Monday, February 23, 2009

The Lily of a Day

I remember reading this poem for the first time when I was in primary school. It was a part of the 2nd language English syllabus and was the favorite poem of the entire class. Not because it is so lovely, but solely for the reason that it was short and very easy to mug up for the exams.
Through the years, the more I read the poem, the more beautiful it sounds and means. Here it is.. by Ben Johnson (1572-1637)

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three-hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere.
A lily of a day,
Is fairer far in May,
Although it droop and die that night,
It was the plant and flow'r of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.

What's In A Name

Ever since I completed reading “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, I’ve known one thing for sure. I may read and re-read hundreds of books, but I will never enjoy them the way I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series. J.K Rowling can reach up to impeccable levels of imagination and then actually proceed to translate those ideas into words that will be read and remembered by millions – young & old – and will be passed on by those millions to their kids and grand kids. In spite of the magnificent sets and CGI effects in the movie series that are so well embedded in our memory, all of us who have read her books have mentally constructed our own versions of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Privet Drive, the Burrow, Grimmauld Place, Azkaban, Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, the Ministry of Magic and the Quidditch world cup stadium. That’s the kind of impact her translation of imagery to the books has had on all of us.
But, this is not what I love the most about her and her books. The way she names characters, their homes, their towns, their books and even their pets is mesmerizing. This also goes for names of the ghosts, elves, goblins, animals, curses, charms, spells, hexes, magical items, stores, schools, halls, corridors, passwords... the list is quite endless. My most favorite name has and will always be Albus Dumbledore. The name has such an endearing quality to it, as if he could be your grandpa. Albus means ‘white’ in Latin. In the Order of the Phoenix, when I read his full name - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledoreit went on to become my all-time favorite name. I feel it has waves of love, courage and peace in it. If a name can speak words, this one can speak volumes. The way Madam Maxime calls him Dumbly-dorr makes him look cute.
I am very tempted to visit the Leaky Cauldron for a firewhisky and then to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour for a double sundae. A visit to Diagon Alley is incomplete without some shopping at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and Flourish & Blotts. While am there, I will not forget to pick up puking pastilles as a gift for my manager. I definitely wouldn’t mind spending an entire day at Hogsmeade whiling away time at Honeydukes and The Three Broomsticks.
There are names that sound fierce, rude, elegant, cute, exotic and some that sound stupid. Lord Voldemort sounds quite vicious and so does his real name, Tom Marvolo Riddle. Bellatrix Lestrange is another one. I have to admit, the escape scene in Azkaban which shows her laughing like a lunatic perfectly matches the fierce quality of her name. Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Rita Skeeter, Igor Karakoff, Mulciber, Salazar Slytherin, Millicent Bulstrode, Vincent Crabbe – all these names successfully hint at the kind of character they are named after. They vary between ugly/rude/fierce. Then there are the ones that sound exotic and mysterious, at times elegant too - Rubeus Hagrid, Phineas Nigellus, Andromeda, Nymphadora, Fleur, Victorie, Dominique, Roxanne, Apolline, Rosmerta, Narcissa, Olympe Maxime, Xenophilius Lovegood, Ollivander, Gellert Grindelwald, Aberforth, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody. Did you know that Lupin is French for ‘wolf’? Sybill Trelawney sounds magical and so does Minerva McGonagall. Then there are the funny, stupid ones - some intentional and some not so – Dedalus Diggle, Elphias Doge, Mundungus Fletcher, Sturgis Podmore, Arabella Figg, Gregory Goyle, Adalbert Waffling, Mafalda Hopkirk, Peter Pettigrew, Poppy Pomfrey & Argus Filch. The topper on this list has to be Dudley Dursley. It sounds like this name was used as a curse on our dear fatty to stay stupid all his life.
Names of animals and pets in the series stand out. While Nagini, Firenze, Fawkes & Hermes sound mystic Hedwig, Fluffy & Norbert sound adorable. Other notable ones are Fang, Aragog, Crookshanks, Errol, Buckbeak and Scabbers. Pigwidgeon is the cutest name I’ve heard in ages. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington has a memorable name, and so does Moaning Myrtle. We will never forget Grawp, Dobby, Winky, Kreacher & Griphook. Pius Thicknesse sounds like he could really be thick and Dolores Umbridge actually sounds like the name of a stout woman.
And then there are the regular names which have leaped up in the popularity charts thanks to some memorable characters. Harry, Hermione and Ronald will go down into history as the most popular names of this generation. Giving them company are names like Cedric, Oliver, Ginny, Fred, George, James, Lily, Rose, Hugo, Neville and my personal favorites – Sirius and Remus.
While Rowling wrote about her favorite boy Harry for 17 years, I am sure she never imagined that he would become our favorite too and a worldwide literary wave (tsunami rather) would arise. A dear friend of mine says I have a fixation with Harry Potter, to which I agree completely. Well, I have to admit that I don’t agree completely because it’s not just a fixation. It’s an obsession and a favorite one at that.
To all the non-Potter people (muggles I’d say) who read through this patiently, I am sorry. I am not sorry for making you read this, but sorry that you have not experienced the world of Potter. And I sincerely hope that you will read the books some day. My kids will definitely grow up with Harry.

Eerie but Beautiful

The colours of the sky always fascinate me, but was stumped when I saw a silver and gold skyline on Saturday evening. I was in Lifestyle at around 6pm and as usual looked up to catch the sunset colours. After managing to attract some attention from the parking attendants who started peeking into the sky the moment I took out my phone to capture the amazing sight, I got a wonderful picture.

I cant believe a colour picture turned out like this.... Its eerie, but beautiful..


Watched Delhi-6 on the weekend. It’s the most muddled up movie I have seen, but with the most amazing characters and subplots.
It’s a story about a young NRI, Roshan (Abhishek) who lands in Delhi with his granny played by the ever-beautiful Waheeda Rahman for his first trip to India. The audience gets to see the sights of Delhi and Chandni Chowk through his eyes and the pictures he clicks away on his mobile. The sights of the city and its people captured by Rakesh Mehra are as real and candid as they can get. A single vintage car stuck in a traffic jam amongst bicycles and tongas, thousands of people offering Namaz at the Mosque and on the streets around Chandni Chowk, politicians interrupting ‘Sita Apaharan’ at the Ram Leela to make an important speech and donation, “A mother cow giving baby cow’ in the middle of the street, rushing to the hospital in a tonga.. to repeat the age-old cliché, “It Happens Only In India”. The movie has an amazing ensemble of characters. Brothers (Om Puri & Pawan Malhotra) who breathe fire at each other oblivious to their wives (Supriya Pathak & Sheeba Chaddha) who continue living like one family, sharing pakoras, gossip, love and much more through one broken brick in the wall. There’s Gobar, a character that will find a strong hold in your heart as soon as he is introduced - a silent and dim temple worker played brilliantly by Atul Kulkarni. The very sportive Gobar never minds being the butt of all jokes, but gets away with the cheekiest line in the movie at the end. The streetside jalebiwala (Deepak Dobriyal) who worships Allah and Hanuman as one, the local bully cop (Vijay Raaz), the street sweeper (Divya Dutta), the fakhir who walks around showing everyone a mirror, Prem Chopra as Lalaji, his twenty-something wife ‘Beauty’ and Cyrus O as the faker Suresh excel in their roles. A new actress as the sister of the warring brothers impresses as the gentle Rama Bua. Sonam Kapoor as Bittu is fiery, fresh, beautiful and very impressive. She sails through her character with ease. Abhishek is okay and is getting very good at emoting with his eyes. Waheeda Rahman’s poise and brilliance comes through in all her scenes. I remember seeing her once in Forum, she was walking up to the PVR ticket counter. In a simple lilac chikankari salwar kameez, she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I just stopped in my tracks and didn’t know if should stop staring at her. Well, I couldn’t do much but just stare and when I looked around later, I realized I had company in the hordes of others who were doing the same thing as me.
Rakesh Mehra adds the subplot of a monkey-man attacking people in the city and in turn becomes the cause of Hindu-Muslim riots because people are led to believe that the monkey was a Muslim. This is where the movie loses its charm and starts lagging. The climax is extremely annoying and preachy. Its quite devoid of logic too. I wish Mehra thought of a better storyline to end the movie.
Two things that I loved the most in the movie. Rahman’s music is splendid, brilliant, spellbinding, amazing and fantabulous. In years to come, Delhi-6 will always be mentioned as some of his best work. The music liberally flows through the movie and keeps the spirit going. If you haven’t heard all the songs of the movie yet, please pick up the cd. Its worth every penny. Its hard to pick favorites from this album but I recommend ‘Genda Phool’ and ‘Rehna Tu’.
My most favorite part of the movie was Rishi Kapoor as Ali Baig. Well, I’ve always had a massive crush on him, but he looks extremely handsome in the movie and elevates a simple supporting character to another level altogether. If you like him, watch Luck By Chance as well. He rocks!!

Meet Me

 Here are random and little known things about me.
  • I love white. The colour represents peace, purity, love, beauty, hygiene, light and most importantly life. My wardrobe is filled with white. I can wear white all day long, all year long and never get bored.
  • I am not very religious. I pray every day, but not in the conventional way. I believe in the highest entity that creates and destroys all, I call ‘Him’ God too. In that sense, all the beautiful things he created are spiritual and pure. It maybe a sunset, curled up fingers of a newborn baby, dew on a budding rose, a lush green rainforest, a majestic tusker, a little bulbul, MS Subbulakshmi’s rendition of ‘Kurai Ondrum Illai’ or Gulzar’s ‘Mera Kuch Saaman’. The odds of these beautiful things making me feel spiritual is higher than visiting a grand temple.
  • I can’t survive without music. I wake up with a tune in my head and it stays there till I get back to sleep. I listen to music almost all day. A dear friend thinks that I would have gone insane by now if not for my affliction to music.
  • I absolutely and totally adore Sonu Nigam. I have been in love with him from the time I first heard his voice, which was 14 years ago. After I heard him sing in my mother tongue, I realized that I couldn’t have asked for more. All this fascination culminated quite well, when I watched him perform live and stood right at the foot of the stage singing along ‘Anisutide Yaako Indu’ with the man himself.
  • I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. I have read and re-read and re-re-read the series multiple times. Ron Weasley is the cutest character in literary history.
  • My dream man is Chandler Bing.
  • I am a cleanliness freak. I am also a stickler for hygiene. I like everything around me to be in perfect order, in the right place and if possible, scrubbed clean.
  • I have great patience. I can listen to people talk for hours and endure utter nonsense for ages. Though this is a quality that most of my friends envy me for, I know how it can work against me.
  • I strive for perfection everywhere. Most people blame that on my sunsign, but I love the habit. It makes me want to achieve something better each time and keeps me on my feet. My quest for the ‘perfect’ stuff annoys people around me and also causes me a lot of agony because no such thing exists. But am not about to give up that easily. There has to be a perfect way of giving up things, and I am yet to master that!
  • Dance, according to me is the most beautiful form of communication. The levels of spirituality, discipline and happiness a person can attain are unarguably the highest with dancing. It’s mostly true with me. I am happiest when I dance.
  • I despise hypocrites and show-offs. I will gladly trust a fool, provided he is genuine.
  • Photography is my religion. For me, every sight I see is a prospective image and I am always mentally framing pictures. I love photographs and can never get tired of looking at old ones. I also like to believe that I can take pretty decent and expressive pictures.
  • I worship Gulzar. He is the king of poetry and some of his songs have moved me to tears.
  • I am very passionate about nature and wildlife. I watch the sunset every single day without fail. I love travelling and would love to travel through a country alone, someday.
  • I am everybody’s agony aunt. Family, friends, acquaintances and total strangers discuss their problems with me. Some look for advise, some for help and some just for a ear to pour out their problems.
  • I have a weakness for flowering trees. I can look at a in-bloom Java Cassia tree all day.
  • I have an unusually large memory. I can remember tiny, crazy, remote things and events that no one would bother to pay attention to. 
  • I can’t survive without reading. I usually don’t get out of home without a book in tow. I can’t sleep if I don’t read a few lines.