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RAPE


Do not be fooled, dear people, as this furore about the victims of rape, and the safety of our citizens will die a quicker death than you can fathom the moment something new shall fancy the arc lights of the media. Needless to say, that the politicians who have promised to do something would be unavailable for this issue since the next applaud seeking topic that would get them that little extra leverage over their cohorts would be of the utmost importance. Sadly, the flame that burns the candle will stop even before the wick reaches halfway with organisations or factions that support such causes. The common creed would revert to their routines as if nothing ever occurred, and the whole thing would merely remain a memory for some and mostly forgotten to the rest of the populace. That, regrettably, is the miserable state of affairs today, not only in our country, but the world over.


1 – Instead of throwing muck on each other, demanding the death penalty or castration of the men who committed the dreadful misdeed, I quite think we ought to stop and aim first to analyse the root of this unrest. It is not about a rape of a woman in India, or of the youth who are increasingly taking to gun culture elsewhere. It is about values. In the pursuit of amassing wealth and driving materialism as the crux of our existence, we as a human race have begun to live each day devoid of morals and ethics. Something as simple as the basic manners and decorum have faded from our society, and as a consequence it has resulted in the erosion of the mind-set of the masses. The lack of a solid family unity has scattered us beyond repair, and the results are but evident for everyone to perceive.


2 – The recent agitation at India Gate and the mayhem it has caused is once again deplorable. Taking to the streets or raising fingers at the police or the politicians would do no good: they don’t run our daily life. Likewise, it is not plausible that one can keep a vigil on each vehicle on the road or every street for that matter. Therefore, as an alternative I seriously think we ought to ask ourselves what we have done to make this place a little monster free? Let me throw light on an incident when I was visiting Singapore some years ago. After I was over being enamoured by its clinical symmetry, I realised something that we saw in abundance back home was missing in Singapore: the absence of the police. One afternoon as I was leaving the Museum of fine arts I randomly asked a bunch of people on the street why one barely saw any police in Singapore. Most of the answers I obtained spoke in a singular voice – In Singapore we don’t need the police. Each person living here are the police. And I then thought to myself, how long would it take us to reach that level of inner policing? I have heard of theories that allege how the population in Singapore is miniscule in comparison to India, and therefore it is rather easy to instil such a notion of self-reliance in them. I have read time and time again how conveniently our leadership quotes Singapore (at a drop of a hat) knowing full well that our officials or the government cannot measure up to anything close to the self discipline or control the citizens of Singapore harbour in each of their hearts in order to keep their city-state pristine and corruption free. If we only stopped deluding ourselves and inculcated the idea of each of us being a protector of each other, I am most certain that the city to begin with, and consequently the nation, could possibly crawl towards a safer pasture. 


3 – No doubt the accused must be dealt with most severely, but death is not the answer, even if it were for the mere purpose of sending a signal to the rest that they would meet with the similar fate when they commit such a violation. We are forgetting that by the expression of such aggression we are making a spectacle of how loosely we take human life. We are additionally making a spectacle of the hatred we harbour for everyone at large, not to ignore that we are perhaps displaying the violence that we are hiding within us. If we examine the chaos in the world with a calmer, reasonable mind, we will discern that it is a progressive measure of balance that could rid the chaotic human mind of its hurt, not an eye for an eye. I agree what has happened with the young woman isn’t something to be taken lightly, but combating hate with hate isn’t the lone solution. The solution in a way would be to learn to respect human beings over short-lived pleasure or materialism. The solution would be to smile at someone whom you pass by. The solution would be to make sure your family has a meal together just so that you feel the security of connection. This is an essential component of human growth given the circumstances that the aspiration of individualistic growth and freedom the nuclear family has given us has also robbed from us the very comfort of security. As I afore mentioned, the lack of cohesiveness in our society is giving birth to such monsters, since they are not born such. Given that we have a hand in creating them, we are very much obligated to annihilate them as well.


4 – The local dailies have been flooded with material on rape, its history, psychological implications and the list could simply go on. This morning I was reading an article about why a man resorts to rape, and the opinions put forth are that it has nothing to do with the mind, but more to do with the criminal aspect of his nature. I don’t know really how to react to such a statement. Isn’t a criminal made what he is because his mind functions in such a manner? If that was not shocking to deal with, I tuned in to the radio station where I heard a fifteen-year old girl asking a body combat expert present at the station what she could do if she discovered that she was being followed on the road. To gentleman replies – Get into a crowded area, say a hotel or a market, or best enter the police station and inform them that she’s being followed. Knowing better she lets out a slight chuckle and questions whether the police would support her, and he assures her that she’ll be immediately given protection. I quite smiled to myself in wonder at the silliness of the man. I then listened carefully as she queried what she should do if she was in a lonelier part of the town. To my dismay the gentleman counsels her to drop down and act like she were having an epileptic fit. He explains further that it would confuse the rapist and he would flee. If this was what people were advising on radio channels, I don’t know really what good they are thinking they are doing to a society at large.


5 – Why is it when the influential people rape, they go scot-free? The society that is screaming for the blood of the men in Delhi does nothing to shrew those well-heeled beasts, why? Why aren’t the rules being rewritten to hang them or offer them life imprisonment as a lesson to the others? Shame on us as a system I tell you. Utter shame, that we have two rules for everything!


6 – I might probably sound preachy and even silly perhaps, but we must remember that criminals exist everywhere. Unless they aren’t a produce of some genetic, medical or psychological disorder we urgently need to keep prejudices aside and learn to love. One should not forget that love begets love, in whatever form and degree it might manifest itself. Once again, I am not advocating that the brutes implicated in this heinous crime must not be severely penalised, I am only suggesting that it should not be a prerequisite that we should have the police or anyone else govern us to do what is right, because what is right is that we ought to respect a woman, and respect anybody regardless of age or gender.


To conclude I would say that it is understandably easy to love someone who loves you, but to love those who hate you is the actual challenge: a challenge that each of us must endeavour to entrench in our blood. Only then will we be able to minimise the restlessness of the society. Only then will we be able to see some change.






Image: This image does not belong to me. I have sourced it from the Internet. I do not own it, or claim copyright to it. If it is your image please do let me know if you are fine with me adding your name to it. I shall add credits to it. This is not a site for business. The images have been used for representational purposes only. If you wish, I shall take it off in case of an objection do let me know and I shall take it off. Thank you.


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Namit Khanna


Do you know anyone who has the time to do anything for society in a time that is hard pressed for time? Do you know someone who has the inclination to provide balance in the wake of uncertainty? Do you know dreamers who not just dream, but do? Do you know anyone who says that god gives us dreams a size bigger than we can imagine simply because we can grow in that space? Someone who lives by the adage that there are wonderful things to be done, and they won’t be done until one of us doesn’t end up taking the initiative of doing them? Well, while most of you might be thinking that someone of this nature is perhaps unreal in our age, or even that I might perhaps be describing, say, a super hero, I’d say you are all so wrong because it is time to brace yourself and be acquainted with Namit Khanna. No matter how harsh or bleak the world seems, he is someone who not only brings his sunshine to the surrounding he occupies, but sprinkles euphoria from his exquisite soul along the path he treads.


Not many know that besides being a model par excellence, Namz, as I fondly refer to him, is also a spectacular photographer. And what a lovely distinction it is indeed to observe that the man who helps others realise countless avatars of their mind’s eye while offering himself as a subject, is himself a keen and rather artistic observer of life and nature at large. In keeping with his humble nature, he would possibly choose to remain in the background, but I am afraid I won’t let the bum remain in the background, so here is a sneak peek at some of his work.


Kodaikanal 










My View of Mauritius 








Shanghai






(I will be updating this blog with Namit's photographs so kindly check back regularly. Thank you.)

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Falling Overnight - 2011


The moment you cast your eyes on the first scene in Falling Overnight you know something magical is going to overpower you, not magical in the magical sense but magical in the magical manner, if you know what I mean. I was most reminded of The Outsider by Albert Camus who so eloquently presents the harshness of life leading you to believe there’s no other metaphor closer to resembling life than death, and death to sex.

To the inexperienced, fiction normally reveals truths that reality obscures, and these are those who might attempt to take a dig at the fashion of how Chloe and Elliot meet simply because the clichéd custom is that sparklers and chemistry occurs for two souls in order to connect deeply over time, though the same people do not probably possess the faculty to discern that connections don’t have to take eras to evolve; a flick of a moment is all it takes for any two people who are meant to be together, to be together, despite the dynamics.  


To throw just a little light on the plot, I’d say that the motion picture is based on twenty-two year old Elliot (Parker Croft who also happens to be one of the executive producers and writers of the film) who on a day before his surgery for a brain tumour runs into Chloe (Emilia Zoryan) a charming young photographer who works at a café. The nearly honest and exquisite journey they both embark on is one of the imperative focal points of the film. The method in which the scenes have been authored and treated are as if it were unfolding before you, and in contrast to other films where you are made to empathise with the characters on the screen, the characters here involve you so nattily in their life that you actually travel the entire gamut of experiences just as they do. Subjects like these rarely fall within the purview of the ‘commercial’ and get pushed under ‘art-house’ but the fact that the gap that the writers and the filmmaking team have managed to bridge and balance by keeping the profound layers of the film intact and yet appealing to the cross-sections of society from the youth to the well-informed is laudable. For starters, the reality of how the man on the other side of the telephone refuses to text Elliot the details or the middle-aged woman who loses her temper when her cake hasn’t been made due to an error on the part of Chloe, are some of the binding forces that cement your relationship with this film, not forgetting that be it the modern depiction of Elliot having made his money in the digital boom or the acuity of the art angle is a stellar virtue I quite revelled in.

The fun Chloe makes of the dishevelled Elliot’s accent is cute and commendable: it certainly takes maturity to laugh at oneself. Chloe’s brother introducing himself when he meets Elliot for the first time is a striking scene. In the hands of an average writer or director it would have appeared crass, but here it is presented with such élan that it lends the much-warranted depth to the humour and elevates it to an entire new echelon. Parker is quite like that – gruff, but immensely sensitive. Emilia’s charisma lies quite literally in her euphoric, yet subdued simplicity. The supporting cast, the soundtrack, and the loveliness of the cinematography are commendable, and that said it is next to impossible to list the umpteen nuances this film unravels scene after scene. Every time I watch it, I learn something new, just like you do with literature, art or wine. Nevertheless, if I were asked impulsively to make an inventory of the three points that moved me then I would begin with how I first met one of the prettiest girls much under the similar circumstances as Chloe and Elliot. At a party she walked up to me and asked for my phone, saved her number and asked me to call her. Ever since then we have been soul mates. Some might ask – Just like that? Yes, just like that. The second is the conversation Chloe and Elliot have about why his family isn’t around to take care of him. It is true indeed that at times those whom we want and love the most are the people we would want to be away from in order to breathe and feel who we really are. Third, the parley with regards the meaning of what it means to live, and yet foretaste the impending fear of death; that is something that we could, any one of us, face at any moment in our lives and yet we are so oblivious to it simply because we like to supress what unsettles us. Therefore that fragment entered my bloodstream and with delicate introspection it transformed how I viewed life, offering me with a certain kind of renewed vigour to look at the storm in the eye and take life, as life wants me to take it – bravely.  


Many marvellous movies have been made, but Falling Overnight is one that would settle in the hearts and minds of those whom it touches. And isn’t that the calling of mankind? That if it could make a difference to even one person in life, then the purpose of life is actually accomplished. I reckon I ought to stop now because giving any more away would be unfair and more than anything else it would be compromising the content that needs to be watched and absorbed, and take my word, it surprises you with its uprightness. To conclude I’d like to state that in a world that claims it is the flaw that makes a piece a masterpiece, very rarely does one come across a motion picture this complete – it is as if it’s flawless, almost!

PS: Watch out for this team because the last time I checked with Parker he was busy writing his next screenplay and no matter how it turns out it will always be a winner for those who believe in him and his science of life.



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The Middle Finger!


When we men appreciate most unhesitatingly all that is worth appreciating, then why are we afraid as men to appreciate other men? I think that in appreciating anybody that warrants appreciation one must desist in attributing it to the angle of heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality. I seem to observe that this baseless typecasting is a rather recent leaning plaguing our society at large. We should not forget that by nature we Indians are warm and do not have these ridiculous traits of don’t say this, or don’t do that just so that it could be misunderstood in our day-to-day interactions. And say when something of this nature is directed at people who are being suggestive or leading on, then the people at the receiving end ought to be sensitive to such implications and deal with matters in the manner they deem fit.

That said, let us not, with the fear of being misconstrued; hold ourselves back from genuinely appreciating something that justifiably merits it. Who knows a word of appreciation, if not anything else could help boost a human being’s confidence in manifold ways, and isn’t that what all of us want? To be able to succour people in inching towards their dreams!   

PS: If you still have people judging you based on some sloppy sexual metre when you know your intentions are clear then show these arses the middle finger!





Image: This image does not belong to me. I have sourced it from the Internet. I do not own it, or claim copyright to it. If it is your image please do let me know if you are fine with me adding your name to it. I shall add credits to it. This is not a site for business. The images have been used for representational purposes only. If you wish, I shall take it off in case of an objection do let me know and I shall take it off. Thank you.

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What Bastards!



A Muslim playboy from Pakistan meets a mannerly Indian Hindu woman in London. Chemistry aside, fireworks ensue, that leaves them with a token in form of a son. The boy matures, despite the upheaval, by absorbing and imbibing the best of both the worlds. His attempt to get acquainted with his father is rebuffed. It is indicated by the man that he is not welcome in his life. Knowing perhaps that the wounds might yet be stinging; he endeavours to give it time when time had other things in mind: his father’s own bodyguard, who claims that he is un-Islamic, assassinates the man. His balanced and sensible mother, on the other hand chooses to side the right wing political movement. All of this takes a toll on him emotionally, and only thirty years old, life has indeed taught him well to separate the wheat from the chaff.

A man of great illumination, he keeps his head on his shoulders and becomes his own man, something that prods me to challenge the very filament of the inferior and deceptive world we inhabit. Was it his fault that he was a product of someone’s lust? Wasn’t it them, and not him, who had to be reprimanded? How can parents’ wonder, as Locke said, why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain? Fortunately, not in his case, because hailing from the upper echelons, where access to the vices was only at arms length, the young man could have possibly lost himself in anything that provided him a temporary escape, and yet he picked, and so very eloquently, to channelize his energy into something that others could draw inspiration from.

As the pages of his book are open before me and my eyes are following his rather blatant account of life, my head takes a bow about how he must have gone through the torment and internalisations before becoming what he has become: his own hero. And yet the double-faced society calls him a bastard. 

Bastards!

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Why Do We Hate?




This is a question I have often ended up asking myself, and the answers have nearly always eluded me, considering that when I tried to peep towards the shadow, the light nearby presented me the silver lining. I know it would be rather incorrect of me to assume that everyone’s life would be as clearly hassle-free as mine, but yes, at least I would like to think so. Also, a subject as inherent as hate isn’t something that could be tackled in a page, or perhaps even in a lifetime. Like the same workouts work differently for two people, contrariwise hate too is at the mercy of the individual’s capacity to come to terms with what they wish to nurture and what they choose to shed. Given the circumstances, I think it best to leave it to each individual to decode it empirically, while the least I could do is present what I might have deciphered over the years drawing from my experiences about what we hate, and why we hate.

Hatred is not something we are born with: it is a feeling we inculcate rather unknowingly from what we hear and see in our surrounding. If we do not keep what we are absorbing in check, it begins to follow a path of its own, and much without our control it tends to calcify within us leaving us little room to do away with it. 

As a Muslim by birth, I quite get asked the same question over and over again — don’t you hate the people who talk openly against you? Well, I don’t know what to say to that. I know that people sometimes care to genuinely draw you out to help you, and most other times they are only trying, in a cruel way to meddle with your sentiments even while they appear to present it rather superbly gift-wrapped. As anybody would agree, bitterness in any form is unsettling, yet you could, if you wanted, eradicate it entirely from your mind. While the question is, do you?

I have been fortunate in knowing what is right from wrong for my own self, and once again, this is a perspective that is open to debate since what is right for me ought not necessarily be right for you, but that debate we shall indulge in another dialogue perhaps. For now, I would like to limit myself in pronouncing that I do believe in a superpower, that we haven’t arrived here on this earth out of nowhere, and that that superpower has the authority to influence me for being good and vice versa. People have often asked me how secular I rate the world around me. I do not think it appropriate to reply to this now, do I? They further query as to where I would rate my secular metre on a scale of one to ten. Once again, I would not categorise myself as secular. It is a word that seems so sadly misused for the last decade. So what then am I? Well, I would rather find myself comfortable being termed tolerant and even edifying so to say if that is any solace for that is how I think I am.

Another quintessential question I am asked regularly (at various gatherings) is my stance on Rushdie. I haven’t read Rushdie and therefore I am not at liberty to comment. When that is cleared, the question from Rushdie then drifts to my views on the film Innocence of Muslims. Fortunately, by the time I had had the opportunity to watch it, it had been banned, and as a consequence I was left to depend on hearsay, and hearsay is not something I rely on. Nevertheless, when I recognised the rage in the masses, I reckoned it is not without reason that it was eliciting such an adverse reaction. Yes, I would not run on the street with a sword or vandalise property for that matter, but if I could, I certainly would like to meet the people who play up emotions and ask them without harming them or hurling any abuses why they trample on territories when they know that all it would be doing is disturb the quiet of the society.


It is common knowledge that it takes two to tango. But wouldn’t it be better that one could step back to tempter temperatures (when one is in such a position) rather than whipping them up? While for those who succumb to such vexes, my only word of caution would be to stop awhile and think, because in the end it is a wise man indeed who could equip himself to outgrow the prejudices of his father.






Image: This image does not belong to me. I have sourced it from the Internet. I do not own it, or claim copyright to it. If it is your image please do let me know if you are fine with me adding your name to it. I shall add credits to it. This is not a site for business. The images have been used for representational purposes only. If you wish, I shall take it off in case of an objection do let me know and I shall take it off. Thank you.

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Culture Shock



With the flood of holidays since last week, I was suddenly struck with the urge to watch Argo at the cinema. Checking the timing in the local daily, I found that the motion picture was not playing at my regular haunts, but was showing instead at a theatre that was five kilometres from home in a shopping precinct I hadn’t quite ventured into anytime before. Quite on my insistence, Rahul, my adopted brother and I, decided to visit the venue. Upon reaching, I found myself colliding rather head-on with nothing less than what I’d term a clear culture shock. Some might consider me a bigot for writing this, but the truth is that the people smelt different, sorry, they smelt! They were wrapped in fabric, not attired in art. They addressed each other relatively loudly: a sure sign of a lack of any social grace. Studying me intently, my brother dissolved into a knowing smile and suggested, “We could leave.” Since we were already there, I wanted to see what further surprise was in store, and was thankful in a way that the tickets were all sold. On the way out of the shopping centre, I become conscious about how we take everything around us for granted: and what a journey taking a slight detour from the road that you drove everyday can make in letting you see so much more different than what you are used to seeing.

By nature we humans like to learn and expand our metal faculties, but are we actually that vulnerable to resist our comfort zones and indulge in a dialogue with people of different kinds in order to aid that growth? As magnificent as it sounds in theory, I don’t think it is a plausible reality.

Seldom is our world turned upside down over an experience such as this, or any other. Learning, on the contrary happens little by little, drop by drop, brick by brick, and years of absorbing results in the assimilation in the library of knowledge via which we form and arrive at a worldview which leads me to ask the inherent question – what kind of experiences or people finally do end up leading us to that iterative, treasured insight that makes us interpret the world as we want it? The answer, unfortunately and blatantly I thought was to be found in the experiences and people with whom you agree nearly ninety-nine per cent.

It is obvious, much to the opinion of some, that I am not judging the world that other people inhabit; each to each, and even if I am, so be it, and now returning to the crux, perhaps all of culture, even knowledge, advance little baby steps at a time. And when I think of what has left an impression on my mind intellectually or individually, my mind retrieves most conveniently from the instances or conversations with people who have agreed with me on almost everything but not quite literally everything.  






Image: This image does not belong to me. I have sourced it from the Internet. I do not own it, or claim copyright to it. If it is your image please do let me know if you are fine with me adding your name to it. I shall add credits to it. This is not a site for business. The images have been used for representational purposes only. If you wish, I shall take it off in case of an objection do let me know and I shall take it off. Thank you.

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Yash Chopra



The last time I saw Yash uncle was when I was chatting with my friend Arjun (Sablok) and he stopped by. As I customarily do, I stood up immediately upon noticing him, and he kept his hand on my shoulders and said in his enamouring tone, “Sit, beta,” he paused, studied us in a fleeting nanosecond and went on, “both of you look like you are in a serious conversation. I wouldn’t want to disturb you both. Carry on.” That said, he left the room, leaving us with his light and feel-good aura while Arjun and I returned to our discussion of films. In no time we were sent coffee and some delicious sandwiches. That was the man, who was a legend and yet the most humble and down-to-earth human being.

When I have been reading the public outpouring of grief I am hardly surprised, and for one reason above all – the human touch that he emanated like no other. In an industry where the memory of people is erased as soon and simply as the waves ebb and flow, he is someone who left an indelible mark of his personality alongside his work.  

Look at people today: they are largely known for their occupation. And it is nearly next to impossible to find a single soul whom we can discern and confidently say – Ah, the films he has made are lovely, but he is an even lovelier person to match. Well, that position was reserved for one – Yash uncle, and he took it away with him.

Love you Yash uncle.
You will be missed.
Revered.
Remembered.  



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Romance and Rilke

I happened to see this image online and it enticed me so much that I knew I had to share it with everybody. And while I was admiring the state of euphoria that the couple were engulfed in, I couldn't but think of this poem of my favourite Rainer Maria Rilke. 



GOD SPEAKS TO EACH OF US


God speaks to each of us before we are, 
Before he's formed us then, in cloudy speech, 
But only then, he speaks these words to each 
And silently walks with us from the dark: 



Driven by your senses, dare 
To the edge of longing. Grow 
Like a fire's shadowcasting glare 
Behind assembled things, so you can spread 
Their shapes on me as clothes. 
Don't leave me bare. 



Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread. 
Simply go no feeling is too much 
And only this way can we stay in touch. 



Near here is the land 
That they call Life. 
You'll know when you arrive 
By how real it is. 



Give me your hand. 

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