Thursday, March 29, 2007

Parenting styles


-By Swetha Amit
Psychology emphasizes the fact of individuality differences among humans.

So what is it that makes our personalities distinct from one another? Several factors are cited for our overall development and competence from our formative to the attractive adulthood stage. The prime backbone stresses the role of parents in our lives and has been of immense interest to millions.

Today,the multitasking function consists of a dual nature of being bread winners and family people. Assuring security and stability in every possible manner; imbibing values, morals and code of conduct; handing out suitable reinforcements and punishments indeed requires tact and is challenging on the couple. Striving to attain the perfect balance gives a further insight into the different styles of parenting adopted. This probably provides clarity in explaining the positive/adverse effects on character growth during the formative years.

Some parents tend to portray one extremity of the over controlling act by their Authoritarian parenting style. Continuing the trend of stern discipline from their childhood years propels such parents to advocate authority.Constant fear of their children straying into the forbidden territory often haunts in their minds. Lack of freedom is accompanied by grim rules made, indicating the home law. Prohibiting the voicing out of opinions results in the children feeling stifled. One can’t blame them for feeling like a television being monitored by a remote control.

Such children tend to portray irritability, annoyance and appear unfriendly to others. They tend to sulk often which isn’t surprising, considering the autocratic imposition that has deprived them out of their breathing space and happiness. It’s alarming to observe such individuals developing lack of confidence and an aura of uncertainty cast over them like a shadow. A rebellious streak is bound to occur beyond certain point of tolerance levels.

Permissive parenting style portrays the other extreme, quite contrary to the former one. Excess freedom is given without laying the basic ground rules. They let their young ones make the choices without passing an appropriate judgment. They are usually accepting of their children irrespective of their good/bad deeds. Such acts prohibit the children from gaining even the primary disciplinary procedure, equaling them to the carefree bird/animals in the wild.

These children display high levels of aggression. Not being monitored from an early age enables these youngsters from distinguishing between right and wrong. They are unable to think rationally and control their impulsive nature. Not being placed with too many demands leaves them with a difficulty of shouldering responsibilities. Basking in the over indulgence of parental affection causes them to retain immaturity levels.

There are some parents who place very little demands and possess little levels of responsiveness. They often appear cold, self obsessed and uncaring. This almost amounts to neglecting and rejection. It describes the Uninvolved parenting style which makes one wonder about the indifference displayed to their own children. It seems that other priorities rule their lives leaving them hard pressed for time to even generate the minimal requirement of warmth. This causes a crack in the parent-child relationship, the further widening of which destroys the bond forever. It resembles two parallel lines which can never meet.

Such children feel resentful towards their parents. A wave of insecurity engulfs them leaving them to feel perplexed and hurt due to the lack of nurture. Craving for affection and affiliation depict a pitiable plight of these personas. It’s a case of extremity between chillers and frostbites. Displacement of their anger towards their parents on others could earn them the title of desperate attention seekers. Such individuals are found harnessing the bitter wounds and become self centered where they exhibit lack of consideration for others.

The ideal style represents itself in the Flexible parenting style where the perfect balance is attained between giving freedom and establishing guidelines. Here children are handled by appropriate measure of a pleasant/offensive behaviour. The young ones are often consulted in decision making process. Channels of communication are always open which encourages everyone to voice out opinions with ease.

They develop into smart and confident adults who generate optimism in every situation. They portray a cheerful and friendly expression on their faces. Independent thinking and achievement oriented ,describes such individuals.

Carrying the trend to the next generation depends a lot on the parenting style we receive. Today’s parents may want to inculcate the right principles in their children. Isn’t it important to gain the perfect balancing act? An insight into the above factors will help in molding ourselves and others to adopt the suitable style, enhancing responsibility towards our kith and kin.


After all we don’t want to be saddled with the guilt of not bringing up our children with the right ingredients. In other words, it’s not worth entwining ourselves in an ironical situation of destroying our own creations-our children.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On a tiger trail....


-By Swetha Amit
A three hour drive from Mysore in the frosty morning brought me to the abode of the wild. Bandipur is one of the well renowned national parks situated about 80 km from the city and was the first Tiger reserves in the country.

The cold wave of air engulfed me as I got out of the car. It expelled the tinge of drowsiness that accompanied along with the long drive. As I mounted on to the jeep along with the guide, I eagerly awaited the two hour endeavor with the animal kingdom.

As I reached the woods, the guide’s hawk eyes immediately fell on some freshly made footprints. Apparently it was noted to be left behind by an animal probably out on its early morning stroll. Retrospection discovered that to be of the mighty tiger’s. Alerting the possibility of seeing the royalty perked my excitement and elation. From there began a cat and mouse game on a literal basis.

Following the footprints keenly like a curious child, embarked the beginning of the unforgettable tiger trail. Constant watching out for the striped animal held me with bated breath, leading us to drive further into the dense woods.

The forest world enamored me with their solid placidity. Tall trees stood by with stout bushy shrubs kneeling down at their feet. The glittering morning dew adorned on the fresh leaves giving them the scintillating effect.

Venturing deeper on this untamed mission caused us to bump into our fellow jeepers who were too craving to get a glimpse of the royal specie. In the midst of this wild goose chase provided an opportunity to encounter other fauna of this reserve.

The graceful peacock greeted us with pride as it displayed its elegance and infamous beauty. The Langur family, gathered for breakfast was hanging out on the branches gazing inquisitively at us ‘visitors’. The mongoose was seen scurrying by in search of its first meal. White spotted deer which were reported to be usually found in plenty only seemed a handful. The lovely Samba deer looked at us as it obligingly posed for a photo by which I captured its instant charm. Cruising further provided us a chance meeting with a wild sleepy boar by the lake which opened its eyes to acknowledge our presence.

But to our dismay, our fierce friend was nowhere in sight. It left us with a sinking feeling of being unable of exchanging pleasantries with the royalty. However the presence of fresh prints made my hopes soar along with the adrenalin levels. The big cat seemed to be enjoying this game of hide and seek with us. I looked around vigorously, half expecting the tiger to jump from nowhere and scare me out of my wits.

Chasing after this new found trail made the rumbling jeep echo through the strangely silent jungle. The peculiar stillness portrayed a serenity yet spelt danger lurking about which explained the mediocre amount of fawns. Another reason revealed the recent preying of a boar by the ferocious animal which was dragged mercilessly into the bushes, to be feasted upon.

I could feel the eyes of the unseen big cat on me, all the time as I cast a hopeful glance to exchange at least a smile with the black striped creature. However the dense jungle seemed to lend in their uncanny support by camouflaging the silent glides of its magnificent master.
Our two hour drive was nearing its end and so were our hopes. It was a disappointment to be considered unworthy of being in the company of the ‘elite’. Playing hard -to- get, the animal displayed its haughty demeanor by its invisible act.

I could imagine the tiger chuckling to itself of having gotten the better of us. We must have looked hopeless competing with the swift suavity of the big cat. It must be celebrating its new found victory of putting its guests on a prolonged trail. I silently vowed to myself to get better of the new found ‘friend’ during the next visit to this national park.

As I cast a last hopeful look at the woods behind, I caught sight of a huge shadowy black figure flashing by the trees with agility. For a moment my eyes widened with profuse exuberance as a question crossed my mind like lightening.

Was it the tiger?
Maybe, or maybe not?

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Namaste London:East meets West


-By Swetha Amit
What happens when a hard core Punjabi lad meets a British brat?


Namaste London takes you through the journey from east to west. Right from the green fields of Punjab to the foreign soil of Britain.


The film starts with a breathtaking view of London city. Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif get out of a luxurious car and walk hand in hand up the altar leaving her to marry a foreigner. As he walks away, the movie takes a trip down the memory lane tracing back to the events occurred few months ago.


Jasmeet aka Jazz (Katrina Kaif) is a typical London born and bred. She loves the westernized lifestyle which prompts her to party out with her Pakistani friend Imran (Upen Patel) and his girlfriend Suzanne till wee hours. His live in relationship generates shock waves within his father Parvez Khan (Javed Sheikh). Jazz’s night club adventures with strange whites ring an alarm bell for her anxious Punjabi parents who naturally want her to settle down with a good Indian boy.


On the pretext of a family holiday brings Jazz to the land of five rivers for the first time where she is introduced to Arjun (Akshay Kumar), a tough farmer in the Punjab village. Arjun is bowled over by Jazz at first sight as her father Manmohan (Rishi Kapoor) fixes her marriage with him. Jazz protests as she is unable to find a common ground with her prospective life partner, which falls on deaf ears of her dad. She goes through the wedding rather unwillingly.


Accompanying her to London, makes Arjun go in despair to see his beloved wife not acknowledging their marriage. On the other hand she is romancing her English boyfriend Charlie Brown whom she wants to marry. A dignified Arjun tolerates with the hope of his feelings being reciprocated one day.


How he earns his love and brings about the realization of ones cultural roots to Imran and Jazz forms rest of the story.


The film portrays some interesting scenes such as the Rugby match between the Indians and the British. Another, where Akshay reintroduces India in answer to the put down of the snooty British is remarkable.


Akshay stands out in his brilliant performance of a Punjabi guy with his comic timing and emotional scenes. Katrina Kaif does a great job as she fits the bill of the typical brat of London to perfection. Upen Patel contributes in his own way and Rishi Kapoor does well. The music is average and Vipul Shah has done an incredible job in portraying the stark contrast between the two cultures.


This movie makes one realize no matter where we Indians are settled doesn’t discount the fact of who we are. Our traditions and roots cannot be ignored. Our mistaken identities of trying hard to fit in the west will leave us fooling no one but ourselves. It makes one feel that our pride for our nation is never lost. India is certainly a country to be proud of. It is no longer the land of snake charmers as mocked by the foreigners. It has come a long way as a flourishing booming economy with its vast diversity in several aspects.


This film is a wholesome entertainer and can be watched by youngsters and families. After viewing it, one is indeed bound to fold their hands and say ‘Namaste’.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hat Trick: Doesn’t bowl you over



-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=0b09688c-78b5-4181-9cc2-6a12a6b39dfe
Bowled, caught and stumped!!


The cricket fever has spread like wild fire. Even Bollywood seems to have been bitten by the World cup bug, inspiring it to release a film around the same time.


Hat Trick portrays three parallel stories on a simultaneous basis. Each of these depicts the discovery of something within the characters displayed. Though it isn’t directly related to cricket, the game still manages to grab the backdrop of the theme.


The first story consists of a stoic Dr. Satyajit (Nana Patekar) who remains unemotional in both his personal or professional life. Whether it’s announcing a patient’s onset of death or communicating with his family, his words point blank equal him to a mechanical robot. Enter a patient David Abraham (Danny Denzongpa) a former cricketer with a fatal condition. His fun loving nature is accompanied with the obsession of cricket which fails to reach the understanding or empathy of Dr.Satyajit. How David brings about an entire change in the viewpoint of the latter adds an element of merriment to the tale.



The second story talks about Hemu Patel (Paresh Rawal) who is residing in the U.K with his wife and daughter. Hemu works as a janitor in the airport. However he boasts to his friends of being in the immigration and rubbing shoulders with the elite, including the infamous cricketer Imran Khan; in turn basking in their admiration. His obsession for attaining the citizenship in the foreign land drives him to the extent of even underplaying his true patriotism. This occurs much to the dismay of his beloved wife and scornful daughter. How he realizes his mistaken identity forms the rest of the narrative.



The third tale takes you to a newly married couple Sarabjit (Kunal Kapoor) and Kashmira (Rimi Sen) who are very much in love. However Kashmira finds Sarabjit glued to the world cup playing on television, paying minimal attention to her. A perplexed Kashmira finds solution in watching the sport along with her cricket crazy husband, only to become an ardent fan of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Her new found fascination infuriates Sarabjit leading to a friction between the blessed pair with a possibility of resulting in a break up. How they realize their folly and finally make amends tells it all.



Nana Patekar does an excellent job as the no nonsense doctor. Danny Denzongpa is entertaining. Paresh Rawal is convincing as the confused Desi on foreign soil. Kunal Kapoor and Rimi Sen add to the charm.



The film goes to prove that how the characters fail to realize the essence of small things making a huge difference in complicated scenarios. It also emphasizes the fact of obsession of cricket or anything disrupts the ordinary routine of life which otherwise one can seek pleasure from. Raising stress/adrenalin levels or remaining detached will ruin one's momentary joy.



Milan Luthria’s Hat Trick doesn’t bowl you over or stump you. Nor does it take away your wicket. It promises an emotional, yet a light hearted entertainer with good dialogues, leaving its own impact.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WC:Triple shock and a remarkable recovery


-By Swetha Amit
The start of the World cup had sent shock waves across the world. Beginning with the defeat of two strong teams to the less experienced ones.

India’s thrashing by Bangladesh and Pakistan’s ousting out of the series has come as a rude and unbelievable blow to millions. Accompanied with the latest news of Bob Woolmer’s sudden demise, has added fuel to the fire.

Pakistan who would have hardly recovered from their big blow, received another one, of their coach’s loss which has jolted them out of their wits. Leaving with high levels of confidence and soaring expectations would have naturally left the team members dejected and dismayed. They had to quit without even putting up a proper fight.

It was a horrifying plight to see the Indians thrashed in a pitiable manner. It appeared that the team slacked in its play, not realizing the potential of the minnows. It seemed that their underplaying was deliberate, depicting their over confidence, drawing parallels to the hare and tortoise story.

A number of enraged fans had expressed their unmistakable displeasure over this devastating defeat. Some let out war cries stating on how players not in form should be knocked off. While others were seen cursing the skipper and coach, few criticized the whole team. And some pleaded them to concentrate more on the sport than just endorsing brands.

However our beloved men in blue have managed to bring back the smiles on to their fans. With their spectacular total of 413, they have managed to create world cup history. They batted through their skin during the do or die situation. The marvelous sixes and fours whizzed by, leaving the crowd spell bound and delighted. Not to mention the impressive innings by players like Yuvraj, Ganguly, Tendulkar and Sehwag who was awarded the man of the match.

India did more than to make up for their previous disastrous performance. Realizing the adrenalin levels rising across the nation has propelled them to combat the fierce battle and brought forth their stupendous killer instinct.

The target of bowling out the opponent to about 150 seemed to grip them, especially when rain almost played spoilsport. However nature seemed to cast a merciful glance at the grounds below waving a goodbye as the game resumed again. With a bit of a struggle, wickets were grabbed greedily in the tension filled atmosphere.

The men in blue were back on track with their jubilant victory by 257 runs setting a world record. Let’s hope that their new found confidence is retained in the next big game against Sri Lanka which will determine their entry into the super 8. This will truly establish their supremacy.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Just Married:Marriage was only the beginning


-By Swetha Amit
Marriage was only the beginning. So does it depict the fairy tale ending of happily ever after?
Just married takes you to the story of two strangers who are bonded for life by the great Indian arranged marriage.

Abhay (Fardeen Khan) and Reetika (Esha Deol) complying with their parents wishes, agree to get married in a way unacceptable to both. This is a surprising thing in the present rebellious scenario of the 21st century. Two unknown individuals become life partners after barely a sole meeting and are on their way to their 5 day honeymoon to Ooty.

The unfamiliarity factor transpires the feeling of nervousness and awkwardness, which is only natural. It generates a lot of evasiveness from Reetika who is supported by an understanding and patient Abhay. Going all out, he tries to make her feel at utmost ease. From there begins a slow process of consummating into a blooming love after going through the usual hitches of fallouts and fights.

Their journey encounters them with other couples: An old nagging pair married for 40 years (Satish Shah and Kiron Kher); a passionate and almost perfect couple (Bikram Saluja and Perizaad Zorabian); Muslim childhood sweethearts (Mukul Dev and Sadiya Siddiqui) and a young NRI couple (Tarina Patel and Raj Zutshi).This seemingly portrays a resemblance to Honeymoon travels pvt ltd.Yet it’s certainly not a sequel to the latter. This brings to light the stark diversity of ideologies of individuals and an insight into the complexity of human relationships.

The climax is rather dampening with an uncorrelated melodrama adding a filmy aura of predictability to it.

Fardeen Khan gives a decent performance in his charming guy-next-door role. Esha Deol plays her part of a coy Indian wife quite well.Satish Shah and Kiron Kher add their comic elements with their effortless performances. Bikram Saluja and Perizaad Zorabian turn out to be the surprise package. The other couples contribute in their own special way.

Meghana Gulzar does a decent job and Pritam’s music turns out to be nothing less than average.
Just married is a sweet film. Yet it may not be identifiable in an era where the concept of arranged marriages is slowly phasing out. Overall a time pass entertainer. It is most likely to be watched by the newly wed or engaged to be married couples. It certainly goes to prove that though marriage is only a start, one has to go a long way to attain that fantasy and magical ending.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Jealousy:The green eyed monster


-Swetha Amit
The green ugly monster usually occurs in our worst of nightmares. However, it has found to be visible even during the broad daylight. We have all been victims of this bug bite at some point in our lives.

JEALOUSY: The most natural yet devastating emotion which manifests itself into a monster within us. This deadly instinct creates a surge of blood to boil and leave us with a heated feeling, probably giving burning coal stiff competition.

Occurring in different stages, it varies in degrees of severity from being passive and mild to obsessive and dangerous. It refers to cognition of being threatened by a rival. What occurs as a passing thought accommodates itself as a leech sucking the pleasantness from our personalities. This ultimately leads to our destruction if not dealt with at the right time, in an effective manner. This demon inside is known to gnaw at our peace of mind.


So why do we end up feeling jealous? A further understanding of tracing into its primeval causes would enable us to combat this fierce battle of angels vs. demons and emerge as happier individuals. It’s known to occur in different phases in our lives which can grow with age and stature.

Starting from our childhood, this feeling is chosen to be ignored not realizing its dire consequences. A sudden shift of attention by our parents towards a new entrant, a sibling would leave us feeling morose and lead to resentment of our younger brother/sister. This is especially after we had gotten used to being the sole object of their affection. An insecure wave engulfs us making us feel as though we’ve lost our parents to someone else, which unfortunately isn’t realized by them. It ultimately leads to hatred, which is portrayed by acts of pinching or bullying our siblings and other children. Constant comparison can also result in an unhealthy competition at a much later stage.


During our adolescence/school days, envious feelings occur over issues like the popularity quotient and teachers' pet. Pangs of jealousy are felt towards our friends over the opposite gender’s attention, attractive appearances and recognized talents. Striving to possess others attributes, absent in us, and is what causes this devil within us.


Adulthood exposes us to the real world. Factors like education, acquisition of degrees, career prospects abroad, salary structure and marital issues play a crucial role in intensifying this persistent feeling. This is in spite of our maturity levels prevailing in moderate limits. Brooding over others prosperity, power, position or social status or being threatened by our partner’s interaction with the opposite gender describes our devilish emotion. It could result in extremity of possessiveness.


All this sums up to feelings of insecurity, low self confidence and comparison which are cited to be the main causes of this deadly feeling. Getting to the root origin indicates the victory of at least half the battle. This would propel the effective management of this green eyed monster. Some of the effective steps include:


Addressing the issue immediately will extinguish this spark before it blazes up into a fiery destructive emotion. Dismissing it as ‘just another feeling’ and complete denial could lead to frustration within oneself and others. Acceptance and honesty will steer this wheel into a favorable mode of positivism.


Indulging in positive self talk emphasizes the ‘feel good’ factor. Respecting oneself for the person we are works wonders. Dwelling on our positive points instead of drowning in our negatives equals the magical touch of the wishing wand.


Identifying strengths enables one to focus on their inherent talents and developing their interests into a probably passionate profession/activity. It’s a definite confident boosting factor which would eradicate any remote form of insecurity.


‘Stop comparing’ formula is the best medicine to cure one out of this disease. It’s this constant obsession about the rival that declines our productivity and intellectual abilities. Realizing the uniqueness and each person being different from one another is bound to clear the fog out of the clouded minds. This rule is applicable to outsiders who indulge in the annoying act of comparing two individuals.


Seeking a trustworthy confident will help in planting the seeds of assurance during the initial hurl of insecure attacks. A shoulder to cry on and pour out feelings will help in gaining control of ones emotions. Regular feeding of loving words can act as a soothing balm to the nerve wrecked wounds.


Lastly, communicating with the rival, if possible can help gain clarity of your feelings. Maybe the so called ‘threatening factor’ have their imperfections as well. This will remove the false notions of the ‘affected one’ being a total good for nothing. A rare case of discovering the ‘opposition’ envying us for our strengths may reduce our destructive undercurrents.


Keeping all this in mind, we should work towards overtaking this green eyed monster before it rules over us completely. After all we do want our inner beauty, peaceful sleep and happiness don’t we?


Written for www.msn.co.in

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Parentage:Old is gold



-By Swetha Amit
Anil (name changed) and his wife were a typical urban couple, with two children. Their nuclear family lifestyle depicted the long working hours, with occasional socializing on weekends. All was well until that one afternoon phone call. Anil received devastating news of his ailing mother having breathed her last. Naturally struck with a shocking blow, he performed his due rights of being the only son. However what lingered in his mind was what was to become of his lonely father. Consulting his wife was met with a vehement opposition of accommodating him at their residence, for fear of being a nuisance. Unable to find an alternate option propelled Anil to drop his father ruthlessly in an old age home.

This shocking act is found to be an increasing trend in India, at present. A further insight will help gaining clarity about the parentage phenomenon especially during their old age.
Our existence in this world is no mystery. We would have never come into being, if not for the divine-like couple-our parents.

Parents were those, whose joy knew no bounds as we opened our meek little eyes to first. They held our tiny fingers as we took our initial shaky step. Their protective hands would come to our magical rescue with every fall. Fiercely shielding us from the harsh glare of the real world, they would come to our side with every cry we uttered. Listening to our childish squabbles with peers/siblings to scolding us for slacking in our studies, have portrayed their utmost concern. Enduring patience has enabled them to imbibe the right values in us. Wisely explaining the facts of life at the “right age” evolved them to turn into our best friends as we grew older. In spite of our temper tantrums and moodiness, they have never failed to understand us. Their steadfast attitude anchored us during times of misery.

Sacrifices were made in order fulfill our every little need through perseverance and slogging. Whatever problems faced, were retained in anonymity. Whether it was funding for our education/paying back loans. Concealed by their cheerful smile would put to rest our pertinent questions. They were pillars of support and strength during our formative years which helped us develop into the wonderful adults we are today. Being our permanent well wishers, they pray for our well being in every growing phase of ours. They accept the nuclear lifestyle with a realization the essence of a healthy distance maintained. For their numerous remarkable deeds, all they expect in return is just an eternal quest for affiliation.

So how many of us realize this? Do we even know our duties towards parents? In times of their need, such as loss of a spouse/growing weaker, we conveniently develop a selective amnesia to our otherwise unforgettable past, don’t we?

Perceived as hurdles in our daily living, depicts the reluctance to accommodate them into our large spacious homes. This results in the brutal act of throwing such senior citizens into the strange old age homes, like some unwanted compiled ragged cloth. It reflects the ungrateful gestures forgetting all that parents have done. It’s a fact these aging souls tend to become ill tempered and cranky. However didn’t they put up with our temper when we were extremely intolerable at times?

One cannot blame the aged for feeling rejected and hurt. Imagine being unwanted by your own blood ties in times of grief and need. It’s a pitiable sight at these homes where these old beings are yearning for their kith and kin. Their sad old eyes can make anyone’s heart bleed. It’s indeed a miserable plight to see such sensitive eyes fill with tears, instead of gleaming joy of seeing their grandchildren grow.

It’s a traumatized state of sometimes being in denial. They live with a false hope of being taken to their children’s homes one day which is far from reality. Such individuals are not even visited by their families after that, with the pretext of lack of time available. Replenishing them with lump sum amount of money isn’t going to make up for the lack of humanity.

The increasing numbers of old age homes in our country have left us to be the laughing stock by others. India is known for its respect for the aged and is portraying the opposite. It should cause us to hang our heads in shame. We have left others to take care of our parents instead of doing the needful. If not for our negligence and irresponsibility, the government needn’t be enforcing laws in favor of the senior citizens today.

It’s an irony that in spite of these thoughts voiced out in our sub conscious minds, old age homes still exist. Why?

Why can’t we fulfill their desire of being with their children in their last ‘twilight’ years? Why not do thoughtful gestures to bring a smile on their wrinkled faces? Is it an impossible task? Why throw them in those cold homes and leave them to suffer from misery and rejection? Why make them face the dreaded disease of loneliness in their last
days?

In other words, why not reverse roles by holding their little trembling finger during their second childhood stage?
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

B'day:Aamir Khan

-By Swetha Amit
Today (March 14) is the 42nd b’day of Aamir Khan. Below is an innovative presentation of his popular films describing his elated journey in Bollywood.


This chocolate boy Khan has come a long way from singing “Papa kehte hain” to a revolutionary, yet colorful ‘Rang De Basanti’. ‘Qayamat se Qayamat tak’, Aamir won a place in everyone’s ‘Dil’.


He has maintained an ‘Andaz apna apna’, emphasizing his motto of ‘Akele hum Akele tum’. However his enigmatic charm has created an ‘Ishq’ in the ‘Mann’ of millions. They cannot but help it as yeh ‘Dil hai ki manta (hi) nahin’.


His perseverance has proved him to be a ‘Sarfarosh’ without displaying himself as a ‘Ghulam’.His debut singing “Aati kya Khandala” has made us fans feel ‘ Hum hain rahi pyar ke’ on the way to this hill station.


His films created history in the box office. His versatility and unique style has quite made him the ‘Mangal Panday’ of Indian cinema, in turn making several hearts go ‘Fanaa’.His long absence was indeed conspicuous which made it evident that hamara ‘Dil (usi ko) chahta hai’.


His onscreen tapori act of selling tickets in black was contradictory to his “Rangeela” image, which probably exempted him from paying ‘Lagaan’.


Having won the best actor awards a few times states the fact ‘Jo Jeeta wohi sikhandar’.

Lastly, being the Indian representative of his entry to the Oscars has certainly made him the Raja (of) Hindustan (i).


So here’s wishing this perfectionist khan a very Happy birthday and may this very trait take Indian cinema across the globe.



Written for
www.msn.co.in
Appeared as spotlight of the day

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Water


-By Swetha Amit
Water traces back into the year of 1938 even before India attained freedom. It gives an insight into the appalling treatment handed out to the women, particularly that of the widows.

The film starts with an innocent 7 year old girl, Chuiya (Sarala) informed about her status of being widowed. Transported into an Ashram across the river brings Chuiya into the queer world of depressed widows headed by the evil Madhumati (Manorma).Her harsh dictatorship which is feared by all is sometimes opposed only by Shakuntala (Seema Biswas).Chuiya finds herself trapped in this strange place forever despite her continuous wails to go back home.

Her meeting with the beautiful Kalyani (Lisa Ray) finds her a friend in the otherwise cold and isolated locale. This pretty young widow is exploited and pimped by Madhumati to overcome the shortage of finances in the Ashram. A chance encounter with Narayan (John Abraham) causes the latter to fall in love with her in spite of her ‘widowed’ status who reciprocates the same. He proposes to marry her. A happy Kalyani is all set to tread on to the forbidden territory with opposition met by Madhumati. However, Shakuntala coming to her rescue propels Kalyani to move on to greener pastures only to be met with unexpected turn of events.

It ends on a positive and hopeful note. A sensitively handled film with powerful performances. Seema Biswas stands out.John does well with a lot of conviction. Lisa Ray and Sarala have done a good job. It’s yet another master piece by Deepa Mehta. A bold and unconventional theme well exhibited in a crafty manner.

The film takes a turn into revealing the horrifying and hypocritical condition of the Indian society. It was shocking to see child marriages having taken place and the innocence being resurrected. The age of schooling and education is replaced by plunging them into a union least understood by them.

It emphasizes the inequality of women which continues to prevail in many parts despite the fact of the so called liberalization. Although women have come a long way, there are certain dark areas which apparently education fails to throw light on. Sati, bride-burning are known to occur. There exist the days of women being forced into marriages or playing the sacrificing roles. It is a miserable plight to see widow remarriage still being considered a taboo in our democratic country.

Freedom for which the father of the nation fought for has been forgotten the meaning of. Independence which is celebrated every year ironically fails to be implemented. What are we celebrating? Having combated the British rule ALONE? What about being given the choice of what to do instead of being forced down upon?

It is high time that India eradicates such evils and intensifies its democracy even further.

Although water did drain out at the Oscars, it will continue its retention in the Indian audiences which is sure to leave certain moist eyes. It goes to prove that water will remain down to earth without extinguishing its passionate fiery portrayal of a delicate issue. It has done our country proud by its brilliant portrayal of a realistic and touchy issue which is bound to melt the hearts of millions.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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1971


-By Swetha Amit
It’s no secret that numerous Indo-Pak wars have occurred in the past. Among these the 1971 proved to be one of the most crucial.

An interesting fact to be noted here are the lives of the Indian POWs/prisoners of the war who were captured alive and kept by the opponent. The film 1971 portrays the story of such captives in the enemy camp, who try and escape into their motherland.

A question that persists in the minds of everyone is why are such individuals of the Indian army held as prisoners in Pakistan? This was despite the fact of India having released numerous of such prisoners to their rival country.

The film unfolds the story of a group of such Indian prisoners in the Pakistani jails who strive with the hope of being released one fine day. Major Suraj Singh (Manoj Bajpai) and his team Captain Jacob (Ravi Kissen), Subedar Ahmed (Chitaranjan Giri), Captain Kabir (Kumud Mishra), Flight Lt. Ram (Manav Kaul) and Flight Lt. Gurtu (Deepak Dobriyal), along with 50 others are shifted to a secluded Chaklala camp to keep them away from the eyes of the Red cross who suspect the unfair possessing of such beings by the government.

False hopes are hurled out to these perplexed soldiers to prevent their escape, only to throw them back into prison once the Red Cross is out. Suspicion occurs in the mind of Major Suraj Singh, which is proved right. From there begins the unraveling of a master mind plan depicting an attempt of the great escape into their nation. This dangerous mission is accompanied with a constant threat of being chased by their enemies’.

Nothing stops these brave warriors as they combat the speedy bullets firing from all ends, risking their beloved lives for one another. Their admirable grit and determination fights the attacks hauled from different directions as their agile minds work out a crafty retort to their chasers. Being in a small number does work to their disadvantage, as they see their injured loved ones close their eyes forever.

One can imagine the mental anguish and torture seeing their friends enter the jaws of death in spite of repeated attempts to save their lives. No matter how tough these valiant soldiers seem, it does not deprive them of the normal humane feelings of grieving over a loss of a close one.

Struggling to limp along, they encounter the frost bites in the bitter cold weather of the mighty snow capped mountains. After what seemed like eternity, they discover the Indian border and their joy knows no bounds as they see their country flag waving at them.

Before they could unveil their true identity to the Indian military, a turn in events causes an ironical tragic ending. They are shot by their rivals in their home boundary and dragged back from where they fled on the pretext of being court martialed.

A brilliant film by Amrit Sagar and portrays sound performances by all the actors.

Based on a true story, the movie depicts the conditions of such P.O.Ws who are languishing in the enemy territory. A truth which is known yet chose to be ignored without justice being given to the mighty heroes even by the Human rights commission. It is a miserable plight to see such sacrificing souls who have risked their lives for the country to lead such pitiable lives in anonymity. It is extremely unfair that their courage and patriotism are rewarded in such a brutal manner. Enslaving such individuals indeed represents the sadism of humanity.

Their stark ironies that while such admirable endurance by the army, who fought for the freedom, are deprived of it themselves. Has the struggle for independence of their nation, in other words stripped them out of theirs? It remains an unresolved issue even till today.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pati,patni aur woe


-By Swetha Amit
That three is a crowd, has always been a popular belief. This well known fact is applicable to just mere acquaintances, friendships and more importantly to the contemporary situation of the marriage scene.

Several complexities have entered this sacred zone of a cozy twosome depicting a “happily married couple”. This chemistry equation is being threatened by a third variable, occurring in many forms. One of the ironical twists exists in the gender factor itself.

The availability of equal opportunities has prodded both men and women to take the career pathway. Tasting success quite early, with admirable achievements, propels some of these individuals to look to climbing the occupational ladder and quickly. With undue work demands, both genders are thrown more together in the professional environments, requiring a large amount of interaction and long hours of togetherness. Frequent travel and deadlines tend to drive the family bound personalities, further away from home, leaving minimal time with spouses.

Frustrations can start creeping in, as quarrels begin to break out with their respective partners for the lack of time spent. As they are already stressed out with occupational hazards, it gives rise to mounting stress levels. Almost everyone needs a shoulder to cry on, to narrate the woes, and lo, there is a ready -to -hear counselor and in a moment of weakness, confide in the opposite sex colleague, sometimes with a purpose of attaining a third person’s perspective. Empathy and sympathy is generated in abundance and sometimes taken advantage of by the latter, who secretly nurture a soft corner for the former. The grass always seems greener on the other side, when partners experience the lack of understanding in their own spouses and feel the need to seek another emotional support.

The charming act leads to both genders getting a little too close for comfort to the other committed souls. Apparently, their ‘married’ status doesn’t make a difference to them, not even realizing for a moment before threading on this dangerous path.

Friendship, developed between the two sexes over a span of time is quite normal when within limits. However such rapport is not taken in too kindly by the respective spouses, who tend to feel threatened and insecure. They are usually wary of these single or otherwise career-oriented rivals who tend to go overboard in their expectations out of their opposite gender ‘friend’.

Frequent calls, flirty or naughty text messages, long emails, unwarranted gifts, often send warning signals to the perturbed life partner. Confrontation of these, result in the husband/wife dismissing it as ‘nothing to worry about’. Matters are worsened when the third party displays a rather overt behavior at social gatherings. A prolonged hug, a flick of hair or unnecessary physical gestures can infuriate the significant other which is completely understandable.


This awkward situation puts the affected party in a ‘fix’. Wanting to avoid a public show down compels them to resort to reticence. Subtle hints like stepping back or avoiding reciprocal of such overtones are exhibited, which unfortunately fails to reach the menace. This continues to occur despite of partners’ manifestation of displeasure conveyed by sending out strong signals. Continuation of this inappropriate behavior can result in bringing the roof down on a literal basis.


Partners drown in perplexity on finding a solution to tackle such problematic situations. One hand they are dealing with a frantic, yet justified spouse and another side requiring tact which would otherwise ruin their professional image. However, it should be realized that being firm is of immense importance here. Such overbearing companionships are not worth risking for an otherwise perfect marriage.

Maintaining a fair amount of distance and restricting talks strictly to a professional content will work wonders. Making time for the family would prevent further tiffs which will not drive them to confide in anyone else. Domestic matters should be solved within closed confidential quarters and never to be disclosed to outsiders. Asserting themselves when necessary isn’t going to hurt, in order to protect their rights and that of their partners’.


Husbands/wives on the other hand, have every right to voice their stand. After all it’s a question of their life. Being in the ‘superior legalized position’ gives them the added advantage of enabling them the appropriate support system in ticking off such perceived ‘threats’. Being a sensitive issue, it must be handled with utmost care and tact. Overreaction can also have a negative impact and not reacting at all can cause further damage, as there is a very thin line that separates the threshold.


Several studies are done by expert researchers to explore deeper into this mysterious phenomenon. Some reveal that women seeking contacts with married men can love a man only when his value is estimated by some other woman, his wife. While others say that women who are generally more vulnerable psychologically are devoid of husband's support, engage in such acts.


On retrospect, it’s a strange fact that such people cause pain and misery to their own clan, by feuding over a man/woman who’s ‘taken’. Don’t they for a moment realize that a healthy distance maintained could prevent other further complications? Such inexplicable mannerisms would end up making them look like a fool, giving rise for the grapevine gossip, jeopardizing theirs and work place reputation.


Stepping back and avoiding entering into the forbidden territory would save a lot of trouble. Such humans need to steer clear from unacceptable behavior towards the married. This would cause the society to view them with a diseased eye, labeling them a ‘home wrecker’ or ‘characterless’. Is it really fair to come in between a blissful union causing nothing but misery, anger and pain? Should it really lead to a situation of pati, patni aur woe???


Written for www.msn.co.in

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Influenced instincts

-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=d64e6814-3caf-4d80-8c24-b67850b65842



It is true that humans evolved out of the animal instinct several years ago. We have come a long way from the dark ages to being considered the most intelligent. Our minds are governed by what are known as “thinking caps”. So what is it that determines our cognitive structuring down the line?

It is a well known fact that media and books largely influence the thought process of individuals. Some make us move to tears, while some make us laugh till our sides ache. Others portray reality or true incidents which tend to leave a large impact, consciously or subconsciously.

Certain films depict the complexity of human relationships. Off late bold themes seem to be the contemporary thing. It is a FACT that east is meeting the west, whether it is done silently or in the open. A large part of the youth is greatly propelled by what is portrayed on the big screen. Subconscious imitation of their favorite celebrity, for fun such as taking a puff or a peg heads towards an addictive behaviour, ultimately leading to a negative result.

Any kind of culture doesn’t advocate rave parties, excessive drinking or smoking. At the end of it all, we are the sufferers for having given in to our evolutionary instincts. It is not wrong to have a liberated thinking. But it certainly matters when it affects one in the long run and others in the process (such as drunken driving cases).Infidelity and immorality destroy us and others as well.

We claim to be mature and aware of numerous things. Knowledge supposedly removes the darkness in the form of ignorance from our minds. Such evils unfortunately prevail despite of our awareness levels being at its peak. Human minds need not fall prey and be misled to what is seen on visual or print media. If only stability and strictness occurs in our thinking, will we not require censorship by other individuals.

At the end of it, in the pretext of giving in to our needs, don’t we feel guilty for having messed up things in our life? We realize our folly before it’s too late. We ruin others life by causing misery and pain only because of our uncontrollable desires.

In what way are we different from animals? With the kind of education that is given to us today, is it that difficult to distinguish between the morally right and wrong? Are we that gullible that we are unable to control our ‘silent needs’ and give way to something that our ‘conscious’ knows the appropriate answer to? Isn’t it a fact that our brain gets colored by what we see, hear, or read? Right from our dress to hairstyles, to food habits vocation and career; is influenced by aping someone or something, be it just cinema or any other media. Juvenile crimes, psychopathic behaviour, adultery, are they a result of our "so called instincts"?

Media does have a crucial role to play in influencing the present and future generation. This realization is what precipitates meaningful movies and documentaries to be made on social issues with a strong message which unfortunately is chosen to be dismissed. Communicating and presenting such thought provoking ideas are aimed to influence the society in a positive manner by removing the misconceptions and stigma correlated with these terms.

However it’s a pity that, instead of learning something from the thought provoking visuals, our wavering minds sway in a different direction. Forbidden fruit is always tempting is the philosophy that we fall prey to. There exists a large part of the population which misinterprets the ‘illegitimate’ issues portrayed and follow it blindly thinking that media advocates such practices as legal. That being the case, it is important not to legitimize what is really not "acceptable" than address the issues arising out of them later, even if it is a make believe world of movies

In short, should we subject ourselves to the “influenced instincts” syndrome?

Written for www.msn.co.in


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Woman's day out


-By Swetha Amit
Women are God’s personification of words like mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, wife, and the list goes on. Embodiment of love, warmth and care has been identified with this gender. Womanhood is said to be the most gracious and honorable stage in a lifetime.

An expedition to exploring the roots of this mysterious gender provides certain interesting evidence. Tracing back to the prehistoric period and coming back to the contemporary scenario, women have certainly come a long way.

The dark ages depict practices of female infanticide, where a birth of a girl child was considered a burden. Exceptional cases of survival of these led them to being locked up within the homely four walls, restricting them to domestic chores alone. They were believed to be the weaker sex and incapable accomplishing anything else. Marriage was conducted when they were barely up their feet. Post marriage proved to be even worse being treated like slaves and prisoners. Widows were the worst sufferers as they were like untouchables and remarrying was considered a sin.

Liberation, freedom and independence seemed alien to these innocent ladies, until the General Assembly urged an end to this unwarranted discrimination, promoting support for equality of genders, in 1977. This day is celebrated as Woman’s day. Today the modernization of these Venusians has brought a great impact as they enjoy similar positions with their favorite Martians in almost every educational and occupational field, and are proud achievers .But the journey has been a long and arduous one and is still continuing.

The transformation from a girl turning into a woman portrays a resemblance to the metamorphosis of an unattractive caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. The onset of puberty embarks her beginning of this thorny travel, as the awareness of her feminity dawns upon her. Whether it’s an uncanny zit on a face or a hormonal mood swing, hardships faced, all exist in abundance. At 21, this ugly duckling turns into a sophisticated swan basking either in the admiration or criticism under the scorching gaze of millions. This travel is a rather rocky road to the rosy destination.

However, just like a rose garden isn’t free without thorns, this particular phase is faced with such prickly hurdles in many forms. As the steps climb up to higher stages, a unique kind of challenge is placed before them with different roles undertaken. Scrutinization always takes place with their height, weight, skin color and hair that they almost feel like a sculpture displayed for show in an art exhibition. Their choices with respect to education, marriage, and occupation or post marital decisions of being a home maker are always met with a critical eye and mouth! Everything from their culinary skills, house management, salary, job profile, and working hours are discussed about.

A working woman is viewed as someone who’s modern, hep, fast and egoistic with no time for family. A homemaker is often seen as someone dumb, with lack of exposure, non enterprising and someone who sits at home watching television and engages in gossip with the neighbors.

Today, expectations from an ideal Woman is truly pressurizing as demands are made for a certain social obligation and etiquette. Whether she is a newly married, an understanding wife, a working woman or a patient mother to an advisory grandmother, multi tasking roles add the excess burden on her delicate shoulders. But the dual role of being a home maker and bread winner is carried out remarkably well and her dainty face is never devoid of that warm smile to her kith and kin.

Yet, it is a shame to see issues of women abuse, rape, bride burning for the lack of dowry, eve teasing, and prostitution still prevailing in certain parts of the country even today. Worst of all is the prevalence of female foeticide. Sadder is the fact that sometimes a woman’s worst enemy is another woman herself, whose obsession with the male gender never fails to leave her, be it to beget a male heir or taking away another's man. Education still needs to penetrate to eradicate and remove these evils.

Nevertheless, women are God's gift to earth and not mere sex objects or family burden. Communities need to accept women for their golden heart and not their other ‘Gold’. Society needs to love and respect women for whom they are in terms of personality and behavior and not for their credentials.

A lot is taken for granted. Not a second goes into empathy, support and gratitude for the fairer sex. The Woman is the back bone of the family and represents the roots of the family tree. Lack of nourishment and nurture of these tender roots will weaken the foundation leading to collapse of this magnificent tree. We never notice anything when it’s always under our eye. But its conspicuousness and worth is realized only when it disappears, never to come back again.

So here’s a call to the Martians. Why not make this day special for all the Venusians be it at home or at work place. A word of praise and appreciation by simply letting her know how important she is or reversing the role for this one day, will truly make her feel on top of the world.

After all, it’s her day out and out, isn’t it?
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Lifetime lessons

-Swetha Amit
Often I wonder that, there are several people we encounter in our journey of life. Some stay till our end. Some just accompany us till a certain point after which we are on our own. And some just make their deep impact for that short span of time and disappear only to never to appear again. So what do we learn from this? An analysis of this provided me some thought provoking interpretations.

People come into our life for a reason, season, treason or a lifetime. When someone is in our life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need we have expressed. Such people probably include our parents who are there to hold out our tiny finger to lead us into the bigger steps of our lifelong pathway. Teachers who assist us through difficulty in terms of our studies and later on,spiritually.Doctors who treat us during our physical ailments and psychologists who help us to help ourselves during states of misery. The list just goes on to people including our friends, other family members and acquaintances who have come to assist us through a difficulty, to provide us with guidance and support. They may seem like a Godsend and they are. They are there for the reason we need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on our part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force us to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

This made me realize that some people come into our life for a season. Our turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring us an experience which makes us laugh or cry. They may teach us something we have never done. It may be a conversation with a fellow passenger on an aircraft, bus or train which leaves us spellbound on hearing what they share with us. It might be a relationship which may end amicably or on bitter terms. Whatever it is, they usually give us an unbelievable amount of joy or even inexplicable sorrow. Believe it, it is realistic lesson to help us mould our personality and character into a finer shape along with the help of TIME.

Some people come into our life for treason. They are here to take all the help they need from you and end up stabbing your back. Very hurtful and cold blooded isn’t it? A feeling of being engulfed by betrayal is probably the worst, one could encounter with. In order to be the bigger person here and one should look at this as a chapter of learning a lifetime lesson. A way to move on or LET GO of this baggage is to tell ourselves, we probably owed a long time debt to that betrayer some lifetime back. We are made to suffer for our karmic actions. It’s a realization that we probably have caused such a feeling to some other person that, its come around to us. Not an easy method. But definitely worth a try.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. There are very few people who accompany us till our almost end. But no matter what, I have realized that bitter feelings are of no use. Are we going to take anything with us when we leave this earth? Our spiritual encounter indeed is devoid of clinging to past objects or people or any other unwanted baggage for that matter. So what is it that we learn in this birth of ours? To hate those people who have left our side halfway to our destination? Definitely not.

Our job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what we have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of our life. This is till our sole encounter with spiritualism and the other world, where we feel the lightness of our souls bringing about rays of happiness and "light".
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nishabd


-By Swetha Amit
Some love stories cannot be understood.

Nishabd proves the factual aspect of the above statement. She is 18 and he is 60.What is ideally an age gap between a father-daughter relationship in reality, is entwined into a different concept altogether.

The film starts with a narration by the Big B himself with a dark, gloomy sound effect. Portraying his popular screen name in his earlier movies, Vijay is a photographer depicting his passion. His wife Amrita (Revathi) and daughter Ritu (Shraddha Arya) complete the family settled amidst the lush green hills.

Little does Ritu realize that an innocent stay over invitation to her friend could cause a twist in the tale on a literal basis. Enter Jiah (Jiah Khan), who after a brief introduction reveals herself to be a product of a broken home. The latter for some reason develops a fascination for the Big B.With visits to tea-estates and exchange of conversations with a tinge of eccentricism; feelings start to develop within Jiah going beyond than just a mere awestruck attitude. After several moments of confiding, Vijay too finds himself drawn to this effervescent and vibrant girl. Acknowledgment of these tender feelings to one another is overheard by Ritu who is naturally devastated.

Unable to convey this to her mother, Ritu confesses to her uncle Sridhar (Nasser) who tackles the situation. The cat is finally out of the bag as confrontations occur.Shock, misery and anguish runs through everybody's minds while searching for a solution to this queer situation. In the midst of this mess, enters another love struck lad (Aftab Shivdasani in a special appearance) who declares his love for Jiah from his school days. The film ends in a rather abrupt manner.

Amitabh seems stoic, yet convincing.Revathy does well especially in the emotional scenes. Nasser makes an impact in his brief role.Jiah Khan looks fresh as a promising new comer. The background score depicts the typical Ram Gopal Varma product.

A rather bold theme derived from a Hollywood movie. This film is not likely to go down too well with the audiences. It’s something that one will be unable to identify with. Fascination from Jiah's end can be rationalized as an 'adolescent crush’. But a 60 year old and wise man reciprocating her feelings?

Something that is inexplicable.Bollywood films depicting infidelity and live-in relationships, have left a large negative impact on the current youth and society. It is slowly gnawing out the Indian culture. Aping the west, for the wrong reasons, has become a contemporary scenario. Amidst all this, do we really need films like Nishabd to rob us out of whatever little Indian tinge that is left in our country?


Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Rang Barse

-By Swetha Amit
It is violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, everywhere. It appears that the rainbow has descended down to earth casting away the black and white streaks of winter. Amidst these vibrant shades, it leaves no room for one to feel the grey tinge of gloom.

It is springing of the much awaited Holi festival that has embarked the feelings of joy among people. The zest with which this ritual is celebrated can bring a smile even among the most gruntled.The popularity of this event gives an opportunity for people of almost all age groups to combat stress which results in a child’s play on a literal basis. It takes away the feeling of being ‘old’ for at least a day. Bringing out their child like spirit, while splashing colors on each other, marks the maxima of enjoyment.

This eliminates the false frills and fancies attached to life. It is devoid of being conscious of their appearance. It doesn’t matter if the hair is out of place or a spot on a cheek is visible on this particular day. As the whole nation portrays a ‘blush’ on their faces and color their tangled hair temporarily. Differences are drowned in the pool of the colors as a giggle is heard, and peals of laughter resound with every splash.

In the midst of all this rejoicing, one needs to look into the mythological significance of its celebration. It said believed that Hiranyakashyap who dreaded his son's worship of Lord Vishnu asked his sister ‘Holika’ to enter the fierce fire with Prahlad in her arms; as she had acquired the boon to remain unscathed in fire. But however powerful the boon, it is the righteousness that triumphs and the latter was saved by his devotion while ‘Holika’ met her end. This enforces the tradition of ‘Holika Dahan’ and even today a huge fire is lit, the night before, symbolizing the destruction of malice by the powerful fire. Another legend is that of the pranks played by Krishna by applying colors on Radha and other Gopis which is continued as a trend. Whatever the reasons, the festival is celebrated with great gusto all over the country.

Popular Bollywood Holi songs are played everywhere, making individuals sway to the foot tapping numbers. Filmmakers have brought out the vivid charm of this festival in their own creative way. Visits to families and friends are accompanied with relishing mouth watering sweets and savories. The famous Holi drink-Bhang thandai is gulped down in plenty as well.

The cultural significance of victory over evil helps in strengthening ties between people across the subcontinent. Letting go of hard feelings, Holi symbolizes the beginning of a new era in the journey of life and establishing a rapport. It is an appropriate time to spread brotherhood amongst millions that enables to get rid of hatred and animosity. It lightens up our minds that eradicate darkness of our minds, existing in the form of EGO. Embracing one another exudes warmth and color.

This is a day which helps our human bodies to revitalize from the monotony of routine lifestyles. It enables one to let down their hair and seek laughter from the simplicity of things. One can otherwise never imagine playing with water balloons and kids on any other day. Office pressures, family affairs and other stress-filled factors of life, hardly leaves us time to even smile or relax for a second. Therefore let this day permit us to return to innocence and develop a selective amnesia. We deserve to be devoid of problems and issues at least for this day. It’s time that we gain colorful insight into the world, instead of viewing it as a pure blackout.

Wishing all a very Happy Holi!!!!!!!
Written for www.msn.co.in


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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Chennai resistance

-By Swetha Amit
Mentality of a Chennaite is something that never fails to amaze me and other people of different cities. This city has a rich cultural heritage and people indeed try their best to preserve it as much as possible.


However in spite of globalization descending upon them, with BPOs lurking at every corner, with the Burgers and pizzas invading their eateries, the typical chennaite will go by his time tested staple food. Times have changed, and Chennai itself is now invaded by population from other cities not only in India but form the world, thanks to the IT boom and the automobile hub centre that it has become.


One can see the metamorphosis almost everywhere; old buildings have given way to modern architecture, arterial roads choked to the brim with modern vehicles, individual bungalows replaced by the apartments. Only the age old temples have withstood this onslaught, but they too have been modernized with air coolers to endure the global warming!!!!!


However, most people are what they were, while some have become progressively adaptive to changes, there are die hard Chennaities who continue the tradition among this changing scenario. The lack of friendliness continues to prolong, which in turn baffles the new entrants into this city. For some unknown reason there exists a certain apprehension in the minds of the local residents to curve their lips into a warm smile. This lack of warmth exists even among several neighborhoods, where one resident is seen looking through the other despite making an eye contact.


A typical Chennaite is alien to the apartment system of community living. As he is used to an individual independent living, he finds it difficult to share space with the others. He still thinks the whole land belongs to him even though he has sold the place to others and finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that he now owns the space with several others.


Acceptance of change is met with resistance, with regard to other languages especially Hindi. Whether it is Hindi songs, films or uttering words of the same language, it is sad to see the condescending hatred towards it in this otherwise cultured city. Today Chennai can boast of several restaurants and theatres with cuisine and movies and music from the other side of the Vindhyas. But a typical Tamilian will be fiercely loyal to his food, his kind of movies and music, to an extent of developing a dislike to the latter linguistic utterance.


Coming to think of it, this city with a cultural background is rigid and resist changes. We Indians adapt to changes slowly, and propagate our own culture and tradition, which is good but when will we learn to become an Indian? When will India become like a China, or a US? Only here we find a "Punjabi", a "Bengali" a "Madrasi"... where is the "Indian"?


Let’s follow the INDIAN tradition of being strong in values, preserve our culture by being truthful to ourselves, and follow our religion.... Lets go beyond the "statehood” and become a nation instead. Let’s adapt the goodness from everywhere. Be it food, music, movies or any other practice. We don’t have to prove our origin by the "state" to which we belong to... we need to be a true Indian in thought and spirit.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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