey no, we need to see your driving license, before you take the truck away!
You mean I will be DRIVING this truck?
Yes ofcourse, oh OFCOURSE, who else? We don’t supply drivers! We just lend trucks!!
REALLY! If you want I can pay something extra if you can provide someone to drive the truck as well.
Sorry madam, we don’t do that!
ugh.. Ok! :( :( Thanks anyway! :(
We came back in the same taxi! Aamdani atthanni kharcha rupaiya.
I was very disappointed, and perplexed too. I didn’t know how I was supposed to move the furniture that I had already paid for. I came back and decided to ask at the office of this residential community if they would know any means to achieve this. They suggested I could take movement cart from their concierge’s desk, this is the way most of them moved their furniture.
I went to the concierge’s desk to seek the cart. It was not a cart, it was a dolly. Anyway I took it and went to take the furniture. I knew it would take at least 7 rounds to get all the things. I and the furniture guy picked the two-seater couch and placed it somehow on the dolly. And I pushed it to my apartment. At the apartment I called my colleague Ramya out and we two helped the couch in. And by the time we were done, we were totally exhausted! I was panting and searching for breath. There was no chance I would go back the same moment to get more furniture. So I phoned the furniture guy that I will be coming later. Then I searched some websites for some individual laborers who helped you move. I found a number and dialed. This person, said he would be able to help but not over the weekend. I had an action packed Monday so I asked him to come on the Tuesday, to which he agreed. So I enjoyed my weekend and on Tuesday when I called the mover up, he said he had a friend visiting him so it was difficult on Tuesday and he will come the next day. I informed my furniture friend yet again and he understood. He though warned me towards any further delay as he was moving out on Friday. And then he went to add if it wasn’t possible till Friday, his room-mate will be back on Saturday and I can collect it then. So I thought Saturday sounds good, I too don’t have to rush back from office. And then I called up the mover again. This time he didn’t take the call, so I left a voice mail. He never returned the call. I was also at ease, as I knew the furniture guy’s roomie would be there anyway.
And soon the weekend arrived. I kept trying the mover but he refused to take the call. I started calling fresh set of people, but someone needed 100$ for movement, someone was occupied over the weekend. And at 5 in the evening the door-bell rang. There was this person I had not seen before at my door. He introduced me as furniture guy’s roomie, and he said in an hour’s time he was leaving for Boston for good! And he didn’t know what to do about my furniture. I couldn’t believe me ears. Did he just say he was leaving forever! Yes, he said that! And did he say he was going in an hour. Oh yes! He said that too!! I didn’t know this part. My brain stopped working, and then he gave a possible solution – “Well I can give you my keys for today, tomorrow morning, the resident office people come and throw away whatever is inside and they will also change the lock. So see if you can do something by then.” I wanted to meet the resident office guys and explain the situation. But I realized they close office at 5. I still tried, but they were closed. I was coming back when I thought of meeting the Indian students from University of Rochester who study in the library. They were usually found there and library was on my way back. So I went in, and they were actually there. So I straight away explained the situation to them and asked them if anyone of them could drive a truck or would they know some mover who has a truck too. And the answer I got was – hey why would you need any of that! We are there, we will move the stuff. How much is it there? There was too much stuff to be transported. He decided to have a look. I said this was out of question. I did not expect them to pick the stuff and move it when it was so cold outside, and then they were studying too. But he did not listen to any of that, and he called up some more friends of this. All of us met at the furniture guy’s house. They had a look at the furniture and said it was very doable! I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. I know these guys work over the weekends to make some pocket money. So I finally offered them if they transport, I will give them the 40$ the mover had demanded. To which one of them retorted how could I even think they would charge an Indian! I was still uncomfortable but pleased by the thought. So I offered them dinner sometime, and they said you can order some pizza when we all meet at the library the next time. Or you can call us for some Indian food too. But if you call us home, you may call 4 of us and it will be 6-8 people who will turn up. :) I was absolutely fine with this. Not that they cared, they didn’t want anything. And they moved my entire furniture within an hour.
A big headache was over and I was so relieved. I will call all these people over for dinner sometime. But none of these pizza or Indian food can return the favour. And I am very pleased by the fact that the myth I had formed about the Indians abroad has been thrown out of the door.