India it is!

Day 19 – Peace.

There is a different kind of wave floating across the country. After the Uri attack and the corresponding “surgical strike” by India, the entire landscape seems at a whole new level.  Cold War. Boycott. Hatred. Intolerance. Nationalism.

I am not here to advocate any of these or talk about what happened. I am just a civilian and I am worried.

I do not doubt my army, rather I care for it. I have utmost respect for the Indian Armed Forces and that is primarily why I want to advocate peace as they will be the first ones to face the consequences of a war, if it happens.

I am worried for the lives which in turn will be effected internally, in our country and theirs, with people losing their loved ones and living in constant fear and uncertainty.

I am worried for the so called attempt at Cold War, for not working with Pakistani artists, for stopping indulgence with anyone who belongs to that country. Even if it seems rational at some remote level, how far would we able to do that? We can not completely erase the cultural traces, not all of a sudden.

We have a huge history and our relationship with the neighbour is as always, quite complicated. All this calls for a well thought out and a planned step further, especially keeping in mind the internal state of the nation.

Kashmir has always been in a pickle. Army strategies have been politicised by all sides. Every few days, there is some sort of ruckus happening near the border areas. Capital city has been on alert ever since the attack. Villages surrounding border had been evacuated causing farmers in Punjab great losses as they left almost around harvest time. Pakistani TV shows are going off air. Directors are declaring that they will not work with Pakistani actors any more.

No one knows what will follow up next. All I humbly hope for is peace. Just like everyone out there.

 

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Day 16 – My story behind Dhoni’s “Untold Story”

My dad cleaned bowled me this Sunday. No, it is no longer 90’s when he used to play cricket with us. But he still managed to pull it off by offering to take me to the movie I had been cribbing to go for since morning that day.

He had been quite busy, just like every Sunday which begins with his typical military schedule to finish maximum tasks. Apparently, that is what Sunday means to him – Spend time finishing all the non-office work. (Sigh! I know. That is how my brother and I get to laze around. Because he keeps things in motion. :P)

So, easing my way for the last day of the week, I grabbed the Sunday paper and landed up on the review of “MS Dhoni – The Untold Story. “. I think that was the final trigger. The ultimate reminder that the movie is out, finally! I had been waiting for this one anxiously ever since the trailer was released. If you don’t believe me, check this(Yes, I have proof.):

https://pallavisinghal.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/day-7-keep-blowing-your-mind-away/

I was almost ready for the worst case ‘go alone scenario’ after no one in my family seemed interested when my knight in the shining armor swooped in, making his princess stare at him in surprise! Yes. That was my Dad’s filmy entry in the story. I was so taken aback (and quite suspicious that this was just a way to cancel later)  that I told him about the timings and the duration of the movie twice!! Anyway, we made it to the movie, well before show time. 🙂

Now,  coming to Neeraj Pandey’s latest creation – MS Dhoni, The Untold Story. What I really loved about the concept is that it is the story of a living legend, whom we all have seen rise and shine as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team. This makes him a curious subject for a biopic, for he is someone we know, not too well of course.

And that is why, the famous world cup scenes, his typical shots (the helicopter shot!), his different hair styles – all ring a bell. Even so, the ever so real characters in the background, be it the father who wants him to focus on a secured and safe career, the mom who butters the tough dad once in a while, the teasing but lovable sister, friends in good and bad times, coaches, colleagues, his boss, the mentors, his love..everyone seem to make his world believable and so damn real.

These characters bring life to the story, which unfolds layer by layer, and even though it gets a bit too extensive at times, you want to go with the flow and crave for a bit more. The end brings a sense of satisfaction by completing the circle at the ODI World Cup of 2011, wrapping up at the high-point of Dhoni’s life perhaps. After all, it is supposed to be the untold story of the “journey”.

The movie made me realize how amazingly appealing yet difficult it is to achieve simplicity and hardwork. Dhoni clearly reflects the two qualities. His life is like a clean slate which had that one goal of being a cricketer clearly written in bold letters, and rest everything followed. The love is a bit unexpected, making him no better than any of us dealing with the heavy emotions.

The journey is interesting, making it subtly evident that Dhoni is a man of actions more than words. He speaks whenever necessary, putting his thought process clearly even when he is bombarded with so-called mild “depression”. His inner struggle reflects clearly on the way he improved his game and that is why he is an inspiration.

A special mention to the way the sponsors were advertised. Point scored there!!

I feel non-cricket fans would be able to enjoy equally as there are lots of emotional moments to be savored in addition to the adrenaline of his shots. Overall, a well bundled movie. 🙂

Personally, I liked it. More than that, loved the company I had. 🙂

Day 7 – Keep blowing your mind away

There are some days which do not start with a bang, rather they begin slowly as they carry on their shoulders the heavy weight and backlog of sleep accumulating through the entire week. Yes, I am talking about a Friday. They usually begin slow but end with an excitement as the weekend slowly creeps in.

With such a beginning, I needed a small push to wake myself up a bit – a cup of coffee and a slight nudge of motivation to end the last day before the long weekend on a high note by finishing all the work I had been assigned to.

Luckily I landed upon something which just blew my mind away. A three minute video. It was the trailer of MS Dhoni – the Untold Story.

Frankly, I would not call myself a cricket fan. But I am an Indian at heart, and well, one of the typical things about being an Indian is the family time spent watching the important cricket matches. I have admired Dhoni ever since I can remember. From his overall personality, his game, the famous sixes, the helicopter shot, to the never ever imagined but always secretly wished for World cup victory and many more wins he led Team Blue to – I have always liked our captain. I have seen him as lead during the times I could really make sense of the game, and almost all the times, he led us to the winning side. That too in the mostly dramatic way possible. Naturally, for me, he is one of the best captain Team India has ever had.

I have seen his glorious days come alive but I have not really got a chance to know the real story behind his struggle. And this curiosity is exactly what the trailer fed upon. A simple dream, with a determined effort. The same old parental pressure for a secure job, but the desire and thirst to do something bigger.

The simple reminder that success does not come in a single day. Neither it stays too long after a single big shot achievement. It has to be continuous, every day.

And this is all about random stories which come by, often blow my mind, effectively enough to keep me moving. 🙂

 

Day 3 – That thing about Bombay

I know I am a little late for today’s post, but some unforeseen tasks came up suddenly, right before I settled down to write.

Finally, as I settled down and wished to come up with a topic faster, my mind refused to cooperate and went blank with an even faster pace, for my day today had no inspiration or a thought which really intrigued me. And I accept that fact. It happens. There are days, in fact many days, when you feel like they just passed away without teaching you anything. But, that is the sole purpose I am trying to defeat these days. I would like to believe that there is no day like that. Even if you have an illusion of such days, they too, add up in the long run. 🙂

A chunk of my time today was spent on reading this brilliant book, called Shantaram, which is kind of based on Bombay. Lately, the books I have read referred to Bombay in one way or the other. These references always take me back to this city, as the flashbacks from my memory coincide and find their own room in the author’s description.

Bombay. The city where dreams come true. The amazing city with the charisma that makes everyone fall in love with it. And I too fell for it, twice. And I would not mind a third time!

I can so readily relate to it when people tell me, even authors in their peculiar way, how they come to love this city, piece by piece, person by person. Perhaps, the reason lies in the fact that Bombay is one of the few places in India where I travelled alone and absolutely loved it. For me the city signifies freedom and life. It gave me moments, which I can undoubtedly mark as the ones when I “felt alive”.

The serenity of Haji Ali, the walk around Jehangir Art Gallery, the grandeur of Victoria Terminus, the sense of millions of lives moving around in the local trains and the spot where the Maximum City stays still, Marine Drive.

I think I really fell in love with Bombay when I was at Marine Drive, for the second time, at the end of my solo day. I had come there before. But it was a whole different world then. I came there with my friends and we sat and talked, for like hours. And this time I was alone. I missed them badly. The fact that you are alone at such a terrific place can kill you and make you at peace at the same time. You see a flashback of memories, and suddenly you are not alone. I think it is the infinite sea. The calm sea and crashing waves. Memories come crashing to your head, trying to hit your rocky heart, which then slowly melts and calms down like the sea, taking up each memory at a time, feeling it, kindling it and then leaving its mark in your eyes.

It all settles down then. Sitting alone, thinking about your experiences, good and bad, about people you love and miss, perhaps finding a part of yourself. It becomes meditation of sorts.

And you need such meditation. You need this relaxation. You need to find yourself, the pieces within you that have been ripped apart, and the pieces which are still left, for all those pieces complete you in one way or another. You need all those pieces so that you can carry, all of your self together, for the journey ahead.

Marine Drive

Delhi-The pollution and the probable solution

Pollution is an everyday story. Just that it has been repeated for so long that it needs to be changed. And it was. 10 years back, when Delhi had a hard time breathing in the polluted air, a life-saving option of using CNG was opted. 10 years later, we have repeated the same story and neutralised all the good effects the CNG option did.

So practically,10 years later, we are back to square one, with one option like CNG exhausted. We are in a grimmer situation and its time to take some drastic measures, well unless, we want the children to grow up wearing a mask all the time, feel like they are living in a gas chamber and obviously blame the previous generations. Imagine if our previous generations had done something like that. We would not have been living in the first place!!!

Instead we were blessed with this beautiful world to live in, but we have been so reckless, that it has been reduced to ashes. If you still do not understand the severity of the situation, this recent tweet by our CM makes the state of Delhi’s air pretty clear:

fdacb1d0-9fd3-11e5-87cb-5268f82dcaeb

One pair of lungs belong to a 55-year-old person from Himachal Pradesh and the other was that of a 52-year-old person in Delhi (Kejriwal’s Twitter Handle)

So, the newly introduced odd-even formula by Delhi government amidst this crucial Delhi environment crisis which has taken everyone by storm, is actually the need of the hour.

On one hand people are ready to accept the odd-even scheme, given the deplorable situation but on the other hand, there is a thought process going on as to how we all will commute to workplace everyday, given the misery it is to use public transport, especially during office hours. To this I would just like to say, “Where there is a will, there is a way!”

Top Doctors in the city have recently advised people to move out of Delhi if they want to save their children from fatal lungs disorders, severe respiratory problems, nausea, throat infection, pressure and fatigue. Yes! The situation is that grim. I am not really sure if we all should wait for the government to implement the odd-even scheme itself!!!

This point reminds me of a great children’s story. Once there is a raging fire in a forest. All the big animals – lions, tigers, elephants start running away. They suddenly stop and see in the air a little bird. The bird is picking up a drop of water and putting it on the raging fire – to and fro. The animals laughed at her and call her stupid. So she says – I may be stupid, but I am doing what I can.

How about we start putting in our efforts early?

We can once again pay heed to the “Clean Delhi Green Delhi” campaign. The more trees we have, the cleaner air we get. We can begin by opting for eco-friendly and healthy options like taking a cycle or walking instead of using a vehicle for going to a nearby place.

For longer distances, we can opt out for public transport. But public transport can be a bit of difficult option, especially in the office hours. I came across a solution for this problem recently – Ola Shuttle. I had heard of it but never got a chance to try it as I have my office bus at a specific time or an option of car pool often. I happened to try it today, as both the above options did not suit my time and realized how apt this thing is, especially in the current state of affairs.

Ola shuttle offers tempo travellers/ buses on various routes in Delhi NCR with a number of stops and fixed timings. Hop on from any location at your own convenience. Just choose the Ola Shuttle option in your app, browse the drop and pick up locations which suit you best and check if the shuttle is available for your route. If it is, it will give you a number of options for the timings as well. If it not, just shuffle between nearest drop and pick-up locations a bit and you will find a match suiting your requirement. From what I have seen, there are a number of drop and pick-up locations, especially in Gurgaon where the shuttle operates.

Blog-Header-OLA-Shuttle

I loved this idea because of many reasons.

1. It is environment friendly. It took me almost the same time as my own vehicle would have, and sitting in the shuttle along with 10 other people, I realized that this shuttle is at least replacing 3-4 cars which otherwise would have been on the road!!! But I noticed that the bus was mostly empty. Imagine if it is using its full capacity! How many more cars will the same bus will replace? Yes, you did the math right! 🙂

2. It is extremely comfortable. Its mostly modelled like your office transport, but you can avail it on need basis. No need of paying for it monthly. Imagine, a pick up and drop facility, which works on schedule and which can be paid per ride basis.

3. It is immensely affordable. To travel from Gurgaon to Dwarka, you will be charged around 40 bucks!

4. You can work while travelling! (Only, if you want to. :P) Some of the shuttles have wifi facility too. And unlike public transport, it is relatively noise free.

5. Sleep rather than driving yourself. Instead of having to toil through the reckless traffic, give your car a break and make your day a little less abusive.

I am not here to promote any one alternative but all I want is to make you aware that there are alternatives available, waiting for us to take a step and use them. We don’t have any time left for talks. Its time to act. So while the government goes ahead with the odd-even formula, and does something on improving the public transport, why don’t we go ahead and make a choice of our own?

According to the latest reports, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world!! And for crying out loud, this is not something we should be proud of. On a scale of 0 to 500, where a level 0 means good air and 500 means severe air, we are at an alarming level of 999. We are way out of the radar, which means that if we let the young ones live in such an environment, they will be growing up with irreversible lung damage.

The worst thing to be scared of in the above scenario is already here-the winter fog. Smoke from all the vehicular emissions gets trapped in the winter fog creating smog, which stays in the air instead of going up. So when people say Delhi has become a gas chamber, they literally mean it. You too will not be able to deny it if you step out early in the morning or evening.

I believe if we all do what we can, we can make a difference. After all, its our city too. The air which everyone breathes in, is the air we breathe in too. Its our responsibility to keep it clean, clean enough so that our coming generations can enjoy a world they deserve. Not a gas chamber!

P.S. For more information: http://blog.olacabs.com/stop-hatin-and-start-lovin-your-daily-commutes-with-ola-shuttle/

P.S. There is another app called Shuttl which works on the same concept. This startup offers a new commuting solution to office-goers in Noida and Gurgaon. http://yourstory.com/2015/09/shuttl/

 

This Diwali, try something different!

A long day at work made me tired enough to sit through the commercials as I did not bother to get the remote. And amidst all my tiredness, I witnessed something which was not only creative, but admiringly different and to the point. It was the Big Bazaar’s new advertisement.

While the Supreme Court ruling recently refused to ban the fire crackers, (keeping in mind that it is more of a personal choice and people’s way to celebrate the festival) this ad showcases a beautiful way to make your own CHOICE and make Diwali more environment friendly! 🙂

The ad clearly makes you realize one of the important things in life, that if you want, you can find your own ways to be happy and make others happy too!

Just plug in and let the creative bulb shine! 😉

Adieu 2012!

As the mighty 2012 bids us goodbye and in contrast to the Mayan predictions, the world is not coming to an end anytime soon , I thought it might be a good idea reviewing one of the most hyped year of all times and more importantly remembering the legends that are no longer with us, but will always remain in our hearts. The Real Fighter65040_560898887258321_981352036_n This time it was not an earthquake or a tsunami or the terrorist attacks that shook our country towards the end of the year, but it was an awakening – the 23 year old girl who bravely fought for her life after being gang raped on one of the busiest routes of Delhi. We know she tried real hard and we won’t fail her. The rage that her death brought shouldn’t be wasted and lets all make a resolution that 2013 should be the year of change where girls feel a lot safer and justice is served to all.   The Sitar Maestro ravi-shankar-sl-2-2-2012Pandit Ravi Shankar, one of the greatest musicians of India passed away on   December 12, 2012 at the age of 92 due to prolonged illness. He was an ambassador of music and an international celebrity who placed the Indian music on the world map, and opened doors for Hindustani and Carnatic musicians to win laurels everywhere. A contender for the Grammy award, he set the real meaning of music fusion by his collaborations with world renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin and rock star George Harrison of The Beatles. Ravi Shankar is survived by his wife Sukanya, daughters Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar Wright.   The King of romance “Tumse do lafzon meinyash_chopra Tumse yeh kehna tha Tumse hi mohabbat thi Tumse hi mohabbat hai Tumse kehna hai yun rehna hai JAB TAK H JAAN…” This was his last contribution to us, the last work that reflected what he was always brilliant at-portraying the magical feeling of being in love. Yash Chopra, the man who showed everyone the beauty of falling in love with his DDLJ,Dil to pagal hai and Veer Zaara passed away on October 21, 2012 due to prolonged illness.   The First Superstar Rajesh-Khanna‘Babumoshai, zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai. Usse na aap badal sakte hain na main’ – Anand With his head slightly tilted, the smile to kill for, the twinkling eyes, Rajesh Khanna had it all-the charm and style and that is what made him the first ever superstar of Bollywood. He had 15 hit films consecutively, which is still a record. Be it a dilemma of a cancer patient or a drunkard’s confession of love, Rajesh Khanna’s fans felt his character’s pain. He made his characters immortal. Lovingly known as Kaka by all his fans, he left us all on July 18, 2012 at the age of 69.   The Hanuman Dara Singh, a legendary wrestler turned actor who is fondly remembered as “Hanuman” of the epic Ramayan passed away on July 12, 2012 at the age of 84 due to sudden cardiac attack. Last sees as Kareena’s grandfather in Jab We Met, Dara Singh was the first sportsperson to be appointed to Rajya Sabha. He also has many successful Punjabi movies to his credit.

Published: http://youthopia.in/adieu-2012

We want to feel safe!!

As I boarded the metro on my way back home today, I noticed a cute baby girl wearing a bunny hoodie, sitting conveniently on her mother’s lap. I then got busy finding a place to stand when she again caught my attention. She began singing- it wasn’t a nursery rhyme or a popular song..It was our National Anthem. And the child ended it proudly with ‘Jai Hind’!

I had a smile on my face seeing her but it was accompanied with immense sadness as the recent chain of events came to my mind. It was a pain to even have such a thought in my mind, but given the circumstances, I could not stop myself from thinking that there is a possibility that even this innocent child might become a prey to the wild beasts of our society in future, if things continue the way they are..

As I was immersed in my thought process, I was interrupted by a call. It was my dad. He wanted to know where I was and how much longer will it take me to reach home. After I gave him the details, he instructed me to only take a DTC bus and no private vehicle. And then he disconnected the phone. It was 4 pm then and the route on which he told me to be careful is the one I’ve been using for the past 5 years.

The sunday’s incident of gang-rape of a 23 year old girl has indeed shaken up Delhi. It has scared the hell out of not only every girl, but every individual whose daughter, wife, sister or even a female friend steps outside. And this is not how one lives, in their own city, in their own country!!stop hurting us

The rage is furious and there has been protests for over a week now. As the 23 year old still struggles in the hospital, the government is being forced to take stringent measures and punish the bastards.

On one hand, there has been talks about making a girl independent, educating her and giving her an equal status in society. But when she steps out, she is harassed, leaving her devastated- physically, mentally and emotionally! Its been more than 60 years of independence, but crimes against women have been only increasing. If she survives the foeticide, her life is made as good as hell.

Its high time and there is already a spark and anger amongst the people which should lead to some positive results. But more than that there is a pang of fear and that can be curbed only by ensuring the safety of women. We need to assure that when she steps outside, she does not feel insecure, and more importantly, she comes back safely!

Published:
http://youthopia.in/want-feel-safe/

Checkmate! ;)

On 11th December 1969, a very media shy sportsperson was born, an inspiration for all the chess players across the world and whose statistics never fail to mesmerize us!

There aren’t many guesses to this as it is none other than our Grandmaster- Vishwanathan Anand. The champion definitely does not need any introduction, but on his birthday, I would like to give a glimpse of who he really is. So here it is.

Vishwanathan Anand is one of the most low-profile sportsperson with a reputation for refraining from political and psychological ploys and instead focusing on his own game, and boy! he does it well. The undisputed World Champion since 2007 and a history maker throughout his career, Anand became the first Indian grandmaster in 1987, following which he inaugrated the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by being the first recipient in 1991, and was also the first sportsperson to receive the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award in 2007. Anand is one of six players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE (International Chess Federation) rating list.

Needless to say, Anand’s laurels speak for himself, but the down to earth world champion does not even place himself on his own list of top 10. According to him, late Bobby Fischer is the best of all times. Now thats making of a champion!!

Anand was born in Mayiladuthurai, a town in Tamil Nadu. The youngest of his siblings, Anand spent his childhood in Chennai and learnt to play Chess from his mother. This little story was told by Anand himself- ‘When he was six, his mother used to write down all the puzzles from a TV show while he was at school, and later both of them used to solve them together. They won so many prizes that the show people requested them not to send any more entries. :)’

Anand was educated at Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School,Egmore, Chennai and holds a degree of Bachelor of Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.

Also known as the “Tiger of Madras”, his game in the chess-world has been so amazing that Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Magnus Carlsen (all champions themselves and of whom the former two were rivals for the World Championship throughout Anand’s career), each aided him in preparing for the World Chess Championship 2010.

In April 2011, Anand and his wife Aruna were blessed with a boy and keeping on with the tradition of A’s, he was named Akhil. 🙂

Vishwanathan Anand truly represents excellence and modesty at the same time. He is an inspiration for all the aspiring chess players and a number of grandmasters are already following his lead. His hard work and dedication has always made the country proud and I wish this grandmaster a great life ahead! 🙂

Fate of Hindi in India

It was a tiring day and I was simply surfing channels on TV when I came across the trailer of ‘English Vinglish’, the upcoming Sri Devi movie where she goes to Manhattan and apparently learns English. Sounds like an interesting movie. Although it somehow reminded me of the epic family slapstick comedy “Chupke Chupke” and yeah, most importantly our very dear “vanaspati vaigyanik” (Botany Professor!) Dr Parimal Tripathi, who becomes a “vahan chalak” (driver) Pyare mohan.The poor guy struggled hard to learn English although the audience was mesmerised by the “shudh” Hindi he spoke. 
Inspired by the same idea, we also saw Parimal Tripathi in Heyy babyy, where the character(Fardeen Khan) yet again entertained us. Of course, most of us still remember the super safe driving and the pure hindi translations!

Anyways, I am not here to brief you on various Parimal Tripathis or Pyare Mohans in Bollywood or give a review about English Vinglish! What led to this article were some random thoughts like “At a time when perfect hindi can make you stand out from a crowd who’s in for English Vinglish??” or to put it in simpler words first- “What is the fate of Hindi in India?!?”

Hindi was chosen as the official language of India when our constitution was adopted in 1950. Along with it, we also had English as an official language, a practical decision indeed as English is the most widely spoken language in the world and is a medium to provide the much needed growth and global contact. And after more than half a century, India can claim to have struggled with Globalization and of course, a significant rise in the number of English speakers!

But then arises a question- “Are we ignoring our national language with an advancement in globalization?”

With the evergrowing modernization and a strong desire to meet the international standards, I feel our dear hindi is getting lost somewhere! We are reluctant to use the language we have been speaking since birth and all we have is a yearning to learn other languages, English primarily. To be clear, this is definitely not against the other languages in the world, this is more about raising a concern for Hindi. Obviously, I have no hard feelings for the language I am writing my article in! 😛

Now, to quote a few examples, and beginning with the most prominent one, English being a status symbol. Those conversing in English are often looked up to. Thats ohk and I appreciate it coz if you are fluent in English, you should be admired. But what sometimes make me sad is people have now overshadowed Hindi with English, even in their minds! They will prefer not being understood but to converse in English rather than expressing themselves properly in the language they are efficient in.

Another slaughter that Hindi bears is the severe modification brought to it coz of the regional dialects. With time, our lifestyle, thoughts, traditions and a lot of things change and so does our language. To keep up, changes are incorported naturally. But often, some people introduce such drastic modifications in the language that it kills the very essence of it. As a result, the language then feels like a whole new world. (One of the examples could be mixing Hindi with punjabi and Haryanvi, which is seen a lot of times!!)

A common saying is, “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” All we need now is the enthusiasm to keep the pride of our national language, and a little effort to keep the spirit of Hindi alive. After all, our “matrabhasha” deserves due respect!
Sometimes I feel, there’ll be a time soon when people will crave for Hindi as they run after English now. The ‘shudh’ hindi concept would be the one which people will use to stand out from the crowd! 😉

Published: http://youthopia.in/fate-hindi-india/