Friday, December 28, 2007

An appalling assassination

-By Swetha Amit
The brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto has generated shock waves across the world. This sadistic method of having a ‘blast’ in the horrifying form of terror has cost yet another life.
It was a moment of disbelief and bewilderment for many as the news of her death was announced. The breaking news led to the ‘break’ down of her near and dear ones especially. A cry of anguish lingered after this deadly declaration by the Rawalpindi general hospital. It was also horrifying to see other innocent lives being targeted mercilessly.

Speculations are being made furiously and a million dollar question continues to linger in the minds of all. ‘Who did it’?

Extending beyond this is a cognitive concern about the extent to which violence takes a fatal turn. Being entwined in the web of greed, selfishness and power has sadly led to the elimination of mankind gradually. Petty mindedness and the insane drive to prove supremacy over another individual has apparently turned the world homicidal. Looking at a broader perspective: Is an ego centric gain worth all this turmoil and confusion?

Terror and torture is what appears to rule the roost. It makes several hearts bleed as they hear about repeated catastrophes occurring on a frequent basis. Right from the train blast, to shootout in educational institutions or murdering a charismatic person, rage seems to rampage and disrupt the mental equilibrium of humans. It is truly reprehensible.

Assault, bloodshed and savagery- does the world need more and more of this? Anger and aggression is well within ones control zone if the right amount of will power is put in. Thinking about the anguish one may put the other fellow humans before giving in to destructiveness will ignite the feelings of sensitivity and compassion. Will this thought ever dawn upon those indulging in vehemence and ferocity? And channel the energies into productive purposes?
Improvement in every aspect appears to be a distant dream like a glowing light beyond our reach with such repeated occurrences. If only this is realized, the unwarranted black outs will remain in the dark and kindle the goodness and peace in the world.

Executing a person in the short run for a selfish motive is an actual loss while viewed in the long run. As Mahatma Gandhi says” Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors' choice and story of the day

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Monday, December 24, 2007

‘Taare Zameen par’: A colorful learning


-By Swetha Amit
http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=c2d20e89-9a1b-4296-b236-a76cb5b9650c


There are many who see the world in a matter of fact manner. However there are a few who delve deeper and view a different universe altogether which is a cut above the rest. The latter set of individuals are in turn perceived ‘different’ from the rest due to their unconventional mode of cognition. Noticing nature’s miniscule details tend to bring in a sparkle of joy causing their eyes to twinkle like starlets. Their gestures indulge in painting their novel existence into different shades of emotions. And eventually emerge as a star with a special talent despite their other shortcomings.

Taare zameen par is the story of one such boy whose ‘specialty’ lay in teaching others a colorful lesson about people, society and the world.

The film starts by showcasing images of dancing numbers, blurry images and jumbling up alphabets as seen by the delicate nine year old Ishaan (Darsheel Safary). His difficulty in comprehending sentences and symbols cause despair to his teachers. He becomes a laughing stock among his peers. Added to which his cheeky and obstinate stance exasperates his parents. Constant comparison with his older brother who is a first rank holder makes matters worse. His interest lies in fishes and splashing colors on paper depicting his passion for painting. The inability to understand his queer problem instigates his family to pack him off to a boarding school with a hope of improvement in his overall stature.

Life becomes depressing and frustrated for Ishaan who is unable to bear the separation from his family and difficulty in faring well academically. He dwells in darkness until an unexpected turn of events which seeps in radiance and a ray of hope into his life. The entry of the effervescent art master Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) brings in delight to his students. Breaking the conventional barriers of teaching, Nikumbh dares the little boys to let their imaginations soar to great heights.

He manages to notice the sullen and scared Ishaan and draws him out of his shell. Further probing leads to the discovery of Ishaans problem of Dyslexia which is brought to the notice of his parents immediately. With encouragement and support, Nikumbh helps him overcome his difficulties and taps the inner potential of the true inherent talent. With every stroke of splash he enables the emergence of the star child in a flash. How Nikumbh unleashes the stringent attitude of parents, teachers and the system with an artistic turn around, form’s rest of the narrative; accompanied with a strong social message.

Taare Zameen par is brilliant and profound. It is sensitively handled and evokes an overwhelming response from its viewers. The film talks more than just a child suffering from Dyslexia. It brings to light the contemporary mindset of the parents towards their children’s vocation and education.

Darsheel Safary is terrific and the real star of the movie in every aspect. He portrays his emotions on screen perfectly and wins the viewers hearts instantly. Aamir Khan is excellent as the art teacher who makes his inimitable mark as both an actor and debut director. His choice of a distinct subject has left his fans spellbound. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is soothing to listen to and the popularity of the song ‘bum bum bole’ has taken it to the chartbusters.

Some of the scenes are stupendous and deserves a standing applause. The one where Aamir Khan confronts communicates to Ishaan’s parents about his problem is shot with tremendous conviction. Also the one where Aamir brings to light to Ishaan's father about how care is shown by reassuring a child of unconditional love instead of mere collection of information on its problem is very touching. It causes one to choke with emotion and become teary eyed.

The point where Aamir Khan names a few famous personalities who have suffered from a learning difficulty during their childhood proves to be an inspirational source for many.

The climax scene where the winner is announced and rewarded is remarkable. Ishaans joy knows no bounds as he experiences a wonderful feeling of being appreciated after numerous hurls of being called ‘good for nothing’.

This film is a must watch for all. It tends to linger in one's mind even after they leave the hall. It’s a movie which offers an explicit experience that many can imbibe morals from. It teaches one the importance of accepting and respecting others in spite of their similar or ‘differential’ abilities.

Recognition of ones potential instead of dwelling on difficulties is an important learning chapter for parents towards their little ones. Pushing their little ones into the competitive rat race often results in the failure of identifying their true worth. Taking an unconventional route at times is not a crime especially when the child’s interest and aptitude lies in off beat fields.

This film can make realization dawn on millions and is an illuminating eye opener. Appreciating one another for our uniqueness embarks the rise of the future stars. It’ll propel us to contribute and shine in a down to earth manner marking our existence special. As the film tagline says “every child is special’.

Artistic, exemplary and thought provoking sums up ‘Taare Zameen par’ for you.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On a tree top


-By Swetha Amit
The Sajan Nature Club situated on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway is an ideal holiday getaway. Spread over 20 acres, the camp offers various adventure sports such as valley crossing, rappelling, mountain biking and kayaking and makes a perfect setting for corporate group training and workshops.

When was the last time you climbed a tree and relaxed on its broad branches? As adults, we tend to move further and further away from the simple joys of childhood. Our stressful lives in crowded, dusty metropolises do not help either. Experts vouch for the rejuvenating benefits of short breaks from the predictable routines of our everyday life.

Yet, our quest for a retreat is filled with contradictions. We yearn wistfully for the serenity of nature, but find it impossible to live without the conveniences of modern life. We want it to be easily accessible, yet shy away from the obvious tourist centers. It is almost impossible to find a place where you can relax in relative peace.

It is such a quest that led us to the Sajan Nature Club, a quiet retreat situated on the Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway, about three hours from Mumbai. Thatched roof houses, haystacks in fields, the farmers toiling in the fields – as we make our way to the resort, they all pass by in a kaleidoscope of images, increasing our sense of anticipation.

The Sajan Nature Club spreads over twenty acres. There is a feeling of tranquility about the place. We felt ourselves relax as we were escorted to our 'rooms'. The friendly chirp of the birds and the gentle rustle of trees made us feel welcome instantly. A breathtaking view greeted us at the bottom of the garden.

It is the stuff dreams are made of, it is Enid Blyton's stories coming alive, or maybe even Tarzan – our abode for the next couple of days, were tree homes. Unlike Tarzan, however, we did not need to swing on vines to reach our homes; elongated ladders let us climb up in a more civilized manner. There is certain freshness to these rooms, a change from the impersonal comfort of regular hotels. It is definitely a new experience to see squirrels peeping in curiously at the windows and to hear the friendly call of the crickets. An attached bathroom was a pleasant surprise, though. The rooms also had balconies overlooking the hammocks below. Wooden swings, next to the hammocks, brought back memories of a more innocent time.

We rested on the netted hammocks, swinging gently, as our weary muscles relaxed and we took in our surroundings. The warmth of the afternoon sun was tempered by the shade of the leafy branches above. Only the rustle of the leaves and the occasional movements of the little creatures who make these trees their home break the silence.

Slowly, almost unwillingly, we left the comfort of our hammocks to gear up for the activities arranged by the club. If you are interested, experts affiliated to the club conduct adventure sports. It costs Rs 500 per person to take part. Hearing them explain valley crossing, rappelling, and mountain biking and kayaking made our adrenaline levels soar.
Gathering us in groups, the professionals explained the procedure for our first activity – Valley Crossing. Though amateurs are not taken across a real valley, we were given appropriate instructions and got a feel for the technique. A deft hand movement is needed to glide across the rope from one end to the other. A successful attempt left us with a feeling of confidence to attempt the next activity later that evening.

Mountain biking was the next on the list. Faced with the strain of climbing up slopes one minute and coasting down the next teaches you to deal with highs and lows, quite literally. Coasting down slopes had us gripping our handlebars for dear life, though it was an exhilarating feeling to feel the wind on your face.

The next day found us rappelling in the Mohokhurd Dam situated about two kilometers from the club. With ropes tied around out waists, we were instructed on the best way to walk down the steep wall of the dam. Nervousness and euphoria mingled as we accomplished this task. An instructor helped to untangle us from the ropes.

Kayaking was the next treat in store. It takes some time to learn how to steer the cumbersome boats, but the hour-long workout was as enjoying as it was tiring.

A quiet evening stroll at the resort enabled us to discover the various options available for a stay at the club. Tents were displayed a few yards away from the resort area. Comfortable cots were available inside, while the common restrooms were a bit further away. A little further away were little huts with all modern facilities.

Biking down the village road a little later gave us a chance to see the countryside. A few cows grazing on the fields looked up disinterestedly as we cycled past. The resort staff also told us about local places of interest like the Tiger Caves and the Jawhar Palace, which were not too far away from the Club.

A sumptuous dinner at the resort was a treat after our rather tiring day, but there was more in store. The local villagers had arranged a dance programme. As they danced to their own musical compositions, their steps synchronized with the flute-like instrument played by their instructor. A sporting few allowed themselves to be lead into the dance, much to the amusement of the villagers.

Sajan Nature Club proved to be a wonderful weekend getaway. It is a refreshing experience, and will prove to be a great favorite with nature lovers. It is apt for group training and workshops conducted by corporates, a wonderful merging of nature with modern conveniences.

How to get to Sajan

By road: About 134 km from Mumbai, you could go on NH8 till Mastan Naka in Manor. Head towards Pali and take a left before the temple on the road leading to Jawhar. Driving further inside for about 12 kms brings you to Sajan nature club.




Trivia

1. The best time to visit Sajan would be between October-February. Visit during the monsoons must be strictly avoided.

2. The cost of the tree top rooms for a couple is around Rs 3000; tiled huts cost Rs 2800. Tents are usually available only during peak season and cost Rs 2000 per couple. All which are inclusive of buffet vegetarian meals.

3. Booking needs to be done in well in advance to avoid disappointment of non-availability of the tree top rooms.

4. The use of mobile phones and other electronic devices is strictly forbidden. In case of emergency, landline facilities are available.

5. One is required to be well equipped with running shoes, track pants and t-shirts/ comfortable clothing to be able to take an active part with ease in the sports mentioned above.

6. Nearby attractions include the Tiger Caves situated about 16 km from Sajan and Jawhar Palace about 30 km away. Both are accessible by road.
Written for www.domain-b.com

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Juvenile Delinquency

-By Swetha Amit

Educational institutions were once considered as homes away from home. The secure atmosphere then proved to be a comforting factor to both parents and their children like a warm blanket on a frosty winter night. The contents of a school bag consisted of simple stationary items and books. Who would have thought that times would change so drastically that pencils and pens would be replaced by revolvers instead?

The atrocious incident at Gurgaon has flabbergasted many. A 14 year old met his end at the hands of his two school mates who shot him furiously. Apparently the victim was reported to have been bullying them to an extent of threatening to take their lives. The boys’ complaints to the school authorities fell on deaf ears as the matter was refused to be dealt with in the appropriate manner. This unfortunate stance instigated the young ones to indulge in a horrifying crime causing serious repercussions. At the same time it poses a valid question of the safety issues in schools to anxious parents.

This shocking act is under no standards justifiable and deserves a reprimanding stance. An insight into this can determine the various sources which are to be blamed.

The concerned personnel in the school needed to have addressed the bullying with immediate seriousness. Brushing off this issue has resulted in the two students feeling helpless and enraged enough to indulge in murder. Adolescence is a sensitive period and any plea needs to be handled with great concern. Especially, with the aggression and frustration levels soaring and worsening, with their problems being ignored. Monitoring and resolving this matter in an appropriate manner with the help of concerned parents would have saved this horrifying catastrophe.

Secondly parents who possess licensed weapons should NOT allow it be accessible to their children. Irresponsibility of the guilty boy’s father has cost him his son’s future and put the family’s reputation at stake. To make matters worse it has sent a chill down the spine for millions to cause anxiety about the welfare of their children. Added to their stress in the occupational setting, this has now caused an unnecessary burden on them. Not to mention the anguish the deceased’s parents must be undergoing regardless of the fact that their son was a bully. As a matured adult, care should have been taken to be aware of the goings on in their son’s life and correctly deal with the problem.

Parenting styles should include teaching their children to certainly be assertive but NOT aggressive. Anger management techniques need to be implemented from the young age. This would enable the future generation to take control of their lives in EVERY aspect. Inculcating values and teaching to treat their peers in a gentler manner would indeed avoid the other kids being subjected to bullying.

Schools should also compulsorily appoint a counselor to deal with conflicts faced by the students internally and externally. This would make a huge difference as issues will be dealt with care and maturity.

This incident would continue to linger in the minds for a long time to come, instead of just being brushed off as just another piece of news. It should prove to be a learning lesson to parents and all schools. Being sensitive and alert to adolescents would make a huge difference to their personality development and save the society from the savage crimes. It would also prevent the unwarranted anguish, turmoil and misery caused to parents and children due to such antisocial behaviour.

With all the immorality, infringement and villainous violation across borders and villages, one definitely can do without juvenile delinquency. After all we do not need more fuel added to the fire on a literal basis do we?
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Monday, December 10, 2007

'Khoya Khoya Chand’: Retrieving the Golden era


-By Swetha Amit
The glistening sets; elegant glide of the leading ladies; coy yet determined glances; emotions expressed with great conviction and suavity; and the glittering ambience takes one back to the Golden era of Indian cinema during the 50s and 60s.

There are many aspirants in the Industry whose passion for films extended up to even giving up their dear lives. Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand is one such story of two aspiring stars and their tumultuous relationship; who taste success and yet are left with a bitter taste ironically.

Nikhat (Soha Ali Khan) has ambitions of shining among the stars in the glamour world of films. Luck favors her as she is spotted by the top leading actor Prem Kumar (Rajat Kapoor). The latter takes her under his wing and promotes her throughout which gives him pleasure in more than one aspect. Nikhat attains immense adulation which is contradictory to her inner feelings of melancholy and her disturbed past. This is especially, when she learns of Prem Kumar’s engagement to another girl outside the industry.

Meanwhile her chance encounter with an upcoming script writer Zafar (Shiney Ahuja) gives her a shoulder to release her burden of her traumatic episode and her continuity of being exploited. From there on starts a brewing romance between the two which goes strong until a point where an upsetting change of events occurs. Feelings of frustration and ego clashes leads to a turbulence which jolts the smooth sailing affair to crash like waves in a stormy weather. Nikhat gets devastated as she falls apart from everything including the love of her life. Drowning in a pool of misery, she abuses her healthy stance over the next few years. Until she regains yet another golden chance to retrieve her lost persona which was eclipsed with darkness similar to the moon on a new moon day.

Khoya Khoya Chand scores in the first half yet lacks luster in the latter failing to create a lasting impact. The story drags in several parts which cause the audience to shuffle with impatience and restlessness.

Soha Ali Khan does a decent job yet not matured enough as an actress to carry the burden of such a role solely on her shoulders. However her looks fit the bill of a 60s look like a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Rajat Kapoor has nothing much to do except portray his confused grey shades in character with his continuous frivolous ways. Shiney Ahuja does well in some parts especially the ones which portray his gloom and frustrations. The supporting cast consisting of Vinay Pathak makes his unique mark.

Some of the scenes stand out. The one where Shiney Ahuja has tears brimming in his eyes while shooting a film based on his true life story is touching. Soha’s drunken and confrontational scenes are well done.

The story is inspired from portions of yesteryears leading actresses’ real ones such as Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Nargis.

Sudhir Mishra manages to take the audience on a trip back to those glorious years especially with the soothing music and the whole look and feel to the movie. Well directed in some parts it manages to strike a chord sometimes but loses its rhythm in some.

Overall a well attempted venture which tends to give one a glimpse into the yesteryears filmdom and the essence of retrieving the golden era.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Special day for special people

-Swetha Amit
Children are always considered special to parents. Yet there are those ‘special’ ones who fail to be treated in the same manner due to their faultless distinct features and abilities or rather ‘disabilities’ in this case.

There are some kids who move at a rapid pace in their physical, social and intellectual aspects. However there are few who fail to do so causing havoc and dismay to their parents whose dreams are shattered like a glass window which has been stoned.
Such is the case of children with Autism, Mental retardation, Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, learning disability etc.

Many are horror stricken on hearing their kid’s plight and even reluctant to accept it as the final diagnosis. They often live in denial hoping that some day their little ones prove them and the world wrong. Parents fear of being under societal mixture of pity and scorn. Such pressure propels them to force their children to do things beyond their capacity. Frustration starts to creep in as they face unwarranted flak and criticism from all sources including their families. Exasperation and hopelessness make such parents give up on their children ultimately. Hurling curses and abuses they make theirs and most importantly the child’s life miserable for the failure of acceptance both in their homes and to the outsiders.

Empathy, support, encouragement and compassion seem to disappear like smoke during times like these. Instead, such unfortunate souls are being blamed and even shoveled with insensitivity and mockery. It is horrifying to see such brutal behavior occurring even in the so called educated segment of the society. Such ‘special’ kids are handed out shabby treatment no less than a street urchin. It is appalling and at times ridiculous to see other parents refuse to let their kids mingle with the affected one. Instead of rendering help, it is selfishness that stems in the air.

Such feelings of dejection by parents are understandable. As normal humans they are naturally hurt to see their child being the object of scathing remarks and glances which they desperately want to shield from. Unable to do so, their inability to accept their own kids increases double fold. Their failure to achieve success in their goal manifests on to their innocent young ones unfortunately.

However what they fail to realize is that; it is the acceptance on their part of such ‘challenged’ kids which proves to be a real challenge and a test for them.

The first step is to come to terms with their children’s condition instead of living in the false world of denial and hoping for a miracle. This certainly isn’t easy but definitely not impossible. Blaming themselves or their partner could cause repercussions on their mental strength and stability which is of utmost need here. In fact cases of striving for the ‘normality’ tend to drive parents to the verge of ‘abnormality’ and insanity, ironically.

Unconditional acceptance of their kids irrespective of their plight is highly important and essential. Sometimes this plays a vital role in societal acceptance of them as well. Special care, nurture and affection is required to bring up the tender little thing at his/her pace. Immense patience is needed and one must avoid comparing their child with those of others. A firm stance of showing pride in your child will indeed ward of those irrelevant wagging tongues which will depict a streak of winner in you.

Fighting the bouts of disappointment will enable a higher degree of endurance. Instead one should thank their stars of having a kid unlike some unfortunate beings who are deprived of enjoying the parental stature.

Dealing with special educators and the concerned personnel in this field will enable one to gain clarity and depth of knowledge about such beings. Spreading awareness about the fact of these children NOT having adverse effects on other kids is absolutely necessary. They should be taught the art of mingling with such kids as well. Other parents also need to be brought to light about the Psychology behind these special little ones who need to be dealt with great deal of consideration and diligence. With affiliation in abundance these kids may strive to attain success in their own special manner.

While advancement in educational fields is rising at rapid levels, this is one of the aspects where the modern day society chooses to dwell in deliberate darkness. This is a tribute to those parents to learn to count their blessings instead of sorrows; to contribute instead of indulging in retribution; and make their existence even more exclusive with these ‘special people’ in their lives. Especially today (December 3rd) being world’s disabled day-which is indeed a special day for these special people isn’t it? And in many days/months/years to come by.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

‘Aaja Nachle’: Return of the Dancing Diva


-By Swetha Amit
Some films make you laugh, cry or cringe with the hard hitting reality cum social message. However there are few which leads you to a dance. Yash Raj’s Aaja Nachle falls in the latter category and proves to be a dance drama till the end with a slight drag.

This eagerly awaited flick also enhances the comeback of yesteryear's all time dazzling star- Madhuri Dixit; giving an opportunity for the audience to get jiggy with her.

The film starts with an energetic Dia (Madhuri Dixit) conducting dance classes in New York. Everything seems fine until that phone call from India reporting about her Guru (Darshan Zariwala) breathing his last. This prompts a rather frantic Dia to fly down with her daughter and what follows is a series of flashback of events eleven years ago. Belonging to a small town of Shamli, Dia was like any other bubbly girl indulging in mischief with her friend Najma (Divya Dutta). Yet she possessed a strong passion for dance making her a favorite with her teacher. Her independent streak propels her to fall in love with an American photographer and elope with him, causing disgrace to her parents; distress to her silent lover Mohan (Ranvir) and earning the wrath of the town folk along with a maligned reputation.

On arriving and much to her dismay, Dia learns about the dreaded commercialization that has engulfed Shamli. This has posed a threat to the existence of her dance school ‘Ajanta’ which is to be replaced by a shopping mall. Vowing to retain Ajanta to her ‘Guru’, she goes all out to keep up her last promise. Battling against the two month time; a deal struck between her and the MP Uday (Akshaye Khanna in a cameo role), Dia manages to keep up the never say die attitude in spite of the unmistakable hostility and uncooperative gestures from the people.

With grit, determination and a little comic relief, Dia brings in different characters to enact in her dance drama of Laila-Majnu, which is more than a showdown for saving ‘Ajanta’ from the political clutches. Tremendous support from Imran (Kunal Kapoor), Anokhi (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is a tomboy and in love with Imran; Vinay Pathak who is a government official; Jugal Hansraj and despite a few corrupt hurdles of a mix up between business and politics by a shrewd Businessman Irfan Khan, Dia goes on to achieve the impossible at a ‘stretch’.

Aaja Nachle proves to be entertaining in the first half and loses its momentum towards the end of the second half where the story was dragged unnecessarily. The movie belongs to Madhuri Dixit out and out who looks ravishing. Whether it’s her effortless and brilliant dance, her graceful screen presence or her million dollar smile, nevertheless she manages to evoke a thunderous roar of applause from her fans. Some of the dance sequences and stage performances remind one of a tinge of Dil to Pagal hai which had the same Yash Raj-Madhuri combo.

Kunal Kapoor and Konkona share an excellent on screen chemistry which is continued from their last release of the same banner. Both their performances are profound and keep improving with every release of theirs. Ranvir and Vinay Pathak do well. Akshaye Khanna manages to make a mark in his brief role and so does Irfan Khan. Jugal Hansraj and Divya Dutta make their presence felt in their mediocre parts.

Direction by Anil Mehta is decent. Music by Salim-Sulaiman is average with the exception of the title track making the audiences sway along with the dancing Diva. The dialogues especially the ones between Akshaye Khanna and Madhuri Dixit are power packed and amuse the viewers with their verbal combat.

However the script does have a few loopholes which would fail to match up the hype and promos. Yet it’s worth a watch for fans of Madhuri who would let out a whoop of delight to see her back on screen. And for non fans also, who would probably become one after watching her in this film.

Overall Aaja Nachle is an entertaining dance drama which despite its drawbacks draws the audiences into a foot tapping fiesta and marks the return of the Dancing Diva. This proves it to be a worth watch at least once which will make many say ‘Aaja Dekhle’ or rather ‘Aaja Nachle’.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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AID(s) your life

-By Swetha Amit

http://content.msn.co.in/MSNContribute/Story.aspx?PageID=0e8cce04-82d2-44c8-800e-dd059ca63f84
“Ignorance is bliss” is a popular saying which prevents one of unnecessary burden of facts that are irrelevant and cause an unwarranted baggage of strain. However there occurs many a moment when one can advocate a statement emphasizing that “Awareness is indeed a blessing”.
Acquiring knowledge certainly bears its fruit and comes in handy in several instances especially in those involving a life and death factor. Possessing vital information strengthens and empowers an individual and prevents them from attaining a ‘weak’ stance in more than one way.

Such is the case of the deadly disease called AID(s) which is of no mystery to the current population. Yet it’s ironical to see the vast ignorance of its pivotal aspects that has instigated this condition to a large extent and spread like wild fire. Tracing back to the yesteryears this virus was prominent among the sex workers clan which rapidly spread to other sections of the society before one could say ‘Jack Robinson’.

In comparison to the earlier alarming recurrence of this virus, there thankfully seems to be a slight decrease according to statistics and reports out recently. However it appears to be a long and cumbersome task to battle this catastrophic syndrome before it engulfs mankind altogether. This fight is indeed a trying and hard one which manages to flash a ray of hope amongst millions to eradicate this dark and murky evil.

A further insight into the depth of these underlying causes sums of to that of the unhygienic measures adopted in medical facilities, the inadequate education about intercourse and the inability to monitor ‘instinct’ impulses lead to dire consequences.

Some things occur beyond ones control while other circumstances are those which we can gain control of, yet fail to do so; due to our weak will power which twists into a strange irony of a ‘weakly physical state of being.’ This is evident in the case of the youth segment comprising that of adolescents and the young adults. Insatiable curiosity levels and giving in to their intense feelings, entice them into a passionate lock without the appropriate measures that result in a ‘final diagnosis’ with serious repercussions much to their dismay. Without sufficient knowledge, such youngsters unfortunately succumb to their needs which sadly leave them ‘stigmatized’ in more than one way.

Lack of education about the essential trivia of needed information for the rural population is a cause of concern. The irresponsibility to undertake prime care and ensure hygiene throws such faultless beings into a state of misery and pitiable conditions. It is horrifying to see the unclean sterile bring in an incurable and venomous virus that ‘sets them apart’ from others by depriving them ironically of their ‘healthy’ status.

Affecting and scarring them in every possible manner, such victims are sunk into the quivering quick sands of doom creating murk in theirs and the lives of their kith and kin. This traumatic condition instigates others around to treat them as no worse than untouchables. Estranged from their own family and friends, the suffering and agony extends deep into their psychological state. It is appalling to see such beings tormented by society due to false notions attached to this disease; of being contagious even by a mere physical touch which is not the case. Such people are deprived of the needed love, care and nurture during their diminishing statues as ‘lively’ beings. Is it fair to play along with this fatal disease destroying mankind and entice the ‘humanity factor altogether?

Instead of indulging in‘avoidant’ behaviour and a harsh glare towards these grief stricken beings, society needs to adopt constructive measures by emphasizing on ‘prevention is better than cure’ stance. Imparting sex education in schools at the ‘right age’ when the transition awareness starts to develop gradually is absolutely necessary. This step is crucial even among remote villages and small towns which are starved out of the needful information.

Thoughtful gestures in contributing to this noble cause in our own special and humane way will aid and prevent our fellow humans from falling prey to this frightful phenomenon. Also treating those affected with articulate sensitivity instead of a scornful and disdainful expression as towards a ragged piece of unwanted cloth will ensure a bloom into their gloomy state of being.
People need to be conditioned from the right age and time to attune their cognitive aspects that would raid their conscience and ‘Aid’ their lives.

While several measures undertaken today in the form of strong messages through the media and workshops, we have a long way to go in combating this virus. As Robert Frost mentioned” we have miles to go before we sleep”, in this case ‘before we sweep this disease off the society with diligence.’
Written for www.msn.co.in

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