Monday, June 25, 2007

Rain rash

-By Swetha Amit
Nature is known to have its dark side as well. The recent spells of showers in the maximum city has provided a stage which has proved the enactment of the monsoon melodrama in a negative role.

This is no mystery to millions that it’s been raining cats and dogs for the past one week. The harshness of these stormy spells has extended up to places like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, apart from Maharashtra.

The low lying areas are reported to have submerged under water. The fast- paced city is forcibly coming to a sluggish movement. It has once again managed to bring a standstill to the bustling activities, affecting the road, rail and air traffic in the process. The lashings have ruthlessly plundered innocent lives and the baffled individuals are helplessly trapped between the devil and the deep sea situation on a literal basis.

These alarming conditions in Mumbai have begun to ring a warning bell in the minds of people. It’s shocking, to see the slum dwellers, who seem to be the worst affected by this uncontrollable catastrophe. It is pitiable to see such beings deprived of their homes and their loved ones as well. It’s a terrifying plight to see the rising levels of water creating havoc and leading to increasing death tolls.

Travelling down the not so pleasant memory lane brings back horrifying instances and the anticipated fear of the repetition of the dreaded 26/7.

It seems like the lesson from that fatal year has failed to be learnt and measures implemented for the betterment. Year after year, miserable conditions continue to prevail, leading to fatal land slides, injuries, ill health. And sadly this is just the beginning so far. At this rate the heavy showers are bound to leave several heavy hearts behind.

It makes one to ponder about the government's involvement to combat such grave conditions. They claim to be better equipped to face the fury of the incessant monsoons, but it’s all in vain. The poor visibility caused by the rough weather conditions has apparently extended up to their foresight as well!

Isn’t it time that the concerned authorities take serious measures to improve civic conditions to bring about relief and betterment of handling such crisis? Prevention is better than cure is a philosophy which is applicable to various situations, especially those of affected by nature.

Should every year be a living hell for the citizens? It certainly is not a case of an unexpected or unpredictable arrival of the monsoons. In fact the expected rainy season should propel the concerned authorities to take precautionary steps to ensure safety for the localites.Its not enough if one stands on the Dias to make inspiring magnificent speeches of improving drainage and road conditions in the metros. Actions speak more than words and it’s evident in such instances.

Considering the fact that Mumbai is one of the heavily populated metros, the priority of the government should be to channelise funds and ensure proper resource mobilization to improve infrastructure.

Is it fair on us folk to continuously suffer the consequences due to the negligence and irresponsibility of the government for failure of encountering the rash rain?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Andha kanoon

-By Swetha Amit
Love is blind’ the famous saying goes. However off late, the law is turning blind too.

The softness of the legal system seems to be increasing with the hardness of the alcoholic beverages. Several cases of drunken driving have surpassed negligence due to the lack of appropriate disciplinary action. Numerous instances have been reported in the past. It’s shocking to note the occurrence of 4200 such cases last year in Delhi alone, besides indefinite incidents in other places as well.

The latest episode in Delhi reported by the media has stirred a lot of indignant minds. A 22 year old was caught in such an act only to be let Scot free in spite of having taken two innocent lives. While the parents are psychologically bruised and devastated, the young lad seems to have escaped the necessary punishment needed as a corrective measure.

Many have lost their beloved due to these rash unfortunate mishaps. The worse state of affairs depicts the affected individuals deprived of attaining their deserved justice. Is it fair?

The flamboyant lifestyles of the youth especially after heavy pegs have resulted in rash acts with no concern for others. Affluence results in an arrogant attitude towards the law as the latter fails to have established its supremacy in the past. This result’s in an insensitive don’t care feeling towards the society. In the present stressful era, partying and socializing are indeed proving to be stress -busters from their hectic work lives. However, is it an impossible task for one to draw their limits and restrain from indulging in such destructive behaviour?

Or is it the inability of the law to take such catastrophic occurrences on a serious note? Is it portraying its unbelievable helpless stature? One indeed finds it hard to digest the fact of the controlling authority of the law unable to manage such imprudent acts.

Isn’t it essential that such instances are taken more seriously for the benefit of the society? Isn’t it unfair to let the accused lead a normal life while the affected parties are far from a lucid state? Does it seem fair for the rich and famous to be let off the hook? Do they not have their share of social responsibility like the rest? Why should innocent lives that have hardly seen the world close their eyes forever? Should the law be meek to the weakness of the desires of rash and drunken?

Education about the dire consequences by steering a drive in an alcoholic intoxication should be imparted, especially in driving schools. The effects of uncontrollable and rash driving should be imbibed into these impulsive minds of the youth. Perhaps sensitizing those to serve the family of the affected or visiting rehabilitation centers would bring a greater depth of understanding rather than putting them behind bars.

It’s high time that the law opens its eyes to such grim actions. It’s of immense importance for the law to shed the image of ‘Andha kanoon’in order to put an end to the loss of lives by drunken driving.
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Appeared as story of the day


Monday, June 18, 2007

Father figure

-By Swetha Amit
While mothers are those who nurture the tree, fathers form the strong roots which bind the little flowers, fruits and tiny branches into one big family tree.

Father figure is that unmistakable soul providing the rock solid support for his kith and kin on an eternal basis in every possible way. They stand apart with their inherent charismatic aura around them embarking them to be the evident leader of the pack.

My dad is truly one in every aspect. A self -made successful businessman who I look up to, with immense pride. As I trace back memories of his perseverance and innumerable sacrifices, my feelings portray an inexplicable mixture of joy, sadness and admiration. Joy- as I share a vital part of his triumph. Sadness as his profession demanded considerable amount of his precious time away from me. Admiration-as I cannot help but gape in wonder at his strong, confident demeanor accompanied with a never say die attitude.

A lone child of his and is known as the apple of his eye. I was thoroughly spoilt in every manner possible right from the time my meek little self could latch on to his protective hand. Every little demand of mine would be met dutifully. I recall the unforgettable days when he would pick up and drop me to school whenever time permitted. He would ensure the best for me with respect to everything. Fiercely protective like a lion of its cub, he wouldn’t let anyone lay a finger on me.

Often I would have mystified him during my turbulent adolescent years as I failed to understand his over protectiveness which stifled me many a time. His persistent anxiety about my academics made me realize the importance of it today. Though he is known for his short fiery temper, he would simmer down as quickly as it erupted and regain his normal composure.

As a proud father he would swell with pride with every successful endeavor of mine even today. Even when I would encounter dire straits, he would in his unique way assure me of the bad phase passing as quickly as its occurrence. In his own way, he provided the emotional support and understanding in the most unexpected of moments which I treasure. Though I was pampered excessively by him, it gave me the new found confidence as I entered my young adulthood. In its peculiar way, it provided me with a fair share of independence.

I might not share the most common of interests with him, yet there remains the exceptional bond with him which cannot be deciphered in many words. His unconditional affection for me at times makes me take him for granted. His stoic support has given me the needed inner strength. His words at the appropriate moments have portrayed such solidarity that it can even boost an ant to face an elephant without batting an eyelid.

Having seen him through the best and worst times, He’s one epitome of a survivor who believes in the art of letting go and moving on. Many have whizzed past his life like fair weathered winds, yet that has never obstructed him from reaching his ultimate goal. He’s my mentor, a friend in need off late and my role model and teacher who in spite of his flaws manages to emerge as a perfect stature of what a father should be.

At times it baffles me to hear about the dark on goings in the world about how fathers treat their kids shabbily that deprive them out of a heavenly home in many aspects. Going by such instances, I am indeed lucky to have had abundant love showered upon me and wish the same for everybody else.

Fathers are ones who look at his dearly through the childhood days to being annoyingly over protective in our teen years and later to turn into our living lessons whom we learn a lot from. Others' experience teaches us a lot more than books do. The best comes from what we call our very own. Our worldly wise fathers have a lot to teach us to mould us into better individuals who will carry on the next generation. It is important that considerable amount of time is spent with them with every opportunity given.

Buildings of great heights stand proud with the strong foundation. Father figures are those rock solid foundations who have built up the family and will enable them to reach great heights always .
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Sivaji: Truly the boss of the box office

-By Swetha Amit
The most awaited release of the year has gotten tremendous response from the ecstatic audiences.

This film directed by Shankar of ‘Boys’ and ‘Anniyan’ fame has brought out the heartthrob in an entirely different light.

Sivaji (Rajnikanth) is a US return with ambitious aspirations of making a difference to the lives of the poor and needy. He is met with a vehement opposition from the villain (Adhiseshan) who tries to stop Sivaji’s dream project in every possible way. He goes as far as to change the government overnight and imprisoning the latter. However Sivaji manages to battle these unforeseen human obstacles in his true superstar style only to emerge as a winner in the end.

The story is punched with some laugh riot scenes in between provided by Vivek. Not to forget, a romantic angle by Shriya Saran who plays a conservative sales girl in a musical store.Persistantly wooed by Sivaji, she finally relents to his irresistible charm and accepts his proposal.

Rajnikanth has done a fantastic job and he looks fitter as ever with his novel look making him look at least 20 years younger. The fight and dance sequences drive the crowd crazy with joy. His aura and style oozes on screen whether it’s the flicking of the chewing gum or the one rupee coin, making the audience hoot and cheer uncontrollably.

Shriya Saran looks fresh and manages to appear convincing as she oscillates between a conservative girl with braided hair and portraying a stylish demeanor in her western wear. The rest of the cast play their part to perfection.

A.R. Rahman does a good musical score and the song sequences are well shot. The costumes are trendy and appealing with due credit to Manish Malhotra. The ‘style’ song proves to be the best with its vibrant outfits and adventurous hairdos. Rajni manages to carry off his trendy hairstyles with complete ease especially his raging bald look in the end drawing similarities to an urban metro sexual. The power punch dialogues continue to echo in the ears of the audience. “Cooollll” isn’t it?

Though a little long, it’s a well directed film. It’s a thorough entertainer with a subtle social message depicting concern for the welfare of the poverty stricken population.

The movie does not fail to attract the swarming crowds like bees to honey. The adulation for the legendary superstar is indeed unmistakable even in a city like Mumbai. It has gotten rave reviews and already managed to break the record of the box office collections with the cash registers ringing in incessantly.

Running to packed houses, it provides a real delight especially to all Rajni fans. At this rate Sivaji is proving to be truly the boss of the box office.

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Jhoom barabar jhoom: Gloom barabar gloom

-By Swetha Amit
The concept of romance is often portrayed to be complex. Jhoom barabar jhoom takes the cake in this aspect as it sails you through the complicated love quadruple.

The film starts with Amitabh Bachchan doing a jhoom in a la pirates of the Caribbean look-alike costume. Perhaps depicting a feather to his cap or should I say hat?

Two strangers- Rikki Thukral (Abhishek Bachchan) and Alvira Khan (Preity Zinta) meet under the strangest circumstances and claim to be engaged. The delayed train schedules lead them to share a coffee table in a crowded cafeteria which ultimately results in sharing their respective love stories.

Rikki narrates his encounter with fiancée Anaida (Lara Dutta in a short hairdo with a heavy French accent) at The Ritz in Paris. After a few sniffs, laughs and tiff over the ticket to Hollywood, they finally fall in love to get engaged in a filmy fashion. Alvira goes on to share her blissful experience with Steve (Bobby Deol), a suave Lawyer of a renowned firm who rescues her from the falling Superman wax statue, turning out to be a real superman-according to Alvira anyway. His constant gentlemanly wooing manages to entangle Alvira into the web of love resulting in a fairy tale ending.

In between the film, is the Big B swaying to the title track as though to convince the audience saying”yeh movie barabar hai” which eventually fails to make a jhooming impact on them.

Imaginations are stretched along with the delay of the train arrival time. It results in Rikki and Alvira to contemplate their possible romance. This leads to an unwarranted and unrelated song sequence exhibiting the Taj Mahal. It appeared as though the characters were taking a tea break from their narration, and saying”Wah Taj”.

However a twist in tale occurs as Rikki and Alvira are discovered to have lied to one another about their committed status only to find themselves in love with each other. This propels them to desperately arrange a meeting with their respective partners in a dance competition of all places.
Enter Satvindar (Bobby), a bespectacled mama’s boy and Laila (Lara), a prostitute with an uncanny usage of crass language. The stark difference with which they were portrayed earlier is unmistakable with their actual stature in the film.

The dance competition prolongs for 15 minutes and the ending proves to be the predictable melodrama of a typical Yash Raj film. Alls well that ends well and it’s happily ever after for both the parties.

Abhishek does well as the Punjabi lad. Big B graces his musical presence in his fancy attire perking the audience to jhoom with him. Preity is convincing in some scenes. The rest portray a resemblance to the wax dolls in Madam Tussauds museum which appeared to be out of place. Not surprising as the story is set in London perhaps?

Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy turned out to be a disappointment as compared to their earlier scores with the exception to the title track. The final dance sequence was well choreographed with flamboyant costumes. However Shaad Ali’s direction was a let down in relation to his Bunty aur Babli and the story loses focus in between.

It failed to match the expected hype. It seems that love stories are becoming stale with the lack of ability to portray them in a creative manner. It makes one go in gloom and makes them feel that the film should have been titled Gloom barabar gloom. One can certainly feel that dekhne ke liye is movie bilkul barabar nahin hai.
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Yuvi war

-By Swetha Amit
This is in reference to the incident that took place in Yuvraj's Singh's party in December. The yuvi war seemed to be flashing all over the news channels.

Apparently the "Yuvraj" name wasn't the only common thing between the warring men. According to the reports, Yuvraj Mahajan's girlfriend was snatched away by the cricketer which resulted in a brawl between the two. This verbal and physical combat caused a police complaint to be lodged, only to be withdrawn later by both their respective mothers who seemed to VOICE their cries a little loud to the media. This has gone as far as the infamous cricketer being summoned to the court.

It was reported that our mid-order batsmen hit his namesake very hard. It’s a pity that such force and aggression is absent in his batting in the most crucial one day internationals. If only his bat did the hitting, the men in blue would not have let Indians go into blues.

Anyways, this gets one to wonder about the girl who seemed to have escaped the media glare. Isn’t it equally her fault too for having left the side of Yuvraj Mahajan and hooking on to Singh? In the society, men who get into a brawl over a girl are always seen in bad light. The girl escapes as the "innocent victim”. Is it only because she is the fairer sex? Doesn’t seem FAIR is it?

Though I feel strongly about woman related issues, belonging to this gender, I also believe that in every circumstance, it isn't necessarily the man's fault always. Cases like infidelity and two -timing are with the mutual consent of both the genders.

So why blame men alone?

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Appeared as Editors choice


Friday, June 01, 2007

The reign of the rain

It is that time of the year again. Darkened clouds begin to form groups wiping away the smile on the sun's face. The great battle begins, as these united forces combat the glare of the fierce sun, coming to the rescue of the living beings affected by this eternal furnace. Relenting to retire for a while, the rather reluctant sun finally agrees to crown the new form of nature which will shower and pour its affection on us who are eagerly beckoning it.

Yes the reign of the rain has indeed begun.

The first spell of showers greets us pleasantly by going pitter patter on our window panes .Waking up to their friendly wake up call, our morning drowsiness gets dispelled as we view this mystic beauty of the rains. A sense of freshness engulfs us as our nostrils pick up the fragrance of the just-wet soil.

It is indeed a treat to the eyes to see the teary link between the sky and earth with an occasional gale of wind, taking our breath away. Colorful umbrellas dance away to glory rejoicing the arrival of their long lost friend. It draws parallels to the delighted peacock doing a little jig with the onset of these rainy spells. Vibrant raincoats adorn people which form a protective layer from the monsoons.

Acting as a cool refresher from the blazing sun, it quenches the thirst of the parched grounds below. It waves goodbye to all the water problems by full (filling) its duty. It provides an excuse for sipping cups of hot beverages, giving one an opportunity to laze at home with loved ones.

The most popular concept of romance is derived by such spells of showers from the skies in the great Indian Cinema. Whether it is Kajol doing a perky "Mere khwabon mein"from the blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya le jaayenge or "Ghanan ghanan" from Lagaan, rains have portrayed different concepts of the heavenly spells. They indeed hold a certain charm for the creative minds thereby streaking out in every art form.

It is a wonderful phenomenon to see the falling raindrops causing the sprouts of green grass here and there. It appears as if nature has done a cleansing act, with everything looking newly washed, and taking away the dirt, dust and grime.

However a sense of relief as well as a streak of anxiety crosses our minds at the same time.
It is all well while nature is in its kindest form to us humans and not throwing up its inexplicable fury. This eliminates its beauty to take up its ugliest form. The extreme cases of such a temper are examined as follows.

26/7: The unforgettable tragic day in the form of nature's fury, bringing a standstill to the usually fast paced city of Mumbai. Great showers from the skies created havoc in the lives of people. It was a sad plight as the citizens were stranded at various places, helpless, anxious and yearning to get back to their loved ones, praying hard to appease the rain gods to spare them out of further disaster. It was most disheartening to see rains and floods preying on innocent lives causing an eternal separation from their families and friends.

Similar conditions of floods over the years in several parts of the country have caused the homes of millions. Confusion in the minds of people is like water flowing out of a dam. This is to fathom the reason for us to suffer as victims of the battle between the unseen forces and Mother Nature. Are we the pawns used in this great game of chess? We are forever seeking answers to one big question: why is the creator such a cruel destroyer?

Ordinary Homo sapiens like us can only appeal to the Nature and the Almighty to save us from the unpredictable and unknown wrath.

It is hoped that the pitter patter raindrops of the monsoons remain a beauty and not turn into a beast. Let the rains be a reason and season to smile and not make us go senile.
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