Friday, July 23, 2010

City of Contradictions...

The 'city of contradictions'-- Well, this definitely did not strike me in entirety until this morning;

Venue: AER, 33rd floor, Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, Mumbai
Time: 11 am, Friday
Day: Gorgeous, windy with the promise of rain in a few hours... The skies seem perfect with just the right blend of grey, white and blue.

I step out the elevator, turn left and enter the AER. As I walk towards the room, my breath is knocked out of my throat-- literally, and I almost choke on the wad of gum that is perpetually in my mouth. The French (bay) windows span the entire length of the wall-- making them seem non-existent.

I stop short, taking in the magnificent view of the waves thrashing against the shore, the ships at sea, the skyline and the 'Haji Ali'.. It looms in front of me, as serene as the simplest of sketches. I walk ahead, dazed, wanting to stick my nose to the glass and take it all in before the scheduled shoot begins.

And as I walk on towards the window, once again, I stop midtrack.. And this time it is not in awestruck wonder but surprised horror. Right in front of the ocean rises the biggest land bank I have ever seen-- slums and chawls lined one-atop another, innumerable huts packed into the tiniest space of land. It is only when I step into the room, that I see the bigger picture.

Right alongside the new, swanky and sexy sky-scrapers that define Mumbai's elite landscape is the stark reality. The condition of the majority living in this city of dreams. Where, in one dilapitated hut, many families seek shelter, not just against the harsh weather but also against each other.

It reminds me of a cartoon I watched years ago; where a small room is infested with mice-- scurrying up, under and over everything in sight. Right alongside the slum lies a cremation ground from which spires up a wispy trail of smoke. I raise my eyes to the ocean as it dawns on me that the view is no longer picture perfect.

I literally have to peel my eyes off the window and drag my mind back to the moment, as I have a deadline- and and anchor who is scheduled for another shoot in less than 2 hours. As I don my producer's cap and sound the clap for the shoot, I realise that although I have always known the reality that is Mumbai, the clear contradiction has sunk in only within the four walls of the 33rd floor of one of the poshest places in the city!

And then, back to business-- in more ways than one.....

Saturday, June 5, 2010


An unexplored path, a relatively new journey-- the thrill, excitement, nervousness and angst: a heady and potent combination of emotions that leaves the brain quite scrambled at the end of it all!

And once the initial rush recedes, what next.. The question pops out quite randomly and before you know it, the weight balance is out again-- measuring and calculating, ironing out the pros and cons.

There are two choices, and the logical side of me knows that all too well... In paper it comes down to whether you choose to feel like a rag on a clothesline-- high and dry; or a kite whose tail is just clipped off and after all the initial stutter, it finally breaks free.

In life it is not enough just knowing and putting it down on paper. "Practise what you preach"-- we have heard that time and again, at every single crossroads!! Why is a four word phrase so hard to implement... Here, I add that I simply will not buy the theory that it all boils down to the strength of the individual's mind. Because, what the hell is wrong with the momentary bouts of weakness? It is bloody human and teaches us the MOST important lessons in life.

There are times when the options ahead are crystal clear.. and others when all that you see as you look up are cloudy, grey skies-- almost an indication of gloom and darkness ahead. And during those times although the RIGHT thing is to look for that ray of light and hold on to it for inspiration, for hope and for a reason to rejoice: it seems almost impossible.

Is this going to be one of those depressing, hard-hitting emotional posts!! Well, so not...

Because that moment will pass, and there will be music, and light and a whole new meaning to life!! And if you are really lucky, there will be others rooting for you along the sidelines and as you turn, one glimpse and you realise that THEY make all the difference.

To those I love, and those who love me: for once I am just going to shut up; cos words just wont suffice!

Monday, February 22, 2010

This is me..

Something that I have always started out to write, but never quite managed to finish or hit the publish button for.

I sit in the extremely turbulent flight, scared, and glance across at the little girl whose fingers are tightly entwined around those of her mother's! And remember....

Unfortunately, life does move on; and happiness is something I experience every single moment. ...but 'healing', well that is a whole different thing!

There is so much to learn, so much to understand and so many times I want to be in total control. More importantly, there is so much I have lost out on, so much that could have been and so much that I still yearn for. But, LIFE is a Bitch; and some things are just not meant to be!

This is because I can never be complete again; because I love you and miss you.

Found myself today,
Oh, I found myself and ran away.
But something pulled me back
A voice of reason I forgot I had!

All I know is you're not here to say
What you always used to say
But it's written in the skies tonight...

So I won't give up
No I won't break down
Sooner than it seems Life turns around
And I will be strong
Even if it all goes wrong,
When I'm standing in the dark I still believe
Somenone's watching over me!

Seen that ray of light
And it's shining on my destiny
Shining all the time
And I won't be afraid
To follow everywhere it's taking me!

All I know is yesterday is gone
And right now I belong
To this moment, to my dreams.

It doesn't matter what people say
It doesn't matter how long it takes
Believe in yourself and you'll fly high

And it only matters how true you are
Be true to yourself and Follow your heart!

So I won't give up
No I won't break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong
Even if it all goes wrong
When I'm standing in the dark I still believe
Someone's watching over me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hello New Year

It seems like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year, and already January has almost drawn to an end. Have to be in the studio in another 5 minutes, so here goes a random post, just to kick off 2010 on this page:

- CASTE is still very much a part of the Indian society. I have realised that claiming it exists only because we care to bring it up is not something I believe in anymore.

- Business Reporting can be very interesting, if taught in the right manner.

- I can give up alcohol, but my daily dose of Caffeine- NOT HAPPENING!!

- The hospitality in the state of Rajasthan is unbelievable.

- The 12 days in Barmer is something that will continue to haunt, influence and instigate me for a long time to come.

- Being a student is undoubtedly the best phase of life; but I need a change of scenery!

- My sense of independence and head-strong(ness) sometimes tends to hurt people I care about; should keep a check on that.

- ERASE is a short word, difficult to implement, but I will sincerely try.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In life, it is so easy to succumb to pressure. Sometimes the cause of it is oneself; it is situations we are in, relationships, work, society, an 'image' that we want to live up to or the 'past' that we can not seem to escape from.

It is absolutely essential to gain some perspective, to learn to step back and look at the bigger picture. Life does not offer us too many chances, and to make the best use of the ones that we are given is what makes us wise.

Be your best friend; accept your flaws- learn and yearn to better them. Fight against the tide, do not surrender to the flow of the river, work your way upstream. It is not anyone else who steers the ship; it is YOU!

Life- it is a GIFT! You owe it to yourself to be the best you can, realise it. Please.

Believe in yourself
To the depth of your being

Nourish the talents
Your spirit is freeing

Know in your heart
When the going gets slow

That your faith in yourself
Will continue to grow

Don't forfeit ambition
When others may doubt

It is your life to live
You must live it throughout

Learn from your errors
Don't dwell in the past

Never withdraw
From a world that is vast

Believe in yourself
Find the best that is you

Let your spirit prevail
Steer a course that is true!

-Bruce B Wilmer

Friday, December 11, 2009

It is all in the MIND hun!

"I think; therefore I am"
- Rene Descartes

"The idle mind is the devil's workshop"
- Latin Proverb

"Bandhar kya jaane, adhrak ka swaad!" (only one who truly understands something, can appreciate it)
- Hindi Proverb

This week has given me a lot of time for 'introspection'; not in terms of the person I was or what I have become. [I have changed, and am not going to deny or justify that. It is just something that is] What I spent time thinking about was how one's "mind" can be the most powerful influence. The most amazing companion, your best friend and at the very same time, your worst enemy.

The above sayings emphasize this stark but definite truth. Let me illustrate with an example I am pretty sure most of you can relate to -- in many arguments with your loved ones, you sometimes let go; just so that it does not balloon to disproportionate limits. You do not necessarily feel sorry, you often think it is the other's fault and still you find yourself apologising and making excuses. At times it is the other way around. Simply because fighting leaves either side hurt or upset and mostly because the issue is just not worth it. A typical moment when the dual nature of one's mind shines through brilliantly! That so-called 'inner voice' which knows you do not quite agree with what you are doing or saying, but convinces you for the moment, it is the best option.

Personally, it is my mind that has always proven to be my biggest weakness and my biggest strength. Numerous times it has been my inspiration. When I'm down and out, it forces me to pick up the pieces and march on. The tests that it throws time and again, has taught me that to fear 'falling' is foolish. It is better to train oneself to get back up and carry on. This is much easier said than done; honestly, there have been times when I have said 'enough; the drama just ain't worth it anymore.' And then, just like a best friend should, my mind pops up and gets my feet back on the ground. :)

There is no SINGLE person in this world-- be it parents, siblings, friends or lovers that you agree with and want around you all the time. You need the office hours, the social get-aways, the parties etc. to interact and form other meaningful relationships in life. Times when no matter what your bond with the other person is, you need a break! In the exact same way, there are times when I want to rip my mind right off my head and incinerate it. These are generally moments when I am depressed and all it does is fire out old memories, instances of utter joy, bliss or sorrow, embarrassing incidents [got quite a bit of those ;P] and uncomfortable memories; manipulating your attention to it inevitably! Oh yes, beware, the mind is a super sharp and powerful tool. Something even the toughest thug simply cannot master.

It makes us who we are, trains us to live with ourselves! In short it is:

-M: Magnificent / Moronic

- I: Invigorating / Irritating

- N: Necessity / Nuisance

- D: Dominating / Disturbing

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The true Master!

Back after a longggg break...
The number of times I have just wanted to ramble out on a particular topic; only to divert my attention to something else and let it slip by unwritten- innumerable! and that irritates me.

Writing this between a session of editing and production! Love the frantic pace and non-stop nonsense that goes on in television production and hope it never dies.

Yesterday, was out shooting at Kannagi Nagar, a slum relocation unit off Thuraipakkam in Chennai.
The story turned out rather messy because of numerous contradictory angles; so we filmed a couple of vox-pops, conducted interviews for an UPSOT and headed back.

At home, I could not help but reflect at the experience. The settlement was not terrible, but the woes of the residents there- innumerable. I realised that after the first couple of minutes of their cribbing, I had become mildly immune to their accounts of grief.
A tiny part of me also argued that these slum-dwellers had actually been given land with cement roofs overhead, a decent alternative to their earlier accommodation. Therefore, the least they could do was try to make the best of the situation and not just wallow in self pity.

Finished the shoot, dumped the footage and left college. On the way back home, thinking about what had happened, I was left wondering whether a sense of 'detachment' had set in when it came to certain matters on the professional front.
Having visited many such slums, poverty ridden and un-inhabitable areas, had I become mildly de-sensitized to the plight of it's residents? Did their discomfort and sorrow not distress me to the same extent as it had earlier, I pondered.

Drawing an analogy, does a doctor not feel as upset and morose on losing his 35th patient on the operating table as he did when he lost his first; or does frequent occurence act as anesthetic, numbing the human mind.

Does the individual adopt the profession or is it the other way around; I wonder!