Thursday, September 15, 2011

ABSTRACTIMES! :)

 Unlike most other circumstances which have forced me to write, things which have happened in the more recent past, have compelled me not to.  
While the world may be becoming smaller, the pieces that bring it together, it seems to me, are distancing themselves from each other.
No, its not oceans that are swelling with the tsunami's of our times.
It's about people, ironically, streaming closer in space, who are becoming more distant from each other.  
I don't know what to make of the surge, although an addiction, I must observe, during a rare moment that has come my way to reflect, which, in a sense is taking me away from the real thing.

I have started to understand that the revolution I once believed was going to take me marching into a future...
...which I would never visit in this life time of mine...
...is, as a matter of fact, bringing facts from the past to the fore...
...and I am but only this individual, swaying to the tune of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, with billions...
...just like a rat cannot be told from another...
...I am one of those single beings who should not be apart from the multitudes...
...but sway I do, follow still...
...and the cliff from which I will be left to dive to my end, is not far. 

Yes, the power of the media, the spin of the doctors and the music of the noises that rattle and shake my innards every day, are meant to propel my opinion in one way or another, making me believe in things I would've not otherwise known and making me discard those which I might have adopted.
The world is young, reborn to a trillion wombs, frozen in time, where things are no different from when we were singing and dancing in the rain to the music that rebelled us from our times.
We were fewer in numbers, or so I had thought, but at a party, called a rave now, nothing had changed, nothing ever will.
I lost everything each time I left one place for another, and recoiled to the twist of fate in the new world which I was made to enter through displacement because of folks who thought my introduction to multiculturism would make me a woman of the world of my own next inheritance, little to have ever known that one fine day, everything buried in the unknown of my subconscience was to surface again, to remind me of the selection of memories which I had put to rest long ago, that inside a small screen wide enough to contain a social reality would pop out a person or two a day, whom I had long forgotten, and also wished to die from.
I had a father who moved home every three years as an honest public servant even though I wept and begged him to leave me behind, telling me that this, mix that I faced, of different people and stories in different cities, were constituted to my nation by a bunch of wise men to take us to a place which they had foreseen and that by being true to the will of the written, he was doing his children good, and when I argued with him that the very organization he was being loyal to, held people who never shifted, he would tell me that they were those whom we would always leave behind, because they were the ones outnumbered, people who corrupted the corrupt to keep sitting on the chairs which were no longer meant for them, him never to live to know that we were slowly getting numbered.
I swear I understood multiculturism as a child with a Daddy rowing the boat never against the tide in India, and did not need to go out of my country to know what it takes to bring caste, color and creed together through institution and organization.
It was here, I knew how to experience all languages, food and religions, and it is here, that I see them falling apart slowly. 
I wake up each day to things political, jumping up at me from the social, and begin to question myself as in the sense of how did I allow this to happen.
When we were becoming extinct, why did we not give ourselves the name of another race, which could then stop others from doing this to us, just like all other ethnic cultures do?
Did I lose my origins in the process?
Did I become a new racial animal yet to be given a name because I became united with the place that continued displacement compelled me to live in?
  
As questions control my mind, and allude to many blank pages of prose, I realize that here is where poetry had been written over the ages, by many an honest man who came to the edge with his truth and then created a metaphor which enabled generations to yet teach their children not to lie. 
I believe in truth, to my honesty which makes me smile within, when sitting at a bar last night, the very young, transformed to the Hazare litany, tells me that Anna is a brand in the same breath as he says that had it not been for the smartness of his colleagues to pull off a scam at his place of work along with him, he would not be in a position to pay the bill for the whiskey he had just got us drunk on.
We may have jumped generations and left the unattended in the underbelly of time because of a revolution which has made us come to face our past, and also brought us to confront the future at the same time, but people have yet to change.
I move on from there, this time neither displaced, nor rooted, but going with the flow of my thoughts which confirmed to me that it is going to be a very long time before the constitution of India, framed by some wise and good men 64 years ago, is understood...
...that we still have a major part of the churn to traverse, that which can be bloody and villainous...
... and that then will be the proverbial moment of judgement, the narrow passage we have yet to dare, where the uneducated will teach the educated.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

BOMB BOLE!

When the news on television goes to repeat mode at midnight and suggests that there will be nothing new to tell until such time when various Ministers will arrive in Mumbai tomorrow morning to visit different hospitals and to make assurances to its people on all available platforms...
When everyone who delivers information goes to sleep along with the administrators and leaders who have flights to catch at the break of dawn so that they reach in time to be the first to give and get the bite...
When the injured are left to deal with their pain in institutions that don't match up to the standards that the tax payer who parts with his hard earned income deserves...
And when the dead are left to lie still, next to their wailing loved ones...
I can't help but remember 26/11... 2008.

I can't help but recall the 72 hours of seige which was laid upon us by a terror which had the freedom to attack us and leave us hurt and shattered because of our powerlessness against all those whom we chose, whom we voted and whom we crowned...
All those who frittered away their time in making money and playing politics while the blood of Mumbai flowed on the unkempt streets of the wet city...

I get reminded of that insane need to do something about it which drove us on a road trip to New Delhi from Mumbai over four days with stops in Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Jaipur to garner support and to eventually meet the Prime Minister and present to him an ultimatum that if reforms and various policies to secure the state were not brought in force within a targeted timeline, a civil society uprising would be inevitable and unavoidable.

While we were on the way to New Delhi, a terrified Government of India which felt attacked by its people had proffered their young ones to the podiums and made them deliver impassioned speeches in parliament about how as the new breed, they were not going to stand for systemic delays.
Rahul Gandhi, Milind Deora, Omar Abdullah and all, collectively and individually urged young India and a wasted generation above them, to diffuse their anger and nurse their hurt because now that the worst was over, it was reform, reform and more reform.
We experienced India change on the ground as we travelled from city to city through villages.
Or so we thought.

When we reached New Delhi and when we were followed by the entire Indian News Media to Jantar Mantar where we sat on a Dharna and insisted that we were not going to budge until we had got an appointment with the Prime Minister and presented to him our grievances, a delegation from the PMO arrived and assured us a meeting and took four of us away to meet him deliberately tearing us away from the telecast of our demands across all media which was live by the hour.
Meanwhile another couple of plainclothes men from the PMO spread themselves out amidst the media and diverted its attention towards some inane announcements which dispersed it, while the chosen four were taken on a joyride in a Gypsy across Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate and given assurances that the PM was waiting to meet them and would be free in a few minutes.
The four of us were Nutan Bajaj, Aroona Bhat, Alyque Padamsee and myself.

Once the hype had died down, we were brought back to Jantar Mantar and told that the PM was in Srinagar and could not meet us.
By then it was cold and eerie on a dark winter evening in the first week of December and tomorrow was another day.
We returned to Mumbai via Pushkar and felt cheated but helpless.
In many citizens forums thereafter, many politicians appeared to reassure junta that the Government of India meant business henceforth and there was no reason to worry, as the elected leaders were commited to perform.

Thereafter I, as well as every other Mumbaikar, experienced horrendous traffic snarls every other day, at the end of which pot bellied cops yawned and chatted past the naka bandi's they conducted at every nook and cranny of the city.
I never really believed that the potties were capable of catching the culprits who held the city at ransom and on the edge of endless high alerts, but blinded myself like every other citizen of the city, into feeling reassured that they were doing their job.
I must admit that I was yet to know, when I like the rest of Mumbai also fell for the impressive camouflaged jeeps that patroled what I call the mean streets, and what they call sensitive areas, that what terrorized me was not exactly what would scare the terrorists.

Then came this evening today, and I found myself falling into a routine.
I followed reflex action and called my immediate near and dear ones at first to find out if they were all safe, and then began informing our relatives in the rest of the world, that we were fine.
It seemed customary and a like a job one was used to doing.

I did think that there is a marked improvement in the way the media as well as Government officials were handling the situation without spreading panic and alarm, but was shocked at myself for falling prey to such a feeling because truth hit me when I realized that even they were fatigued and exhausted and too used to doing the same thing over and over again

Finally, as we watched the news, neither moved, nor shocked but rather immune to the images that seemed as unaffected as me, despite blood splattered unavoidably on the lenses of the camera's that captured them, texts sprang messages to friends across the board to find out if everyone had escaped the wrath of human terror.
This was not Gods way of teaching this world a lesson anymore, this was neither an earthquake that led to a tsunami, nor a cloudburst that trapped Mumbai in a sea of water, but this was what has now become the accepted way of the politics of our times.

Today was just another rainy day when terror had struck and we were fortunate for not having been at the chosen places where explosions had taken place, which as a matter of fact were also predictable, therefore none of us, nor those who mattered to us, were injured or dead.
We never were...

Ministers and officials came on screen and spoke rehearsed lines and public anger captured by media seemed contrived. 
Most people on the streets knew what to say as they had seen others do the same at many instances since 1993.
When my friend Ashoo from Chandigarh called to ask me what was going on, I told her that I also only knew as much as she did, because we were both watching what was happening in Mumbai, on the same news channels and following relatively the same feed on facebook, twitter and now Google + as well.
I heard myself tell her that we were all trapped in a box and that was how life was going to be for a long time to come.

So here I am, as numbers stand still at 21 dead, 113 injured, well past midnight, unable to sleep but neither angry nor agitated.
Unaffected, I write this piece, because I already know what everyone who appears on live debate and print is going to say right till the end of this week... 
Everyone from police to government officials, from politicians to media men, from ministers in power to those in opposition.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

THE UNDERBELLY

I often go a length before I get to the point of realization that it is not the journey I want to be on. I maybe a tripper of sorts so its possibly why I am able to flow with things and experience them until I make up my mind about whether I want to go the whole hog or whether I want to get back to base and try another route.
The process is more important to me and I count myself lucky for having the choice.
In this industry of ideas which means the world to us, who knows what is right and what is wrong? Who knows what works and what doesn't? All we know is that the one which squeezes its way into existence might be appreciated or else will be trashed. And, everybody who has one, believes it is 'the' one. At the end it is that faith which has a hope of making it.
But there is yet more to it than what meets the eye!
A writer came to me with a script today and his own story to me was more interesting than the one he had written. I might have offended him by spending far more time listening to him about his own search for recognition than listening to the reams of material on his laptop he tried to engage me with.
This young boy was signed up to write a screenplay based on a story he had written for a film, and was payed ten thousand bucks by a producer.
A few days later the producer called him and asked him to narrate the story to a Kanada Actress who was apparently in town for a week.
When the writer told the Actress the story, she loved it and the producer, now over excited, told her that he wanted to sign her right there and then and pay her an amount of one lakh rupees.
Then Mr. Producer realized that he had left his cheque book at his office and asked the writer if he was carrying his, which unfortunately, the boy was.
The producer asked the writer to sign a cheque in the girls name and give it to her and promised him that he would transffer the funds into his account the very next day, taking note of the writers bank account number there and then.
In the evening, the producer texted the writer and told him that he has transffered the funds and the writer, the poor young boy, was happy, now that the film he was writing, his first, had a lead actor as well, and she was nice.
A few days later, roughly two, the writer got a call from the bank to inform him that the cheque he had issued of one lakh rupees had shown up for clearing but the funds in his account were not sufficient. The writer in panic, called the producer but the producer's phone was not available.
Then he sent the producer a text message which kept waiting in his outbox and eventually he had to request the bank to return the cheque as he had no other choice.
Thereafter, he kept calling the producer but the producers' phone remained switched off and that was it.
The cheque got represented once again and was finally bounced. The writer was now worried as the producer had dissapeared.
The writer realized that the producer did not live in the house that he had shown him as his, nor could be traced at the coffee shops in Lokhandwala Complex which he would be usually hanging out at practically every evening.
Then came the Kanada actress one day.
She first called the writer and asked him why he had swiped her money, and then she turned up at his doorstep with her parents, abusing him for having taken away the funds that the producer had deposited for her in the writers bank account.
Eventually both the writer and the actress discovered that they had been conned.
The writer had been hired for a paltry sum to convince the actress that the producer was actually making a film and the actress had then been exploited by the producer and his friends for a couple of days before they had all dissapeared into thin air.
Now the actress threatens to sue the writer under Section 138 and the writer hangs around at the coffee shop where he had first met the producer, hoping to catch him one day and beat him up.

What a story?
And one without a closure, no end.

Then I heard about an admissions racket that spreads far and wide into the system which otherwise has no way of providing most of its' citizens a livelihood with dignity.
I chanced upon an actress who is auditioning for roles in films and television and who has come from Madhya Pradesh along with her mother to become a star.
Her father is no more and her elder sister who was married, passed away a couple of years ago, which the actress told me, was most certainly a dowry death.
However, the actresses sisters' 6 year old son lives with the actress and her mother in Mumbai as well.
I asked the actress how she manages her life while she is waiting for roles to come her way, because I thought, if they had enough money, then her sister would not have been done away for dowry. (I often wonder why I get into peoples lives like this, but I guess, that is where I find my stories and that is how I understand how difficult life is for average Indians if they are not to succumb to illegal practices).
The actress told me that she helps students get admissions in various medical and engineering colleges for which she get paid pretty well. She achieves a few admissions every year, and that keeps them going, other than which they also keep paying guests in the appartment which they have taken on rent in Mumbai.
Then she told me that if I know of any students wanting admissions then I should pass them on to her and she will share her monies with me.
I asked her who it is that she does this work for and she said that she doesn't know.
She fills forms for the aspirants and passes then on to a friend, who passes them further to another friend and so on... but admissions get done and none of them really know who gets them done and how it is that they get them done.
But, she clarified with me, admissions are guaranteed and money promised to them gets delivered in cash.
So much for entrance exams, leaking papers and all.

This is the city of dreams, tinsel town and the valley of the dolls and this is where people, writers, directors, artistes and all come to with a hope that one day they will make it and legitimize their existence by not being exploited and not having to survive off a piece of a bribe. Those who find a way and squeeze their way in, gaining recognition, singers, lyricists, writers, actors, poets and others, through television reality shows and struggles of other kinds, join the stars, but those who get left behind continue to be exploited until they become the exploiters themselves. Nobody ever goes back to where they came from.

But what the heck!
It gives people a livelihood, even if the writer only got a measly ten thousand bucks for a love story which has become a horror because a Kanada actress will chase him for the rest of his life, and the young girl from Madhya Pradesh gets paid for getting students admission in universities, until such time that she gets a role of a lifetime which will take her to what she believes, is the place she deserves.
Idea's! Idea's! Who knows which one will make it?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

SIMON SAYS...

My last blog post was published in March, 2011. It's been a long long time since I've written here and thats left me wondering why I kept away so long, and what must it be that has brought me back here today.

Emptiness?

Perhaps thats true. By that I don't mean boredom or a state of mind of a person who has nothing else to do, because I am a procrastinator by nature and at all given times I live with the stress of having to do too many things which I have pushed aside with the gentle stroke of one excuse or another.
While I do take credit for all the good things that happen to me, I also blame my own self for all those things that could've happened but didn't. That, as a matter of fact, is the emptiness I'm talking about. The hollowness one experiences within oneself when one ponders over why it is that one is not doing what one needs to do and why is it that one is delaying things from happening for no particular reason at all.

I tried to beat procrastination for the last three months and made a deliberate attempt to get up and do what was needed to be done in my work as well as personal life, without falling prey to the 'delay mechanism' in my brain that always overules the 'neccessity to act factor' in my mind, and have realized, approximately 12 weeks later, that never on a single day did I get even a moment to turn to my blog and publish a post here. That is how much work that there actually is to do in my averagely dispositioned life.

But today, I have succumbed to the need to procrastinate, push all important things to be done away from me, by telling myself that I will address them after the weekend is over. I have taken the liberty to make everything wait because I need to visit this place and I need to put a few thoughts down.

The politics of the world doesn't affect me anymore. I'm finally numb to what goes on and I think the youth in me which used to make me react to everything that was wrong around me, has chosen to slip into a middle age which enables wisdom to convince a restless soul that there is nothing it can do. From a proponent of the doctrine that we can collectively change the world if we are to rise to the cause, I hear myself telling every shaken heart that there is nothing it can do except find peace within itself.

This, when I said to my friend Renuka who spent two days with me earlier this week because she wanted to get away from the sorrow of having lost her beloved husband Simon to cancer after having lived with him for 13 years in bliss, I realized, resonated within me as well.

The loss of Simon Gilbert is a sadness for all who knew him. He was the bright of all darkness throughout his life, a burst of illumination which gave light to each and everyone who happened to connect with him. To me, he was that honest truth, I hated to face because Simon spoke from his heart and was never afraid of telling you the truth or afraid to make you confront the fact that you were running away from it.

A documentary film maker for BBC, and an artiste par excellence, Simon met Renuka in New Delhi while shooting a film many years ago and fell in love with her instantly. Both Simon and Renuka, Ren as he called her with affection, were in post divorce blues when they met each other and decided to go to Goa for a holiday which they never came back from. From the guest house they lived in for 4 months, they hired an appartment and stayed in the idyllic beauty of Goa for the next thirteen years of their togetherness.
I met them in 2002 while on holiday, through some friends.
We took to each other immediately and kept in touch regularly since then.

When I told him the story of my first film White Noise, Simon loved it, and told me that he would like to edit the film. I told him that when I am ready with the screenplay I will share it with him and take it from there. When I sent him the screenplay to read, Simon called me up to tell me that it was no longer the story which I had narrated to him a couple of years ago. I was upset and adamant but he was even more than me, because he told me flat to my face that I had got carried away with my partners and destroyed the tapestry on which the original piece had been laid and also that he was no longer interested in editing the film unless I was ready to go back to the drawing board and re write the screenplay.
I told him that commercial compulsions did not permit me to do that and he told me to then drop the project because it didn't make sense to go ahead with something which was neither what I had started of to make nor what I believed in, either.
Finally, he didn't edit my film.
I went ahead and made it the way it was and the rest is history.
Simon's voice came back to haunt me when during the distribution phase a well known buyer in Cannes asked me why I had made White Noise, and I found myself searching for an answer which I didn't have.
Later, after the film was released, Simon and Renuka saw it in Goa and called me.
Ren loved it, and Simon said, ''Well done, Bebu, (a name by which the closest to me call me) although I wish you had listened to me and not been in such a hurry to make this film".
I smiled to myself and told him that I wished I could've done that too.

Then, a year later, I called Simon and Renuka, and told them that I would be reaching Goa in a few hours and was going to get married to my friend Anil Bahuguna there.
I told them that I wanted them to be there for the wedding as there was going to be no one else present, besides another good friend of ours ofcourse.
When Simon met Anil, the day before we were to be married, he took me aside and told me that I was making a mistake and what I was doing was especially not fair to the guy I was getting married to.
Renuka was angry with Simon for doing that but Simon told her, ''Bebu is running away from something and neither does she know what she is running away from, nor has she any clue where she's going. She can't take another person along with her into her own abyss of darkness".

Another year later, when Anil and I separated, Renuka and Simon called up to ask me how I was doing, and Simon said, "Bebu, take care. Come to us and stay for a few weeks and let it off because what is going on in your head needs to be sorted out". I said to Simon that I was fine, to which he retorted, ''But you always say that Bebu", and then he left it at that.

When Anil was no more an year later, Renuka and Simon called again and Renuka told me that they are with me and that I should go to Goa and spend some time with them.
I asked her to pass the phone to Simon and Simon asked her to tell me that he had nothing to say.

Now while Renuka and me sat and killed a bottle of Vodka between us on the first evening that she spent with me, we only talked about Simon.
Renuka is alone without Simon but somewhere I could see that Simon's spirit lives on within her. I could feel his presence and I could communicate with him through her. Such are lives which touch me and the lives which live away from the chaos and quagmires of this world, which inspire me to believe that while there is nothing we can do to control this world going mostly wrong, we can find peace within ourselves, that if we choose to live with those or memories of those who show us the way.
Whether you listened to them or not is irrelevant because it is the memory of those who chose never to mislead you which makes you believe that every moment of this life is worth living for.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What defines the nation now?!...

"A nine billion dollar man. India's fourth richest, ideally should be booked under a terror act, swindler, money launderer, known to be cover for some powerful men and who owes the exchequer about 50000 crore rupees, amuses the bench in court where he demands an English style pot to dump in because he is not used to an Indian one."

"A 32 year old Chartered Accountant and guest lecturer pushes two children over the ledge from the nineteenth floor of her building before she plunges to her own death".

And, "A 20 year old college student shot dead in broad daylight", are the headlines that consume print and electronic space for today, not to mention, the news of entertainment, that buffers the impact and causes an amnesia which, as a matter of fact, is the miraculous escape from reality that keeps India going with a smattering of nonsense about Katrina Kaif ignoring Kareena Kapoor at a function and Vidya Balan being pissed off because a picture has been morphed to reveal her wearing a bikini on the cover of a magazine.

That the DMK and Congress have resolved their issues despite the sword of 2G hanging on their heads is passe, and a dark goggled lump of flesh sitting on a luxury car seat on wheels being pushed by an aide, fearless of law catching up with him, is the one who calls all the shots in Tamil Nadu where elections are taking over to bury the real thing, leaves only one question to be answered and that is, where is the country headed to?!!

Even the rest of the world's media and news for now is focused on Libya and the disaster taking place there because of a civil war which threatens to change contours of land besides the air space, however, not without a tiny obsure piece on Maoists and insurgency in India on BBC, which I chanced upon late last night, which was frightening as it was being shown to the world as the real threat which India faces.
The BBC reporter was on his 34th day of travel in the forests with a battallion of Maoists who move from place to place everyday in the heart of India, ironically, so they are not tracked by law enforcers who are somehow always unable to find them, more often than not losing lives of a few good and innocent men in failed attempts.
Strangely, no Indian journalists or activists have either had the mandate or the courage to go and explore this reality in the same way as foreign reporters do, and those writers and activists who have acted out of concern on their own accord, are booked under cases of sedition or imprisoned for treason.

Is the country being run by men and women on ACID or what?

Are people and diverse cultures no longer what drives governance in our country now, and is it power, money and the achievment of the luxury of being in politics, that defines us today?
From Kirron Kher to Smriti Mishra Irani, from Hema Malini, Javed Akhtar to Shabana Azmi, everybody is headed for a life of power, in the politics of protection.

Take a pause and think!
Every economist, concerned with reform for a more equitable existence in the nation, needs to stop and do that.

If the government of India can be held to ransom by a man who has alledged terror links, who is also known to have connections with Adnan Kashoggi, the famous arms dealer, so much so that, the highest and most powerful office is afraid to book him and is trying every which way to let him go, hold it, then it's true that we are being governed by the Mafia?
Yes it is true!

I don't believe India where fragmentation of power is taking place much faster than the emergence of a federal system is in any position to join the ranks of the developed world on the basis of simply revealing its upper crust and strategically concealing the dregs which lie beneath the surface that yell poverty, hunger, malnutrition, discrimination, corruption, gender inequality, lawlessness, illiteracy, disease and the waste of garbage which is unmanageable by municipal corporations in every existing city, town and village.
Forget about the lack of infrastructure which we have to live with all our lives waiting for it to be built while land sharks and builders make money in every which way that connects them to the network of power.

I shudder to think of what I suspect and that is the fact that we're next on the list after the revolutions which are taking place in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the rest of the Arab world at present, because the region is waiting to explode and a time bomb ticking away is coming close to letting go.

Where a 20 year old can be shot a few meters away from her college campus in front of a hundred eye witnesses and the killer can escape and disappear into a crowd...
Where a woman can take her life along with her two little children because the abyss that defenceless educated and so called empowered common people in this nation are plunged into for no fault of theirs, shows no end or light... 
And where a powerful man can take the country for a ride in broad daylight while the Government shamelessly and blatantly carries on building alliances with a party which is under the judicial and public scanner for gross misuse of power and unforgivable corruption... there is no hope and only the dark. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whose life is it anyway? Aruna's?...

I just arrived at my blog to realize that it was on the 27th December, 2010 that I last came here to write.
It's hit me hard that I haven't written here since then and got me wondering why?
Why has a compulsive writer like me, been so cut up with these blank pages which otherwise await, all the time, to be filled up with my emptiness? 

I can't for the life of me answer the question.

However, what it is that has really brought me back to write here, after three long months, I know and can tell you.

It is Aruna Shanbag and the debate on Euthanasia, which is a subject bothering me since some time, as a matter of fact, since the day I saw a brilliantly shot film called Guzaarish.

Guzaarish, in which Hrithik Roshan plays a magician begging to be allowed to end his life after an accident which paralyzes him, while a more than beautiful Aishwarya Rai nurses and loves him.
I only wish both the actors had visited KEM hospital along with the director, and seen Aruna to know what vegetating looks like, and also met Kalpana, one of the nurses looking after Aruna, to understand where a woman who has looked after a life in semi conscious state for over 31 years, comes from.
Kalpana was on Times Now in the evening, discussing vehemently why Aruna must live, and Aruna's pictures taken at various times in the last 37 years since she was brutally and sexually assaulted, are all over the electronic, digital and print media.
The debate will go on and on, but the frames of the visuals will remain frozen in the minds of all those who have seen them even once.

The Academy of Motion Pictures may, for whatever reason, want to archive the screenplay of Guzaarish forever, but I would really like to know why?
Is Sanjay Leela Bansali's script going to be archived for students and lovers of cinema to know how not to trivialise an issue of importance, or is it being archived for them to learn what they should do to satisfy Indian film stars, who from time to time, between commercial flops, want the world to see that they are also great performers?
The least they could have done was to see John Badham's, 'Whose life is it anyway?' based on Brian Clarks play by the same name.
I wish they had observed the riveting performance by Richard Dreyfuss, who played the artist, the sculptor, involved in a car accident and paralyzed from his neck and  
watched the performance of an actor who suffered his pain so convincingly that he was granted the right to end his life.

Last night while Barkha Dutt, my favorite TV anchor was busy telling a cricket crazy India obsessed with the World Cup and anxiously awaiting the IPL next month, an audience which actually couldn't give a damn about the problems which exist between the borders of Egypt and Tunisia and the civil war which rages between Tripoli and Bengazi, I hooked off to see The Kings Speech.
I returned somewhat satisfied comforted by the fact that there are still people in this world (Tom Hooper) who address problems through their narratives which, ironically, are the real battles that people fight within themselves (Colin Firth as King George VI), and the real wars which they emerge victorious from as they conquer themselves, which is far more important for them than to conquer the throne.
It is the true story of King George VI of Britain and as I left the theater, what struck me was, whose story was Guzaarish anyway?
The saga in which the actors wore costumes designed by Sabhyasachi, and which, unfortunately, was also one of the various USP's of the film, belonged to nobody.
Most certainly not, Aruna.

Moved beyond, as is what usually happens to me after seeing a good/great film, I spent the whole day wrapped in the comfort of knowing that it is a sensibility and sensitivity of some expressionists in this world, that keeps it going despite inane banter about whether Aruna should live or whether Aruna, who doesn't know if she is, should be allowed to die.
Aruna, according to me should be allowed to die only if someone whom she belongs to, takes a decision on her behalf, but the circumstances, as they are, in which there is nobody from her family to take that call, people whom she doesn't belong to, specially those who have been taking impeccable care of her for over 37 years should be applauded and awarded instead of being expected to decide death for her.
They set a rare example in this world driven by a selfishness to care only for those who are your own besides yourself.
Pinky Virani and Bacchi Karkaria and all others should not act on behalf of Aruna whom they don't know from Adams'.
I was horrified to hear Bacchi Karkaria say on Times Now that Aruna has become some sort of trophy for those who look after her.
It made me squirm.
To all those who fight for Aruna to be permitted to die, and who really want to do some good, besides talking endlessly on television debates and tweeting compulsively, there are many others' like Hrithik Roshan in Guzaarish, of sound mind and with the ability to smoke and drink, laugh and cry but are disabled and disfigured beyond healing, who need love and care and those who vote for Euthanasia for Aruna, should reach out to them and look after them.
Aruna has plenty of care and love, and she should, henceforth, be left alone to live out her life till the end and die with dignity when she has to, because I really believe that if she lives on and on, it is with a purpose to keep reminding this country about the attrocities that many women have to suffer at the hands of sexually depraved men, and I am saying this on the eve of the International Women's Day, 2011.

The Government of India on the other hand I should think is happy that the entire debate in the media has shifted to Euthanasia and that the remaining space is taken up by Cricket, leaving little room for discussion on the 2G scam, the DMK threat to the weakening coalition and the CWG scam amidst other pressing issues like the Naxal and Maoist problems and Kashmir.
Thank God for small mercies that the PM has taken resposibility for an error of judgement in the appointment of the CVC and that issue, Inshaalah, has been put to rest.

Who cares about all those who are dying without a cause or the living dead in a nation where everyone obsesses a successfully crafted PR exercise by those who want Aruna to be permitted Euthanasia, but don't know her or have never met her, and a brilliantly marketed game of cricket?

Whose life is it anyway?