Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Bhagalpur brutality

-By Swetha Amit
The horrifying incident in Bhagalpur has left millions shell shocked at the cruel manhandling by the mobs and cops.

It was reported that Salim who was caught snatching a chain was preyed upon by the hungry and angry mass who gave him more than what he deserved. One couldn’t help drawing parallels to a group of blood thirsty hounds attacking their underdog. Beating him black and blue, they managed to bruise him in more than one way and probably caused scars that even time cannot heal.

It is true that this petty theft act by the victim was wrong and needed a lawful bid. The accused of any crime irrespective of its degree deserves to be reformed and meted out a disciplinary action in order to make him realize his misdeed.

However, on no account does it call for barbaric punitive measures where he was dragged around in a motor cycle like some sacrificial animal being taken for its execution. It was a detestable sight to see this repulsive act shockingly carried out by an otherwise supposedly respectable officer.

It makes one to draw similarities with that of inhuman terrorism only this time in legalized uniforms. The stark contrast comes into play here as one ponders about a section of the uniform clad personnel fighting terror and the others consciously or subconsciously creating it on the pretext of doing justice to their occupation.

Any wrong doing of an individual does not imply one to take an inflicting stance which is derogatory and violating human rights just because they are policemen. It is ironical especially when such officials are appointed in order to safeguard citizens and personify security and law. By slaughtering a man’s physical and psychological being does NOT emphasize fulfillment of their responsibilities or duties.

Proving their point as cops lies in the fact of being honest and doing justice to their uniforms which they pledged before entering into this noble service. Attending to queries and ensuring immediate actions; not succumbing to pressures and the lure to get higher ‘rewards' is what depicts a good INDIAN officer. Standing up for your ethical conscience telling you the rights and wrongs will earn respect and admiration of many.

One should remember that harsh techniques are used only in severe circumstances and not when dealing with a single person and for a petty crime. Snatching away humanity altogether, this Bhagalpur brutality calls for a stern intervention by the human rights commission to take up the needful measures. This is to prevent further occurrences similar to that of Salim’s in the near future.

After the masked faces of horror and the deafening shrieks, we certainly do not want to be subjected to a ‘disguised’ form of terrorism, do we?
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice and story of the day

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heyy Baby: Baby’s movie out and out


-By Swetha Amit
Sometimes a return to innocence can shoulder us with immense responsibilities which tend to make us laugh or cry in exasperation.

Sajid Nadiadwala’s Heyy Baby is one such film which sails us through a whirlwind of emotions of three men along with an adorable baby and a strange twist.

The movie, set in Sydney, starts with the peppy number of the title track. This instantly portrays the flamboyant and flirtatious stance of the three men Aroush (Akshay Kumar), Al (Fardeen Khan) and Tanmay (Riteish Deshmukh), shaking a leg literally with blossoming beauties in a happening night club. The Casanova trio enjoy their carefree bachelor lifestyles of wooing and charming women. Little do they realize that a charming minute form would cause them woes in the near future!

The triple shock syndrome stuns them as an angelic faced baby lands up at their door step one day. Desperate measures to trace her mother go in vain. In the meantime, their attempts to handle a wailing baby prove to be time consuming, taking a toll on their patience and tolerance levels eventually. Unable to bear this any longer, instigates the threesome to get rid of the infant.

However an unexpected turn of events invokes their conscience as they realize their abhorrent folly. This sudden stirring episode changes their lives along with their feelings towards the baby. She returns into their lives like an ‘angel’ which makes them to name her the same. Bringing in abundant joy causes an inseparable bond between them as they realize the importance of parenting gradually along with a few more things.

But a rude shock in the form of Angel’s mother Isha (Vidya Balan) creates dismay as she takes away the baby. Things go on to a higher level from thereon revealing certain instances with a quick flashback. With the ‘best laid plans’ scheme accompanied with a fast paced laugh riot and emotional scenes, the three go all out to claim Angel along with the love of one of their lives with the help of Isha’s father (Boman Irani).

Heyy Baby is funny and emotional. Though a little slow in some parts, it manages to pick up pace immediately and is well directed by Sajid Khan in the plush locales of Sydney. Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is average with the exception of the title track. The performances are spectacular.

Akshay Kumar is mind blowing as he manages to leave the audience in splits with his hilarious antics and at the same time go moist eyed in his sentimental sequences. Fardeen Khan is very good with his comic timing and manages to stand out in some scenes; especially as the disguised professor with his heavy usage of Sanskrit. Riteish Deshmukh is at complete ease and delights the viewers with his funny expressions and moves. Vidya Balan is excellent and convincing in the confrontation scenes. Boman Irani plays his part well. But the obvious show stealer is the lovable baby which manages to melt million hearts with its cute smile. The element of surprise is welcomed pleasantly in a particular song sequence.

The film provides both comic relief as well as a meaningful and touching angle to it. It portrays the essentials of parenting to a large extent. It emphasizes on the consequence of reckless behaviour which can result in the loss of life of a faultless little innocent thing. The scene where the baby is left in the cold with pelting rain on Christmas eve can make hearts bleed as it make one wonder the penalty it has to pay for no wrong doing on its part. The change of attitude among the three after this instance is moving as they are blessed with new found lives along with that of the baby’s.

This indirectly teaches one to prepare for parenthood before going down the family lane. A baby is in need of continuous care and attention which depicts that it’s certainly no piece of cake. It does not deserve to suffer from any kind of turmoil due to the unplanned and unprotected moves by adults. It could bring about turmoil and guilt in them.

However by crossing these hurdles and gearing up for rearing a child can be the most beautiful thing ever. It portrays the exhilarating feeling one undergoes on holding the tiny being in the protective warmth of your arms and watching it grow; which is altogether a wonderful experience otherwise.

Overall the film is a good entertainer for all age groups and its bound to make its viewers say “Heyy Baby!! You’re definitely an ‘Angel’!!!”
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Black and Buck(ed)?

-By Swetha Amit
There have been numerous instances posing a threat to the existence of the animal kingdom.

Excessive poaching of the tigers, turtles or rhinos in the recent past has instigated several animal lovers to protest against such disgraceful acts. Those certain sections of the human clan have apparently taken it upon themselves to be determinant for the continuance of these creatures.

The reasons cited for the above actions are that of satisfying one’s selfish needs for commercial purposes. Or the element of enjoyment that depicts the sadistic pleasure derived from killing these mute fauna species.

Hunting expeditions can be traced back to the time of the Maharaja as a royal sport. This legacy has been carried forward by certain ‘Nawabs’even today, followed by ‘c(Kh)andid’ behaviour accompanied by a ‘shooting’ in more than one way. The worst part is that such practices leave them buck(ed) up with a disgusting elation of achieving their goal.

Royalty is symbolic to assume a protective stance by ensuring safety of ALL living beings. It is sad to realize the irony that such nobility is not extended to thoughtful gestures of safeguarding the rights of animals/birds.

Should such living souls pay their price for being voiceless and unable to protest like humans?

Shameful acts like these call for a staunch ban by the concerned authorities followed by a grave punishment meted out to the offenders. It is fortunate for many animal activists that the law has been taking such imprudent behaviour into serious consideration. Appropriate punishment has been awarded to make those found guilty realize their beastly folly.

Even the high profile personalities aren’t spared. The current verdict of a rather “deer” Khan has indeed sent tremors to others falling under the ‘poachers’ category. This will not only instill fear but also indirectly contribute to the longevity of these species allowing them to grace their exit by nature’s law. This will save them the torture of unnecessarily being targets of man’s fiery bullets.

It should prevent such barbarous acts to a large extent in the near future which is shockingly exhibited to prove supremacy of man over animals. Especially when such creatures do not cross our paths or indulge in any kind of harm to us humans. One can hope to hear less of such merciless preying on the fauna species in the near future.

After all it doesn’t allow anybody to feel bucked about the black out of such de(a)er creatures, does it?

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In (sight) site into Social Networking

-By Swetha Amit
The recent trend of socializing has extended even up to the virtual world.

Catching up with long lost friends, sharing one's interests, passions, photo albums and expressing themselves innovatively has become an ‘in thing’ with sites like hi5,orkut and face book. From sending emails to scrapping, technology has certainly progressed in terms of connecting the globe.

It seems exhilarating for most people to merely check out profiles randomly in order to determine either a common ground with others or discover the uniqueness and diversity amongst the human clan in several areas. Joining various communities; networking for a specific purpose or to enlarge the circumference of their social circle has swarmed millions to these sites like bees to honey. What starts out as mere curiosity initially, ultimately results in an addictive behavior for many over a period of time.

An insight into this increasing phenomenon gives one a depth of understanding the factors leading to this compulsive attribute of people.

The ‘easy to keep in touch’ factor forms the prime focus of this virtual behavior. The ever growing career opportunities tend to push individuals to different corners of the world thereby creating a physical distance. The problem of being hard pressed for time to send long mails has certainly been overcome with these websites which involves only a click and a quick scrap to keep tab on their friend’s lives. Communicating through this medium has popularized itself over the years and distance no longer remains a hurdle to maintain that closeness and familiarity.

Often one tends to find themselves in locations where they are deprived of the right company and crowd to get together with. This propels the boredom constituent to come into play. The lack of being able to break away from their monotonous routines throughout the day/week causes frustration, listlessness and ultimately gives rise to the loneliness aspect gradually. Seeking a novel and refreshing change from their occupational oscillations, one tends to log on to such sites with hope of finding a companion or two to cheer them up. A perk to their enthusiasm levels is what drives such beings into the arms of this welcoming web networks. The hope of finding a familiar/interested face to beat away the boredom blues is a common indulgence to find emotional solace in these friendly home pages.

Social reticence is another aspect which draws zillions to this webbed world. Such individuals suffer from shyness of communicating on a face to face medium. Lack of confidence due to a complex feeling regarding their appearance or fluency in the spoken language can cause them to withdraw into a shell drawing parallels to that of a crab entering into theirs on seeing strangers by the seashore. Not having to feel conscious of a hair out of place or being under constant gaze of the third party puts them more at ease as they initiate communication through these sites. Comfort levels are attained along with gradual increase in self reliance through such virtual networks.

Taking the above factors into consideration such community networks have indeed proved as a boon to ensure long lasting relationships and provide happiness and contentment in varying forms and degrees to several people pertaining to their exclusivity. It has promoted the convenience of finding people belonging to a certain locale/university/community in order to contact or attain relevant information from. This is especially for students pursuing higher education abroad/outside their home town. And for others who are striving to find the right contacts during a career shift. Some have also reported of having found new pals and their significant others through these websites.

However off late a pertinent question about the safety of these sites is on the rise.

Impersonating and mistaken identities are increasing with the number of users registering at a rapid pace. Instead of utilizing such facilities in a proper manner, there are a set of beings who choose to indulge in creating false profiles of a certain person and adding their friends which thereby leads to a misunderstanding and rising levels of perplexity and confusion. Copying other people’s photos and pasting it on their profiles without the consent and knowledge of the concerned person is indeed shameful and causes alarming reactions unnecessarily. Not to mention, the existence of porn creates uneasiness as well.

Such imprudent acts need to be kept a check on by the concerned authorities. It is high time such detrimental behavior is dealt with in a grim manner as it could cause unwarranted harm to genuinely existing users. A strict verification needs to be implemented on new registrations and such reckless hackers need to be dealt with severely. Security measures like enabling only limited profile views such as the ones on the friends list on their albums and scrapbooks can increase the safety factor to a large extent. Preventing false profile creations can minimize the misunderstandings amongst many. Such steps undertaken by these sites would help in retaining their brand equity and continuity in serving their purpose. It shouldn’t become an ironical stance of causing disputes when the actual aim is to bind innumerable individuals.

In other words one certainly does not want a social networking site to turn into an antisocial nerve-breaking one, do they?
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

‘The blue umbrella’: Shelters one from the blues

-By Swetha Amit


http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=a4ec096f-28ce-4dfb-a39e-48e046659170
Sometimes simplicity often portrays a strong message with tremendous conviction. Reminiscing our childhood evokes a wistful memory of having been attached to a small thing which was our constant and inseparable companion.

The blue umbrella is one such story of a little girl and her exquisite umbrella -a tale which sails one through an emotion-filled trip of the village folk. The movie is an adaptation of a novel for children, in the same name by Ruskin Bond.

The story is set in a quiet hamlet amidst the lush evergreen hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh. Amongst them is the tea stall owner Nandikishore Khatri (Pankaj Kapur). Though being old, he manages to retain his child-at-heart stance. He often indulges in fancying and yearning for tiny possessions of children.

One fine day his attention is drawn towards a pretty little thing that adds a vivid charm to the grassy contours. Biniya (Shreya Sharma) a girl in the village manages to get her hands on a delicate and charming blue umbrella which becomes her perpetual escort. Her proud exhibition of her new found possession becomes an object of envy and admiration for everyone, eventually making heads turn.

Determined to attain ownership of this alluring thing, Khatri continuously persists Biniya who refuses vehemently. Propelled by greed and obsession, Khatri slowly hatches a mastermind plot to claim this unique umbrella in a manipulative manner.

When the umbrella goes missing mysteriously one day, Biniya is left wallowing in dismay at the loss of her beloved accomplice. Determined to get to the bottom of this peculiar theft instigates her to send a search party to Khatri who is her prime suspect. However it’s all in vain when the inspection fails to indicate anything. However a series of events occur as the story unfolds into the guilt lane revealing a disgraceful stance.

Khatri is banished from his village which he considers as family. The sleet of ice, outskirts of the town and the attack of bears in the frosty winter was enough to drown him in a pool of misery as he realizes his impertinent folly. Left out in the cold in more than one way, he is shunned by all who act as repeated reminders of his misdeed. Seeing all this Biniya begins to feel sorry for the old man whom she decides to forgive in her own special way as he resumes back to normalcy with an ironical change.

The movie is brilliant and sensitively handled. Pankaj Kapur get’s into the skin of the character of the rusty old shopkeeper and is spectacular. Shreya Sharma is astounding as she depicts the varied feelings from distress, anger to forgiveness in a terrific manner. It is beautifully directed by Vishal Bharadwaj especially the last scene where Biniya pardons Khatri in a sweet manner.
This movie is truly a well deserving National award winner for the best children’s film.

The story makes one realize the ugly manifestation of greed which ultimately becomes a demon inside us, overpowering mankind to indulge in malice. An obsessive craving for a small thing often results in paying a huge price for it as in the above instance. Before realization dawns upon us like the illuminating rising sun it becomes almost too late to try and make amends and remove the stigma attached to us.

It also teaches one to develop the large heartedness to be able to forgive another being for any kind of imprudence. This is especially when he/she realize their foolishness after undergoing unbearable turmoil and is willing to start afresh or make up for their past vices.

The blue umbrella imparts its inherent quality to shelter one from the blues in more than one way. Having the umbrella provides exuberant joy which shields one from nature’s harshness. Its illegal possession certainly drives away the blues for a short while. But in the long run, the consequence of this act makes one dwell in blues forever like in the case of Khatri.

A must watch film which is simple yet stupendous in its portrayal.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Chak De India:Scores a goal

-By Swetha Amit
Many films have portrayed the theme of cricket. However Chak de India dares to be different from the clichéd rest. It manages to awaken the spirit of our almost forgotten national game-Hockey and revive it in the memories of millions.

The movie is inspired from the life of Mir Ranjan Negi. He was a goal keeper during the Asian games who was stripped off his dignity and grace by being hurled with an accusation of bribery. And this film gave him an opportunity to rekindle nostalgic memories of the game by training King Khan for his on screen personified role.

The film starts with a nail biting Hockey match between India and Pakistan. India led by Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) misses the all important penalty stroke and is then blamed for purposive defeat and stigmatized as being a traitor to his nation. Disowned by his own neighbourhood, he walks away with his held high silently vowing to prove them wrong.

Seven years later, he comes back to coach a woman’s hockey team for the upcoming world cup. The obvious disparity and diversity between the small town and city girls proves it to be an arduous task for Kabir to bind them together for a common cause of playing together as a team. This is especially with the flying tempers, raging egos and indignant feelings of being given vigorous training by the hard task master.

Bringing in cohesiveness seems almost impossible until an unexpected occurrence of an incident. Realization dawns amongst them as they unite together for a mission. How they fight and prove the world by converting the impossible into the possible forms the rest of the narrative. It also depicts the evolution of each character's personality into mature adults learning the larger essentials like selflessness and unity.

Chak de India is sporty and patriotic. It emphasizes the philosophy of ‘united we stand divided we fall’ especially in the hockey match sequences. The Yash Raj-SRK magic has worked again, only this time in an unconventional theme. A very well directed film by Shamit Amin (of Ab tak chappan fame). Shahrukh Khan is intense, passionate and plays his part of a no-nonsense coach to perfection. Rest of the cast plays their roles with sincerity. The screenplay is good with a wonderful background score. The dialogues are spectacular and a few stand out like icing on a cake. Especially the one “Is team mein ek hi gunda ho sakta hai aur woh main hoon”.

The movie exhibits and tries to establish the fact of every person setting a goal for him/herself. Achievement of that goal involves in building that killer instinct within oneself. Thinking about those whom we want to prove wrong with our capable worth will inspire us to emerge as a winner. This will provide infinite joy and satisfaction to us for having placed that extensive confidence and belief in ourselves.

Accomplishment of a collective goal involves the essence of team building by setting aside personal differences, petty squabbles and working together as one big unit. This is especially apt for organizations and group dynamics.

Another attribute of the film includes in not thinking of ourselves as a product of each state or territory like Maharashtra, Andra-Pradesh, Tamilnadu or Chandigarh but as one big nation-India.

It portrays the national game in an absorbing and realistic manner. This was once followed by the entire country and did the nation proud by winning a few medals. However it’s sad to see the plight of this sport deprived of its well deserved recognition. If only those golden days were brought back will we hear people cheering Chak de India for a hockey stick instead of the colonized game of cricket?

It enables us to learn to be a fighter irrespective of the unfavourable circumstances. And in due course of time we will succeed as winners and bask in exhilirating glory. Kabir Khan achieved his goal in the above case with his head held high.So if Khan can do it so c(kh)an you!!!
This is a must watch film. It will certainly do us proud and is bound to make us cheer by saying Chak De Hockey/Shahrukh or India!!!
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Chained humans?


-By Swetha Amit
A news channel yesterday had reported an appalling condition of chained humans in a famous dargah in Hyderabad. This horrifying treatment continued in spite of the supreme court’s orders of prohibiting such homes to be shut down after a fire incident five years ago. This catastrophe had caused chained beings to lose their lives due to their pitiable condition.

Violating the human rights, it was sickening to see the inhuman treatment meted out to humans. Many of those mentally ill people were chained because they were reported to be under the influence of Satan and that there was a possibility of harming themselves. Apparently supernatural beliefs and superstitions do not make these ‘deciding authorities’’ Super humans, do they?

Such people are deprived of the luxury of leading a ‘normal’ life in the society due to their mental conditions. Their faultless state of mind causes immense embarrassment to their families who are unable to bear the burden of coexisting with them. It is a sad plight to see them being shunned by their own. And they are thrown in these homes like ragged piece of unwanted cloth or garbage as they are not affordable or cause a disgrace to their kith and kin.

Instead of being shown any kind of compassion, they are mercilessly bound by thick metal strips that prevent these helpless beings from moving around freely. To make matters worse, they are kept in miserable and unhygienic conditions. We complain of even being tied down to one place for a short span of time. Is it fair to subject these individuals to such cold blooded and dreadful condition?

According to the mental health act, such individuals were only allowed limited space as they had a tendency to be in constant movement. It certainly does NOT give them the right to be treated like animals in zoo.

Infringement of such laws/acts should be looked upon with a grim eye. Stern disciplinary steps need to undertaken to look into these beastly acts. Such homes need to get the approval of the concerned authorities before resorting to such extreme measures. Intervention of the human rights commission is vital in such instances. Mental illness needs to be handled with sensitivity and care and not by stifling such individuals from their needed space. Such unscrupulous behaviour needs to be taken into consideration before any feeling of humanity is wiped out from this world completely.

After all it makes our hearts bleed to see the pitiable state of our fellow humans being chained like some wild creatures in a zoological garden doesn’t it? The only difference is that they are not caged -yet?
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editor's choice and story of the day

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Unconventional companions


-By Swetha Amit

Companionship is one delightful aspect which can be extended even beyond the world of humans. Many have found their uncanny solace and support with their unspoken bond with the domesticated animal kingdom.

Loneliness is an increasing factor in the present scenario. Being hard pressed for time, different priorities and commitments of others lead to millions often being by themselves. This unbearable solitude leaves such companionless souls in pangs of misery. They grope in search for an alternative which ultimately becomes their best friend in due course of time.

In moments of melancholy, we often long for a lending ear to pour out our suppressed feelings to. We long for that comforting embrace which provides a soothing balm to our wrecked nerves. We need those understanding and non judgmental eyes which would reassure us saying all will be well. With the current busy and turbulent schedules, people’s acts are forcibly aimed at indulging in selfish behaviour which leaves them with no time for others. Often there are instances of being encountered with fair weathered friends who conveniently disappear during times like these. Or there is a lack of empathy, sympathy, patience, time or the inability to relate to others problems.

With this increasing common phenomenon it is these little creatures which provide us the most wanted comfort zone.

It has become a common stance for many to adopt a pet or two which eventually turn out to become an integral part of their lives. Dogs are the most popular choice. Known for their unmistakable faithfulness and loyalty, they provide humans with the needed strength during times of crisis especially. There are some who resort to adopting cats as well. Very few are known to have guinea pigs or pet rabbits. Out in the evergreen contours of the countryside, humans are known to be fond of horses.

It may be surprising to know that these animals have their unique manner in extending their sensitive gestures. They have this exceptional way of sensing something wrong with our state of mind. As we communicate, they listen with keenness by perking up their sharp ears. Their eyes depict the concern as they seemingly understand our inner turmoil. However they are helpless as they are unable to communicate soft words in the human language. Nevertheless it does not restrict their gentle expressions with a meek whine, meow or a neigh. Sometimes they even extend their furry paw or a subtle hug by hustling closer to us.

Such mannerisms bring in tremendous relief as we look at them with gratitude for having been there during times like these. Driving away the doom spells of blues they have proved their worth of being a friend in need. This exclusive bond is formed as they make up for our solitary years to come by.

There are many who may not notice these creatures due to their mute demeanor. Yet they are not worthless or a burden as some portray them to be. They may be unable to talk back or provide the necessary advice.

However it dawns upon us individuals that what we need during moments of sadness is a good listener and not a flurry of advices. Often we have been through instances where we merely wished for someone to just hear us out with a patience of an ox haven’t we? And we encounter bouts of disappointment when our fellow humans are caught up in a world of their own troubles and do not devote time to us. Even during occasions of joy and elation we want someone to bask in our glory and share our exuberance with. It is then that these tiny beings play their pivotal roles.

Lending their stoic support and backing during our roller coaster rides; these ‘unconventional companions’ certainly deserve a special mention especially today and every day to come by as they grow in stature and importance in our precious lives.

Written for www.msn.co.in

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

-By Swetha Amit
A walk down the memory lane brings back the nostalgic moments of the exhilarating experiences with some important people in different stages of our lives-Friends.

They have managed to evoke various emotions which have helped in shaping our raw personalities right from our childhood to our adult years till eternity. These are the individuals who have been met at various moments during this lifetime. Some are still around while others have chosen a different pathway. Yet they have managed to instill the worldly wise knowledge in us in their own unique manner which has been the essential lifetime lessons.

Today’s fast paced lives leave us with very little time. So little that we hardly have any for our near and dear ones. The journey in life progresses to that phase which scatters us in different parts of the globe.

The distance factor has been minimized with the technological advancement of the virtual world but it certainly does not compensate the fact of being with one another personally due to circumstantial hazards. Yet our memories never fail to remember one another on special occasions.

Today is one such day-(especially being a SundayJ), where they deserve the time, appreciation and acknowledgement. So taking time off and spending certain treasured minutes will indeed bring us back the exuberance and joyous moments. This will revive and rejenuvate our almost lost personalities in the whirl of routines and turbulence of the maddening and contemporary scenario.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gandhi my father:Father of the nation


-By Swetha Amit
Some noble deeds come at a cost of a stupendous sacrifice. The one of Mahatma Gandhi’s was a prime example.

“One family’s tragedy was the price of a nation’s freedom” as the tagline of the film says.
Fighting for the country’s freedom earned him adulation of millions and the title “Father of the nation”. Yet he had to pay a big price for it in the form of his elder son Harilal. The whole nation was showered with the revered person’s affection and yet the irony lay in the fact that his son never felt his father's love.

Gandhi my father revolves around the family of M.K.Gandhi and the difference in ideologies between the father and son.

The film starts with a drunken and haggard Harilal (Akshaye Khanna) in a hospital trying to revive his flashback which takes you through a series of revolutionary events and flurry of emotions.

A walk down the memory lane portrays the life of Barrister M.K.Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) and Kasturba Gandhi (Shefali Shah) in South Africa along with their other children with the exception of Harilal. The latter was left behind to complete his education in his native land. However his failure of completion along with his early marriage to Gulab (Bhoomika Chawla) displeases his father.

But Gandhi calls Harilal to South Africa and the latter eagerly goes to fulfill his aspirations of becoming a barrister like his father. However Harilal’s hopes are dashed as Gandhi had different plans for his children as soldiers fighting for a bigger cause. The Mahatma began to believe in the selfless acts towards the society which clashed with his son’s ideologies and principles.
Harilal begins to take a different path in the form of a couple of business dealings which failed miserably. Unable to face it, he took to alcohol which ultimately led to his and his family’s destruction. He continued to struggle through his life by taking favors in the name of his father only to be met with constant humiliation. Despite his father’s effort to reform him, Harilal was unable to become what his father wanted him to be.

Simultaneously the film depicts the nation slowly achieving its independence and the struggle Gandhi went through personally, emotionally and socially. Yet he never deviated from his dignified principles and held his head high.

As he departed from this world, he successfully inspired the entire nation yet he failed to do so with his elder son. He was filled with remorse as he breathed his last on Jan 31 1948 with the entire nation mourning over his loss. And his son did so on June 18th the same year.

Gandhi my father is a brilliant film which depicts the father-son relationship with great amount of sensitivity. It especially portrays the dispute in the perception and idea of a father’s love. While Harilal viewed it as giving favors at every stage; Gandhi perceived it as instilling the righteousness in his kith and kin. His greatness lay in his impartiality when he refused any exclusive favors even to his own son, that which was not available to others. It also brings out the feeling of helplessness in Kasturba Gandhi who is caught in between the clash of ideologies of the father and son. Akshaye Khanna is outstanding as Harilal. Darshan Jariwala and Shefali Shah are excellent in their respective roles. Bhoomika Chawla does a decent job. The film is slow in certain parts but is very well directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.

It exhibits the nobility of the revered Gandhi without whom India would have still been under the clutches of the British. Though he was admired by millions there are a few who dispute his principles of ‘Satya’ and ‘Ahimsa’. If only Ahimsa was prevalent today, will we see the societal evils in the form of terrorism and ruthless exploitation of lives? The most respected man fondly known as Bapu sought out the most difficult path to achieve what no violent act could do-our nation’s freedom.

This film is a must watch and definitely makes you walk down the nostalgic memory lane to view our country before and after independence which leaves one feeling in tremendous awe.

Written for
www.msn.co.in

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Friday, August 03, 2007

“For one more day”: A Haunting expedition


-By Swetha Amit
There are many in this world who would do anything to get just that one chance to make amends for their past misgivings. Yet very few get this golden opportunity while the majority is saddled with that nostalgic remorse and regret.

Mitch Albom’s new edition titled “For one more day” takes one through a wistful journey which encounters a strange and enigmatic tryst with the ghost of the past. The story unfolds the main character Charley Benetto (Chick) whose life is in ruins. Being unwanted at his own daughter’ wedding was the last straw of having lost everything and he is ready to give up his life. As he takes a midnight ride to his hometown, he encounters his dead mother much to his amazement and everything seemed as normal as ever.

Instances from his life are brought to light with a quick flashback through the book. Being with his mother for that one day makes him realize the lack of time he spent with her and how out of touch he had been with her. Yet she had managed to retain that special place in his heart and the close call was what brought her to him and his encounter with the other world. As this journey nears an end, his surprise knows no bounds as he unravels several loopholes and a shocking truth in the end. He also gets the second chance to convey his unexpressed explanation for a certain act of his, which to his surprise was known to her all long.

This book is intriguing and emphasizes beautifully on a mother-son relationship. It makes one reflective and also makes ones eyes go moist and choke with emotion. The few words quoted in the book as the character’s father tells him “mama’s boy or daddy’s boy chick? What’s it gonna be?” As he recalls this statement in the end, he is made to realize by his mother that “a child should never have to choose.”

Many may dispute this as being just another ghost story. Yet there are times that we draw parallels and examples from our lost loved ones that make it seem as though they were never gone. They retain their omnipresence in our memories. There are some individuals to whom we postpone our visits; taking them for granted only to realize that one fine day they are no longer there. And then we grieve at our actions for having said something that had hurt them or not having spent quality time with them when they were alive. This thought continues to haunt us till eternity.

This book teaches one to never take anything or anyone for granted. Life’s uncertainty is such that we may never get another chance. So why not take the one life hands out and utilize it to the maximum as the saying goes,” If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” One should ensure this ‘lemonade’ remains sweet instead of letting it turn sour.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An appetite-we can do without




-By Swetha Amit
Lakshmi’s article on non vegetarian dated 31.7.07 was a very touching one and brought tears to my eyes as I could almost feel the pain of the animals through her write up.

Being a non -vegetarian in the past due to my initial upbringing abroad, I have now become a vegetarian of which I have no regrets about. It was that one particular day when I pointed out an adorable looking chicken to my mother who replied saying that ‘"it was what you had consumed". These words were more than enough to change my mind instantly.

I was horrified at the thought of having been heartless enough to eat a tiny little helpless creature like that. The worse thing lay in the fact that I was indirectly contributing to its merciless slaughtering. From there on I made a vow never to lay hands on non vegetarian again.
A keen observation of the animal kingdom over the past years has made me realize their inherent feelings that they possess. Factors like parenthood are prevalent largely in their world similar to that of humans. The only difference being their speechless demeanor which propels them to exhibit their affection in a unique way. Being an ardent lover of animals it pains me to see them stoned/whipped in a harsh manner or even hurt.

Are domesticated animals only reared for such purpose and nothing else? Is it not possible for us humans to allow them to coexist in peace? Should we take them away from their kith and kin only to fulfill our appetites?

We view terrorism with dread and disgust as they entice and take away our faultless loved ones away for their selfish motives. How different are we when we slaughter these creatures to satiate a need in us? We all realize the feeling of losing our near and dear ones to these Hannibal acts. Why should we give the same feeling to them?

Before we consume non veg, a minute’s thought about their cries of pain before being slaughtered and their loved ones mourning over their loss is bound to make us think twice. After all we do not want to be the cause for another creature’s mental anguish do we?

Today, whenever I encounter bouts of misery and turmoil, I deep down attribute that to be the penalty that I maybe paying for my past actions in consuming these harmless beings.
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Munnabhai barred?

-By Swetha Amit
When I wrote a post wishing Sanjay Dutt for his anxiety-filled birthday, little did I know my line” And we hope to see more of him on screen for a minimum of at least ‘Dus’ years in the film industry “ would be countered with the unexpected verdict today.


The most awaited tensioned filled day had arrived with millions waiting to hear the decision with bated breaths. This adjudication of a six year imprisonment has stunned many especially the Indian film industry and his fans.


Sanjay Dutt was known for his past misdeeds. He had paid his penalty by spending 16 months in jail. And he has been a changed man all this while. Was there any point in sentencing him for six years? This rather harsh decision has upset his family and well wishers to the core.


Every human is known to commit mistakes and crimes. After a reprimanding punishment every being is given a chance to reform and begin life afresh. It certainly does not help in constantly reminding them of their dark past.


Paying for their actions ONCE is certainly enough. And not time and again.


A grieved and heart broken man today, Sanjay Dutt certainly wonders this ironical tryst with prison yet again.


His fans will certainly miss seeing their beloved Munnabhai onscreen. I wish that God gives him the needed strength and support to overcome this turmoil.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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