Friday, August 31, 2012

Poll khul gyi or really?

I have done a poll after a really long time. Not because I didn't have any bright ideas, but because the poll option in Blogger wasn't working. And so, I broke up with it and hooked up with PollDaddy. And I really liked it because it has way more options than the Blogger one. Anyway, I digress.

So this time, the poll question was "Why do you think people get married?" And no prizes for guessing, I really found asking myself this question after writing this post. I mean, why take so much pains for manaoing your parents to agree to a love marriage or go adjusting and living with total strangers in an arranged? When all you could do with your time and money is sleep, watch movies, read, and shop and have fun! Why this pressure to get hitched and settle down? And yes, it really is settling down because you are down and out with all your energy zapped because of the zillion responsibilities that come with being married. I think that the debate should ideally be “Marriage v/s Single/Live-in". But whatever. And so I decided to ask this question to you guys. And as always, was I surprised.

The results look something like this:


And at least I had thought our generation didn't fell prey to this "don’t know and doing it because everybody else is" and got married for some reason, even though that reason may be dowry, sex, love, or societal acceptance. Our society isn't really keen on live-in relationships even though half the world I know is doing it. Live-ins are quite the 'settling up' thing as you get to stay together with your partner with the all perks of marriage without having to take care of the baggage of relatives, attending parties/functions of both the sides or trying to impress the in-laws. It’s like living the best of both worlds. But I think our society is really sadist in a way that people got married to get what they wanted and they make sure that nobody else gets it easy! It’s like, making you realize the importance of your action by having to pay for it! How mean!





But having said that, that's a long road ahead and nobody knows in today's world who's going to remain married for how long. People change partners as quick as jobs and clothes and there's nothing that can keep them together if they don't want to, not even a marriage certificate. And that again brings me to the question, why do we get married? With all that fanfare? The phenomenon that has given rise to the dowry system. And dowry deaths. I mean, if you really need to change partner, why invest so much money on dikhaawa and marriage and dowry. Live with whoever you want. Live as long as you want to and then move away, without ugly divorces. But I guess the social bondage that comes with a marriage gives people the much needed blanket of security.

Interestingly, an equal number of people voted for Love and sex. WOW! Love equals sex? hmm...believe our generation to be practical and blatant. And how! But at least we are honest about it. But guys, seriously, a free advice here. If all you want is the four letter word, take my word. Marriage is the last thing you want. ;-)


There are hardly any takers for the other options. Our fast-food generation doesn't seem to believe in the institution of marriage, and neither do they see it as an emotional retirement plan. At least I thought that if you could somehow resist the temptations of marriage, you could do well for yourself only up to a certain point. But at a certain age, you need to have someone who would love you enough to find beauty in your wrinkles or poetry in the way you wobble without your walking stick. 


And now the most interesting part of the poll. People had a chance to write in their views too if they didn’t agree with my options. The top 5 happen to be:

1) To bring more complexity in their lives :-P
Haha…completely agree. Bang on!

2) Because their parents won’t let it be any other way!
Hmm….quite true...isn't it?

3) To alive the ancestory (family) given name
Really??? To have kids? Please go watch Vicky Donor my boy! :-P

4) Social pressure on a girl
Or even a guy for that matter. *Sad but true!

5) To live with the person you love for the rest of your lives
True my friend. But the irony of life but Love is the most expensive thing you can ever afford in your life - in terms of money, energy, relationships and emotions involved. Choose wisely :-)

I don’t know about the guys, but the real reason I think girls get married is for a wedding dress. Don’t we girls just love to shop till we drop? And what better way to do it other than marriage? And get drowned in the endless world of buying sarees, suits, bangles, necklaces, bindis, purses, and what not! And the effing wedding dress. I mean, pray tell me, why otherwise would any sane person wish to end her own life with responsibilities of managing a household, of being the perfect wife, DIL, and various other relations that come with the package? I think we are a narcissist lot who enjoy all the attention that comes with being a bride. I think the marriage industry is also to be blamed for it to a great extent. They have kind of romanticized the whole thing so much that girls all over the world have unrealistic expectations from it. Marriage in a real world means something else altogether. And just for the clarification, I am not cynical about the whole marriage thing. I am just trying to paint a realistic picture here. I think most people get married for the whole romance thing. It feels so good to be doted on at by all and sundry, laden down with gifts, parties thrown in your honour everywhere. Its like, you become the centre of universe for a couple of days. But that’s that! Some days later, it is someone else’s chance and you look around the money wasted on decoration, jewellery, clothes and food and have no option but to sigh!

 

I say everybody should get married at least once! Nobody is a success at it but then, you can always become a philosopher... ;-)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Arranging your love - better than loving the arrangement ?

Marriage. They say it’s not a word, it’s a sentence. A sentence that means a million different things to a million people across the world. And yet, it is considered the most sacred of all institutions that exist in this world. Across generations, thought processes have changed, new cultures have emerged, humongous technological advancements have happened and yet, Marriage is a kind of mystery that is still incurable, still indecipherable.

The decision to get married brings with itself a host of responsibilities. And add to that, with a paradigm cultural shift, we have another very important question that has apparently gained more importance than the original "To marry or not to marry" confusion and that is, "Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage". And this is one topic of debate that was prevalent even when I was in school and I think it's going to be relevant even when my kids decide to get married. I only hope we (my kids and I) agree one of those !

Now, there are a lot of pros and cons associated with each kind of marriage, and in a nutshell if you ask me, I would just say, "To each his own". But seriously, if I were to elaborate to sort out my own thoughts on the topic, I would address them as below.

1) Basics

Arranged Marriage (AM) is a pretty consistent procedure. You turn a marriage-able age. Your parents decide to find a suitable match for you. When they find it, you get married. Contrast this with a "Love marriage". Random boy meets random girl. They hook up and start dating. And sometime later, they decide to get married. Do they end up getting married? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Random people, random answers. But what really bothers me is the characterization of this entire mess as "Love Marriage". What I mean is that in this case, you will find stories, each one eligible enough to give our quintessential Bollywood romances a run for their money. And sometimes, heavily inspired from them - couples having a huge age difference between them, couples from contrasting financial backgrounds (one super rich , and one poor), from different castes, different religions and sometimes a mixture of more than one reason and you know you have a spicy Love Marriage chaat at hand compared to the boring and predictable Arranged Marriage samosa.


A contrast in the kind of freedom people feel in AM v/s LM !!
People say the divorce rates are way higher in Love Marriages. Aren't they bound to be? I mean, if you look at the kind of risks involved in an unstable chemical equation that a Love Marriage (LM) is, what with age gaps, financial constraints, caste and religion differences, break down is a truth, rather than a possibility. Whereas in an AM, all the possible risks are covered up at the first step. But this does not mean that LMs are bad and AMs good or vice versa. And as far as risk proofing is concerned, AMs aren’t all that fool proof. What with the girls of our generation being financially independent and not taking crap from anyone, divorce rates are pretty steep in this section too.

2) Head v/s Heart

Indulging in extreme behaviors. AM - all thought, no heart. LM - all heart, no thought. Why? 
It’s not necessary that everyone will/shall fall in love. So, if you are looking for a soul mate, instead of just check marking the usual parameters like caste, religion , height, weight, salary, try to find out more about his/her personality. And here, I believe that if the parents allow kids to meet a prospective groom/bride of their choice, they should also provide the kids an ample amount of time to take their decision. At least in India, it doesn't happen like that. Nobody can judge a character in a couple of dates. I think this is one area where LM score over AM - Understanding your partner. In LM, since the partners have known each other for quite some time, understanding comes a bit easier.

The kind of proposal you might get in an AM!! :-P
While in a LM, the couple is kind of cocooned in their world where they have eyes only for each other, oblivious of parents or relatives and they might be misled to believe that Love conquers all. Sadly not for everyone. But while you are being all rosy eyed and believing that this world is nothing but a lovers' playground for you, it is important to understand the fact that once a relationship becomes formal, it comes under the scanner of society, parents, friends and two sets of relatives. And that is the time when the actual pareeksha begins. And so even though you may have fallen in love with all your heart and your best intentions, it is very important to give it a thought with your pretty head too. And kind of question yourself if you will be able to take a downfall in the relationship (which is inevitable) with different kinds of expectations. We live in a society and can't really live exclusively. 

These Relationship Basics are good to know in both cases.

3) Just Married 

This is the most blissful phase in both types of marriages. Starting a new life with your partner, where only you two are the cynosure of all eyes, gifts, parties, romance and honeymoon make one dreamy eyed and push them far from reality. But once all the excitement dies down, it’s a reality show. Couples in AM have a lot of catching up to do in terms of knowing each other likes and dislikes apart from getting acquainted to the whole new world of being married and all. On the other hand, LM couples finally heave a sigh of relief at having successfully made to the altar, but kind of realize that marriage and courtship are not really the same things. And so, a couple of months after marriage, everyone goes through different kind of struggles. And I think here parents and society play a very crucial role. 


I have seen instances here where parents and society adopt a dual nature. If it was an AM, they would advise their son/daughter to talk it out and reach a compromise, and sometimes even intervene in a positive way to make things better. But God forbid if it was a LM, they start blaming the son/daughter and "they always knew this was going to happen because he/she didn't know bad from good". Do you think that serves any purpose apart from putting additional pressure on the couple? The point here is that any kind of marriage requires some time to settle down with a partner and people and parents should understand and respect that.

4) A couple of years later....

All people change for good and bad with time. Sometimes people and their love for each other outgrows. This can happen in both kinds of marriages. Although chances are high of it happening in a LM because AM somehow takes care of a lot of aspects of your future beforehand. And also because couples in a LM have very high expectations from each other and when they don't get fulfilled, they begin to question the love. But that doesn't mean failures don’t happen in AM. May be just a little less than LM. 


Of the above analysis, I understand that AM are (statistically) more secure than a LM. And yet, why do people marry the one they love? In spite of knowing all the difficulties they might have to face and having heard the above from friends and family umpteen number of times, why do they still go ahead with it? I think that madness is called Love. People who have never experienced that kind of madness might never want to believe it and even rubbish it away as a mere hormonal rush. But only the people who have been in love know how magical it is. Its maddening enough to make people forget who they are, change them in ways they would never have imagined, and do things they may have never thought themselves capable of. And it is for this magical madness that people are ready to risk it all. And after all, if it doesn’t work out, they still have the satisfaction of knowing that they are solely responsible for their actions. For nothing do they say, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all”. And for what it’s worth, you can’t really blame your parents for a failed AM, because they had your best interests at heart! 


But the most important thing to remember is that any relationship (be it love or arranged) requires a lot of work for maintenance. Just in different ways. Love just doesn't automatically stay in a LM nor is it automatically created in an AM. It has to be built, taken care of and nursed to enjoy its beauty always. And on a “bidding adieu” note, I would like to say again, “To each his own”. If you find true love, hold it tight. If you don’t, have faith. Your love story might just begin after you say “I do” :-)
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This post is my entry for the Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage on Indiblogger.
You can vote for me here.






*All images courtesy Google

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur -2 -- Keh k le li !!

Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched the movie and are planning to, please give this one a miss!

And so I went to watch Gangs of Wasseypur-2 with a spring in my step and a flutter in my heart as I just couldn't contain myself anymore. At the risk of sounding kinky, let me say that GOW-1 had left me high and dry, and GOW-2 was a fitting satisfaction personified climax ;-) It started from the same place where GOW- 1 had ended, when Sardar Singh was shot dead. And thus unfolds the saga of revenge battered with blood and violence laced with satire and comedy that is subtle and underplayed. It keeps you entertained even as you keep reaching for cover to shield yourself from the bloodbath on screen.

The movie starts as Sardar Khan's (played by Manoj Bajpai) sons' want to avenge his death by wiping off his killers and in return Sultan kills off Sardar Khan's elder son Danish. Even as the Khan family tries to cope with the loss of the father and the elder son, Anurag Kashyap and Zeishan Quadri make sure they keep you entertained with the band baaja belting out "sorrow"ful songs as passionately as the shaadi waale gaane. Richa Chadda holds her character well in the second part too. The transition of her character is shown so beautifully with a fuller face, under eye circles and orange hair, a trademark of using henna on hair in small towns. And she shows that she is no simpleton widow who will take the death of her son and husband lying down. And here in enters the hero of the film. And only an Anurag Kashyap can think of making a Hero out of a dark, stick-thin man, shirt and lungi clad, paired with rubber chappals. Boy! He has certainly put Bihar on the world map!

Nagma Khatun aka Richa instigates her younger son Nawazuddin Siddiqui to come out of his stupor (as he is a ganja addict) and avenge the father-brother deaths. Like Manoj Bajpai, Faijal (Faisal as pronounced in Bihari) has his own style and he compels you to belt out at least one seeti for his underplayed yet daring demeanor. One by one he starts killing unsuspecting people and quickly rises to be the undisputed king of Wasseypur. Tigmanshu Dhulia aka Ramadhir Singh gives yet another steely performance, adding years to his age very gracefully. He still plays the antagonistic politician with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor, as he cynically says, "Jab tak India mein cinema rahega, tab tak log chu**** bante rahenge"!


And then enter three new characters - Definite, Tangent and Perpendicular. Perpendicular is Sardar Khan's youngest son and is a treat to watch with his blade-in-the-mouth stunts and the best comes when he says, "talo, tauth krte hain" (chalo, toss krte hain) !! Tangent is Perpendicular's friend and together they do small looting here and there in Wasseypur, but their friendship is cut short when Sultan and his accomplices kill Perpendicular. Definite (played by Zeishan Quadri) is Durga's (second wife of Manoj Bajpai, played by Reemma Sen) son, who now works in Ramadhir Singh's house as a help. He is the surprise package of the film as he keeps double, triple crossing people and groups and goes on a killing spree in Wasseypur. And it is with his help, that Faisal is finally able to get his hands dirty with Ramadhir Singh's blood.

The scene where Faisal and Ramadhir Singh finally find each other face to face is iconic. Ramadhir Singh with a pistol facing the daredevil Faisal with his automatic machine gun. The scene is superbly sketched out as Ramadhir Singh is in a dilemma to either fight and go down or to just give in. In the end he just sits down to face his destiny as Faisal empties out his entire gun into Ramadhir Singh's lifeless body and just then, you hear a triumphant, "Teri keh k lunga" in the background!!! And then as Faisal walks off, he leaves behind his foot prints in Ramadhir Singh's blood. I was totally sold out on this one scene in the movie.


Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the killing sequence
Huma Quereshi plays Faisal's wife and she is by far the prettiest new comer this year. She holds on her own very well and shares quite a crackling chemistry with her on-screen husband ;-). There were several wow moments in the movie. One where Richa Chadda is singing, "Taar bijli se patle hamare piya" and towards the end breaks down remembering her own husband is a classic. Then there are a couple of those where Mohsina Khan (Huma Quereshi) sings some Bihari English remixes to entertain Faisal while he is in jail. The lyrics of the song go like, "Frustiyaao nahi, Nervousaao nahi...." and stay with you even after the movie is over. And then the one where Faisal is escaping from an attack on his house and jumps from a building and breaks his leg. It’s another classic scene as he gives out just the correct nuances of a man, in unbearable pain, belting out expletives that you can't hear and still can understand, crying out in pain and still be silent :) 
The beautiful Huma Quershi
Nawazzudin Siddiqui shows that he can act and if it were in my capacity, I'd give the National Award to him along with Anurag Kashyap for directing a movie that can be placed at a pedestal that can match the likes of Godfather! The movie is a masterpiece and perfection personified be it the screenplay, story, characterization, background score and songs.

Sneha Khanwalkar deserves a standing applause for the music and background score as she does full justice to the mood of the movie and sets the perfect tone to carry it forward. While "Hunter" and "Teri keh k lunga" took the cake in GOW-1, GOW-2 shines with "Electric Piya", "Dil chi cha lather" and "Kaala rey".

I can go on and on praising the movie and its makers, but I guess you guys get the drift. So let me just leave you here to enjoy these songs.
My rating : 5 on 5

"Dil Chi Cha Lader"

"Kaala Rey"
"Electric piya"

*All the images courtesy Google

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Death - Essence of Life?

A few days back, I (for the nth time) got one of those emails which preach you to say your I love You's when you have still got time. Because sometimes, we get caught up in the frenzy of life and forget to tell our loved ones how much we love them. Ok. Point taken. But recently there have been a lot of similar mails preaching that we shouldn't be rude to people because that might just be our last meeting. And then we would burn in the hell of guilt because we had been rude to them. Even though we didn't do anything bad enough to make them die...isn't it? And that got me thinking, "Was Death the only reason that made us enjoy the vagaries of life?”



I know we understand happiness because of sadness, love because of pain and other crap like that. But my point is that life itself is such a fascinating thing that even otherwise, we should look forward to living it, and not only because we might just die one day and not get to live another day. And so, just because someone might die, I should be open to taking crap from people? And what if I were to die before the said person? Would that person feel guilty about it too? What a pity if that person doesn't. Life wasted! And imagine that if everyone to believe this and nobody ever said anything to each other what they really thought, how screwed this world would become.

Sample this. I had a fight with H the other day. And soon after I thought about the (stupid) email. And then I thought about whether 
H would be doing the same. But then he was not the one who initiated the fight. He just responded to what I was saying. That means that this stupid thought came only to me because I was guilty. And then I thought what if I were to die, would  H feel guilty too, about making me mad because of which I fought with him. Knowing him, I don’t think so. Aren’t these fights very much a part of our relationship? Wouldn't  H  remember me as much for my love and care, as much he would for my "war"ing skills? :-P 

And while I was toying with these stupid ideas in my head, I came across this soap on TV where in the leading lady has brain tumor in last stage (why can’t these TV guys be a little more creative with disease names? Everybody always dies with brain tumor in last stage..boring!) Anyway, so the lady will do supreme sacrifice. She will not tell anyone in the house. (Now how stupid is that! There might be a slim chance of being saved if you start the treatment right away, but then how is she going to display her heroics…eh?­) AND to ensure that her husband doesn't miss her (read: has somebody to cook and clean and sew buttons on his shirt after she's gone) she starts hunting a prospective wife for him. Holy crap man! If not for anything else, I might just get brain tumor from watching another episode of this stupid soap.

And so, while I was thinking whether H would feel guilty about my death and after watching the stupid soap, I became stupid too. I thought what if I discovered I had brain tumor in the last stage. And I couldn't think of what I would do after discovering the ailment, but one thing is for sure. I aint finding no girl for  H  ;-) I mean seriously, what’s that lady or her kick ass director/writer thinking? They think real people are like that? If it were me, I would make  H  take an oath that he should not so much as even think about any other girl, let alone getting hitched to one. Atleast for a year or two. Not that I would want him to be miserable, but I would not want him to be happy either. Behaving as if my presence in his life meant nothing at all! I am selfish that ways you see :-P

I would want him to miss me often and talk to me by looking at the pictures in our wedding album. But not miss me too much to start drinking like a Devdas. If he were to pass by any book shop or road side book stall, he should always stop, remember me and buy a book with a smile on his face. If he were to come across a cute baby, he should think about how I used to go awwww with cute babies and smile again. If he were to come across a really cute outfit in the mall, he should buy it and gift it to those little girls on the road I always feel helpless about. And once he starts dating, he should always make it clear to the "new girl" that I was the first love of his life and that she would just have to deal with it. Hmmph! And so there, I am not so bad. I am basically trying to put a smile on his face ;-))

 Now I really have no idea if I am that sadistic but I really had a lot of fun writing out all this. And somewhere in my heart, I realize that death has a comical side too, that makes us behave in such stupid, idiosyncratic ways. So people, just believe whatever you want to and whoever you want to as long as it amuses you, and not because you actually fell prey to somebody's stupid belief who was most probably guilty as hell while typing out those lines!