Are the pairs really made in heaven ?

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) was released when I was preparing for the Civil Services Main Examination in Jaipur and was very much eager to watch it when my papers would be over. I finished with my papers on 8th December, 1997 and went to watch this movie in Raj Mandir (the world-famous theatre of Jaipur) the next day, i.e., 9th December, 1997 with my wife, my little daughter and my friend – Nitin Sharma. The melodious music of the movie had fascinated me and the movie was already a huge success on the box office. Hence I went to the cinema-hall with an expectation to watch a good romantic movie and my expectation came true. I found this movie to be really good.dil_to_pagal_hai_oblHowever, later when I read many reviews of this movie, I was shocked that several reviewers had criticized it. Why ? It’s a good love story. The box office verdict was in its favour. Its music was of such a high quality that still its songs are heard, sung and liked. The performances were good and Karishma Kapoor went on to win the national award for the best supporting actress for her role in this movie. Then why the reviewers could not praise this movie from the maestro of making romantic movies – Yash Chopra ?

Well, I can find the reason behind the criticism of this movie out from a more than two decades old interview of an international female Tennis player – Mary Joe Fernandez. I had read her interview in 1990 in which she had asserted – ‘When you are habituated to excel, just being good never satisfies.’ I apply her quote for the director of this movie – Yash Chopra who had directed several admirable movies in the past and built a reputation for himself as a maker of high quality cinema. Hence, the viewers of Dil To Paagal Hai compared this movie with his previous better works and the dissatisfaction that had emerged out of the high expectations from this movie, led to its criticism.dil_to_pagal_haiDil To Paagal Hai (the heart is insane) is a love-triangle of a theatre-group leader – Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), his co-worker and friend – Nisha (Karishma Kapoor) and Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) who is an orphan fostered by a benevolent family and who happens to join his group just for the sake of one play in which Nisha could not partake due to her leg injury. The son of her fostering couple – Ajay (Akshay Kumar) loves Pooja and proposes to her and Pooja being burdened by the obligations of her guardians, agrees to marry their son. But there is one thing peculiar about her. She firmly believes that pairs are made in heaven, God has fixed the matches of the males and the females of this world even before their taking birth and now it’s up to them to locate their matches and get united with them. The foundation of this general belief of hers leads to a specific dream for herself in which she sees her prince-charming approaching her like a fairytale and taking her away with him. How her belief comes true after several twists in this sentimental (and musical) love-triangle is the climax.dtph_topThis movie was also criticized for the superstitions like male-female pairs being made in heaven, a girl’s meeting her dream-boy on the full-moon night falling on the Valentine’s Day, Lord Ganpati helping the love-birds in expressing their feelings to each other etc. Well, has there even been any dearth of superstitions being propagated and strengthened through movies in India ? Then why to criticize this movie in particular. Just because Yash Chopra directed it ? Not fair. The filmmaker has only shown how strongly Pooja believed in her dreams. And if you read the Law of Attraction as well as about the power of man’s subconscious mind spelled out by many philosophers, you have to be convinced that thoughts and beliefs actually get materialized if they are strongly founded in the concerned person’s mind. I remember a dialogue from my favourite movie – Sangharsh (1999) told by the hero (Akshay Kumar) to the heroine (Preity Zinta) – ‘Sapne Soch-Samajh Kar Dekhne Chaahiye, Sach Ho Jaate Hain‘ (it’s better to dream sensibly because those dreams may come true). Hence if a girl’s dream has come true which she sincerely believed in, what’s the big deal ?

I have picked a very big yet quite subtle positive in this movie whose mention I did not find anywhere. In a couple of scenes, the theatre and the real life have been shown as getting intermingled. And both such scenes are damn impressive – one during the rehearsal of the play (titled as Maya) and another during its actual staging which takes place in the climax. Yash Ji has presented these scenes so skillfully that the viewer can only react as – WOW ! The cinematographer (Man Mohan Singh) and the art director (Sharmishtha Roy) have left no stone unturned to make the director’s vision take a tangible shape. When you are under an impression that the characters are interacting in their real life, it turns out to be a scene of the play. Brilliant !

There are many scenes in which the emotional and drama quotient is quite high, true to Yash Ji’s reputation. One is the informal dancing competition between Pooja and Nisha in which Nisha (out of her jealousy for Pooja) tries to belittle her in front of the group members (including Rahul) watching their performance. Another illustration can be Nisha’s outburst against the Almighty and throwing stones in the direction of the sky (where He is supposed to be).

Yash Chopra has been known as the King of Romance for the past many decades and Dil To Paagal Hai is a showcase of his natural talent to make high quality romantic movies. In the opening song which runs alongwith titles, he has shown several couples (of all shapes, sizes and ages) including himself and his wife (Paamela) which provides this movie a different look since the very outset.

Music is a very big plus point of this movie. Uttam Singh has composed the music of his lifetime using the lyrics of Anand Bakshi and the voices of Lata and Udit Naarayan for most of the songs. One song has been sung by Asha Bhonsle and one duet (referred to in the previous para) has been sung by Hariharan and Lata. All the songs are ear-soothing as well as heart-soothing.

Technically the movie is simply superb with the production value being pretty high according to the repute of the banner. Dialogues and background score are also according to the mood of the movie. The narrative has intermixed romance, humour, sentiments and music optimally and it’s a treat for the audience of romantic musicals.

Performances are good. Even Akshay Kumar who was known as an action hero those days, has done very well in his surprise package type role. In addition to Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, the supporting characters including Aruna Irani, Farida Jalaal, Deven Varma, Shivani Wazir, Balwinder Singh Suri etc. have also met the demands of their respective roles with perfection. The show stopper is Karishma Kapoor who won the national award for the best supporting actress for the role of Nisha.

I liked this movie very much. May be because I am sentimentally romantic. However, the people who criticize this movie, overlook the quality of the product presented. It may be one notch below the lofty standard set by Yash Chopra for himself but overall, it’s a nice movie with great musical appeal and immense repeat value. You may not believe in the dictum that male-female pairs are made in heaven but Pooja of Dil To Paagal Hai believes in it.

And so do I.

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In quest of the unknown with Mr. Perfectionist

For the first time in my life, I had watched a newly released movie in first day first show and that too with my better half. Myself and my wife had decided to have fun on 30th November 2012 (I took leave from my office) and watched Talaash in first day first show at Talkie Town (now rechristened as Cine Town), Hyderabad. I had been eagerly awaiting this mystery movie whose hero (and producer too) is none else but Mr. Perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan.

Talash (search / quest) is apparently a murder mystery which does not turn out to be a traditional murder mystery in the end and a supernatural element also appears in the narrative which the spectator could not have thought of even in the wildest of his guesses about the solution of the mystery. That’s what makes Talaash different from regular suspense-thrillers. Though the idea is not original but more about that later.talaash-bannerThe hero (i.e., our Mr. Perfectionist – Aamir Khan) is an honest, efficient and dedicated cop – Surjan Singh Shekhawat who is internally aggrieved because of the accidental demise of his son for which he considers himself as responsible and suffers from guilt-complex. Neither he is able to console himself, nor his equally aggrieved wife (Rani Mukherjee). He becomes workaholic and remains on duty for almost 24 hours. He gets the case of the apparently accidental death of a Bollywood hero and the story of the movie mainly covers his quest (Talaash) of the truth only while intermittently dealing with his personal life and agony. A sex-worker (Kareena Kapoor) helps him and when finally the truth comes out, he (and also the audience) is taken aback like anything.talaash-2012-desibantuI will not spread any spoilers here because it will be an injustice to the sincere effort that has gone into the making of this gripping mystery. However let me clarify that the basic grains are not at all original. I don’t know whether the director – Reema Kagti, the script writers and Mr. Perfectionist himself have watched an old Bollywood movie – Ek Paheli (1971) starring Feroz Khan and Tanuja in lead roles or not but the inspiration from that story is clearly there which I could see because I have seen Ek Paheli. Anybody who has seen that old movie can easily contrast the resolution of the mystery in that with that in Talaash. Else some Hollywood movie might have been the foundation for the stories of both of these movies, one made four decades back and the other one made now.

All the same, it is to be admitted that Talaash is an engrossing movie and though certain dialogs of Kareena Kapoor appear to be illogical and superfluous, everything falls in place in the end. When the mystery is resolved and the scene involving Aamir Khan and his superior officer takes place, there are certain shots which remind of John Abraham-Bipasha Basu starrer flop movie – Madhoshi (2004). Personally, I don’t believe in supernatural and hence I am not completely satisfied after watching Talaash. A solution sans the supernatural element would have been acceptable to me. All the same, I admit with open heart that the supernatural element is directly linked to the sentimental aspect of the story also and hence the way the script has been written, it’s inevitable for the narrative.

The director – Reema Kagti has done her job very well and she has been successful in keeping the audience glued to the screen till the ending reels. Except the final 10 minutes or so, you cannot afford to lose even a single minute of the movie. The narrative keeps you spellbound and whether you believe in the resolution of the mystery presented or not, you feel like having watched a good movie while exiting the theatre.imagesThough the mystery is unraveled in the climax only, the director has scattered clues and hints throughout the duration of the movie prior to revelation and given the viewers enough food for thinking and guessing on the basis of them. Everything shown or told including seemingly trivial things, ultimately gets linked up to the main story and thus the director has shown her capability to handle suspense-based plots. This style of narrating is highly admirable and reminds me of some novels of renowned Hindi novelist – Ved Prakash Sharma.

Though the characters of sex-workers form a significant part of the story, there is no vulgarity in the movie and it can be called a clean movie which is another achievement of the director and another plus of the movie.

The emotional quotient is quite strong and the movie moves the spectator deep within at many places including the ending scenes. Not just the main track of the hero-heroine (and the mysterious sex-worker helping the hero) is emotion-studded, there is also a sentimentally impressive side story of the love affair of the limping petty criminal – Taimur (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) with an aging sex-worker (I don’t know the name of the actress) who helps him in getting  blackmailing money but finally lands up with that money falling into her pocket only when Taimur is shot dead by the men hired by the blackmailed person.

Technically the movie is good and utterly realistic. All the action and chase sequences have been handled pretty well and they are impressive by all standards. Instead of showing grandeur, luxuries, pump and show; the director has kept all the scenes in realistic settings. Everything is completely authentic. And that’s why nowhere the narrative seems to be out of place or playing with the intelligence of the audience (except for the supernatural element embedded in the narrative). Cinematography is as brilliant as the art direction is. The movie is not unduly long and there is no superfluous footage at all. Flashbacks have been used proficiently to explain the things. Small drops of humour provide a bit of relief in this otherwise intense suspense-filled drama.

Aamir Khan truly deserves to be called Mr. Perfectionist. The get-up, the physic, the gestures, the mannerisms; from every angle does he appear to be a no-nonsense dutiful cop who means business. It’s very difficult to visualize anybody else in the role of Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat. Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor have done pretty well. The complete supporting cast has done justice to the assigned roles. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has done an outstanding job in the role of the limping but cunning small time criminal.

Music of Talaash is praiseworthy. Javed Akhtar has written touching and meaningful lyrics and Ram Sampat has prepared ear-soothing tunes for them. I consider Jiya Laage Na as the best song of the album but the other ones are also quite good to listen. Background score is also perfect.

Summing up, this much awaited movie of Mr. Perfectionist may not be a great movie but it is definitely worth a watch. It satisfies the entertainment appetite of the mystery-lovers on one hand and suits the taste of the audience of emotional family dramas on the other.

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Love at its emotional best

When we see love in the movies (especially Bollywood movies), several times we feel by watching the on-screen love that this is not real and just filmy. However Bollywood boasts of hundreds of good love stories also in which the love shown on the screen looks real and reliable. While watching them, we feel as if the lovers are before our eyes only and unknowingly we start sympathizing with them. We are joyous by seeing their love-filled delights and we feel deeply moved by seeing their sorrows and separation. Such an outstanding love story is Arzoo (1965) made by Ramanand Sagar and starring Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana and Feroz Khan. This is the love story of a lifetime which can be watched any number of times and every time it gives a fresh, soothing feeling. The songs of this movie are just great and they tremendously increase the emotional aura of the film.


The story, in the real sense, starts in Kashmir with the encounter of Dr. Gopal (Rajendra Kumar) and Usha (Sadhana). Initial teasings lead to blossoming of a genuine, deep, adorable love between them. However, Dr. Gopal had kept his genuine identity hidden from Usha and before he could reveal it on her upon returning to Delhi, he meets a mishap and loses his leg. Then starts the painful story of separation of the two sincere lovers who struggle with the pain and sense of loss within them individually, all alone. None of the two is aware of the painful status of the other. How the story reaches its emotional climax, is an unforgettable experience to watch.index1The story takes off soon and the romance between the romantic Rajendra Kumar and the eternal beauty, Saadhana is both emotional and sensational at the same time. The scenes seem to drown the audience in the ocean of love. Feeling completely drenched and sodden, the viewer is never willing to come out of that. His Aarzoo (desire) becomes to just remain lost in the on-screen romance only. The pair looks simply great and the on-screen chemistry between the two is mesmerizing. Their gestures and activities make their love look both lovable as well as reliable.


After the tragic twist in the tale, the emotional part related to the separation of the lovers has been handled by the director even more admirably. The tears of Saadhana look real as her face presents a true picture of her inner pain. On the other hand, the pain, the loneliness and the stuffiness within Rajendra Kumar come in a lively form before the viewers through his superb underplay. The way the story moves from Kashmir to Delhi and ultimately reaches the memorable climax, is something for watching, not description. The role of Rajendra Kumar’s sister, Nazima is also very impressive and it has been made quite meaningful (contrary to the sisterly roles in those times which used to be more or less sideline, routine roles).arzoo-1965The director, the script-writer and the cinematographer have done a remarkable job by keeping Kashmir as the backdrop of the story and it is nothing short of a treat to see the scenic beauty of Kashmir. The smooth flow of the story alongwith both the heart-tickling encounters of the duo and the hilarious comedy of Mehmood, makes the viewer forget the fact that the romance is prolonged. The story picks up speed thereafter and twists keep on coming in the emotion-filled narrative. The production value and the entertainment value, both are quite high in this movie.


The performances are par excellence. Among the supporting cast, Nazir Hussain has delivered a very good sentimental performance as Saadhana’s father. Nazima has always been a low profile actress in the Hindi movies of the sixties, always given sideline roles only. However in this movie, her sisterly act coupled with the friendly act (she is a saheli of Saadhana) makes a great impact and she proves that she is a good actress. Stylish hero Feroz Khan has also delivered a praiseworthy performance in the role of Rajender Kumar’s friend. Mehmood’s comedy is a class of its own. Rajendra Kumar has been a great romantic hero of the sixties and in this emotion-packed role, he has performed brilliantly. The twist in the tale belongs to him. However the movie, as a whole, belongs to Saadhana, the stylish diva of the Indian screen whose hair-style, choodidaar pyjaamas (wrinkled trousers) and mojadis (footwear) had become fashion trends in India. Saadhana had always been a good actress and Aarzoo is one of her memorable movies. In the role of firstly the lovelorn and then the pain-stricken Usha, Saadhana simply outsmarts all other actors in the movie. Her display of emotions in the song – Bedardi Baalma, is able to move even the stones.indexThe music is the biggest asset of the movie. The lyrics of Hasrat Jaipuri and the music compositions of Shanker-Jaikishan have created an everlasting musical aura in the voices of Lata and Rafi. The songs – Aye Nargis-e-Mastana, Aye Phoolon Ki Raani, Chhalke Teri Aankhon Se, Aji Rooth Kar Ab, Bedardi Baalma etc. are all timeless classic songs. However I also like the Quawwali in the voices of Mubarak Begum and Asha Bhonsle – Jab Ishq Kahin Ho Jaata Hai very much.


Aarzoo is one of the finest contemporary love stories ever told in Hindi cinema. It is a very big treat for the people fond of love stories full of romance and emotion. It has only plus points. I recommend it wholeheartedly to all the movie buffs.index4

Kashmir is very beautiful.

So is Saadhana.

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Piracy of privacy

I purchased my first mobile phone in January 2004 when I was working with M/s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and posted at a small town Rawatbhata in Rajasthan. And for the next three and a half years, I did not get any unwanted calls on my mobile phone. For the sake of privacy, I did not share my mobile phone no. with others except some very close ones. However, in July 2007, I changed my job and the place and moved to New Delhi. My new employers M/s Jayprakash Associates Limited soon provided me with a mobile handset and a Delhi based SIM card in that to take care of my official duties. The day I received my new mobile phone number and it became active within a few hours, life no longer remained the same for me.

That day and today, I keep on getting unwanted telephone calls throughout the day on my mobile phone. In September 2009, I again changed my job and shifted to Hyderabad. Naturally, I obtained a new SIM card for my mobile phone and got a new (local) mobile phone number. Then the callers changed to different ones and the disturbance got reduced to some extent but it still persists. In New Delhi, I was using an Airtel number whereas now (my new employment being in the public sector, i.e., M/s BHEL) I am using a BSNL number. The callers (mostly females) have no regard for the time. Any time, the mobile starts ringing and 75 per cent calls turn out to be uncalled for, i.e., the calls of the telemarketing representatives of different companies.

Initially I was not aware of this fact that the telecom companies including the govt. owned BSNL and MTNL, sell the allotted mobile phone number to various service providers immediately on issuing the number to the consumer without seeking his consent. Hence when I received the first such call in August 2007 while in my Delhi office, I was startled like anything because I wondered that when the number had been newly allotted to me and I had given it to nobody, then how could this person (who was calling me to sell an insurance-cum-investment plan) get my phone number. I put up the same question to the caller and got a completely false answer that some Mr. Mehta in my office had given my phone no. And there was no Mr. Mehta in my office who knew me or I knew him. The caller must have been laughing at my ignorance at that time. When I kept on receiving such useless and disturbing calls with increasing frequency, then I realized that my privacy had been sold out by the telecom company (Airtel).

Whether it’s morning or noon or evening or even night, the phone kept on ringing. Whether it’s a working day or the weekly off or some public holiday, the phone kept on ringing. Whether I am extremely busy in my work in the office or in a discussion with my senior officer or in an important meeting or driving my way back to my home or having dinner at my home after a tiring day or enjoying a movie in the theatre, the phone kept on ringing. My initial days of using a mobile phone were also my initial days of learning driving and I used to drive very carefully while amidst the traffic on the roads of the capital of the nation. At least once, I narrowly escaped an accident and at least once, I narrowly escaped a challan by the traffic police because I committed the blunder of paying attention to the ringing of the mobile phone lying on the dashboard of the car. And upon seeing (on all such occasions) that the call was of the some telemarketing representative, I cursed him / her less and cursed myself much more for not being able to understand this fact beforehand.

My colleagues guided me that I could subscribe for Do Not Disturb and then the telecom company (Airtel) would ensure that I did not get such unwanted calls. Well, I did follow their advice and got assurance from the company that the unwanted calls would stop within 45 days (yes, forty-five days !) of my subscribing as such. Ironically the trouble can be given immediately but its removal needs 45 days. However even after 45 days, I kept on getting such calls. When I complained to Airtel, I got the answer -‘Sir, please provide us the name of the company whose representative called you. We will ensure that you do not get any calls from them after expiry of a period of 45 days.’ Again 45 days ! Then again 45 days for someone else ! Then again 45 days for some third one ! No end. The reality is that by subscribing to Airtel, I had purchased perennial disturbance spanning 24 x 7 and loss of peace of mind.

Due to calling at odd hours, the early sleepers like us (myself, my wife and my children) were disturbed in the sleep. We follow the principle of -‘Early to bed and early to rise’ in our daily routine but why should it be followed by these marketing people ? Disturbing the unfortunate mobile phone holders is perhaps the birth-right of these shameless people.

And moreover they’re asking so many irritating questions – what’s your age sir, what’s your spouse’s age sir, how many children do you have sir, where are you employed sir, what’s your annual income sir, what’s your PAN no. sir, so on and so forth. What the hell is all this ?

After shifting to Hyderabad, we did not go for cable connection and opted for Dish TV. And from the very first day itself, Dish TV people have been calling me to lure me (or trap me) to opt for their additional channels (pay channels of course so that I pay additional sum to them for every such channel). Every day I receive minimum 5 calls from them. Whether they promptly attend to any problem informed by me regarding their service, is different; their calling me to pick my pocket goes on without a break.

I find that in several forms, mobile phone numbers are unnecessarily asked for. Several people who sell their products to you, get feedback forms filled containing a column for mobile phone number. The courier service providers ask you to write your mobile phone no. as well as the mobile phone no. of the recipient of that parcel on the cover whenever something is sent through them. Why do so many people want our mobile phone no. ? The answer is obvious. So that it can be sold to those who will then get a license to disturb us at their convenience.

You have to tolerate this nuisance even when you are attending someone’s cremation. Well, this is piracy of privacy of a citizen and I wonder whether this issue has been taken to the courts. Living with peace without unwanted disturbance is a fundamental right of every citizen. How can it be encroached by strangers ? But the highly bitter reality is that it’s being done and has been being done for more than a decade. If not done something about it, it will continue for decades and even centuries. Is it a crime to use a mobile phone then ?

Privacy is everybody’s right in a free country. And a person’s privacy should be respected. I, therefore, term this nasty act as akin to violation of a woman’s modesty which should be stopped without further delay. Is anybody in India listening to my clamour ?

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Tum Haar Ke Dil Apna . . .

This world is for the winners and definitely not for the losers. Who wants to remain a loser ? None. However certain issues related to a human-being’s heart are such that one has to lose first in order to emerge as a winner ultimately.

Shah Rukh Khan said in his famous movie – Baazigar, “Kabhi-kabhi jeetne ke liye haarna bhi padta hai. Aur haar kar jeetne wale to baazigar kehte hain” (sometimes one has to lose first to win later and the one who wins after losing is called a Baazigar). Said right, I believe.

When you love somebody, you cannot win his / her heart by putting him / her down or showing off yourself or trying your hand on one-up-manship. Humility is the thumb-rule to win a heart and continue to keep it under your possession after winning it initially. By trying to put your beloved down in an argument or some issue, you may feel that you have won but in fact this is the start of the process of losing his / her heart.

Since I had got someone’s love in my life, I noted this point. She always felt pleasure in losing an argument or a debate or a game to me. She always wanted me to win. Anywhere ! Everywhere ! I still remember her statement – “Hum aapko sar utha kar jeete huye dekhna chaahte hain” (I want to see you living with your head high). The outcome was simple, she won my heart. Forever !

I remember watching Karan Jauhar’s film Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai in which Kajol is able to get Shah Rukh in the movie only when she has learnt to lose in the game of basketball. Though I do not advocate losing in this way, yet winning the heart is definitely a bigger bet and then losing in a trivial thing is not a deal of loss.

In fact, I am telling all these things from the point of view of females. In the practical world, a person (male or female but mostly a male in the Indian context) has to bow down at several places for practical reasons, may be for his own sake or sometimes for the sake of the joys and happiness of his family members. Then should he be forced to bow down at home too or by his beloved / sweetheart too ? A person who loses at his home, can hardly expect to win outside. Yet several females do not understand it.

I remember a memorable song from the movie Prem Geet (1981) – Hothon Se Chhoo Lo Tum, Mera Geet Amar Kar Do which has been penned by Indeevar and sung and composed by Jagjeet Singh. It is a very touching song. I am quoting a stanza of this song to explain what I want to express through this post :

Jag Se Chheena Mujh Se Mujhe Jo Bhi Laga Pyara

Sab Jeeta Kiye Mujh Se, Main Har Dum Hi Haara

Tum Haar Ke Dil Apna, Meri Jeet Amar Kar Do

(The world has snatched everything from me which was dear to me, I always lost whereas all others have won over me, you make my win immortal by losing your heart to me).

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Being a quiz master

On 26th August, 2010, I performed the role of the Quiz Master in the Inter-PSU Quiz Contest 2010 organized at BHEL, Hyderabad in which total 21 teams participated. Though I am a Finance man and this is not my field, I could not turn down the request of the Hindi department of my organization to anchor the quiz. I myself prepared the questions, hence the Quiz Master had to be none other than myself only.

Just the previous month I had conducted a small quiz for my own department (Finance) people and it was well appreciated. However this time, the occasion was big, the gathering was huge, some esteemed high-profile members of Town Official Language Implementation Committee (because it is a part of the month-long Hindi-related programs) were witnessing it and because of all these reasons, the psychological pressure was quite high. I had prepared a lot of questions under six different categories – 1. Science and Geography, 2. History, 3. Books and Literature, 4. Sports, 5. Movies, 6. General. Since myself was going to anchor the program, I did not bother to prepare the key because all the answers were stored in my mind. In fact, more than 90% of the questions were those already stored in my mind only and I took the help of the internet for less than 10% of the questions.

The quiz was a grand success. The arrangement alongwith the efforts of the Quiz Master (yours truly) were whole-heartedly appreciated by all and sundry. After the quiz was over and the results were announced, I was properly introduced to the audience and when it was informed to them that I was basically a Finance and Accounts man, all were surprised. I also shared this fact with the esteemed guests that I was a writer on Mouthshut.Com and my reviews could be read there.

Actually, reading of books, magazines and newspapers has been my numero uno interest since my early childhood. Hence for more than the past three decades, I have been reading daily newspapers alongwith periodicals plus books on different topics alongwith literature. Besides, I have been a movie buff too and right from my childhood to the present times when I am going through my forties, I have been watching movies on regular basis. All this plus the god-given gift of sharp memory has contributed to my vast storehouse of general knowledge. That’s why to prepare the questions for the quiz, I did not have to search questions. I just retrieved the answers from the database of my brains and prepared suitable questions for them.

This success gave a big boost to my self-confidence. A feeling emerged in my heart – ‘Yes, I can be a successful quiz-master, if given an opportunity’. I also share the credit of this success (and I expressed it before the people too who complimented me at the venue) with my wife, Amita (fondly called Rupa) who helped me a lot in preparing the question-boxes. It was done to maintain the randomness of the questions coming to the contesting teams. They had to randomly pick up a chit (on which the question was written) out of the question-box themselves. So there was no scope left for any kind of partiality (that could have been done by the organizers or the Quiz Master). Myself being in fever since the previous day, could not do this job alone. Further, she only arranged good quality, decent-looking, uniform plastic containers (out of her kitchen) which were used as the question-boxes. Hence her contribution cannot be underrated by any standards. In addition to her, my associates (colleagues) also have to share the credit of this success who continuously helped me in conducting the quiz and updating the scores of various teams.

Since then I have conducted many quizzes during the past six years but the joy and satisfaction I got on that day is still unmatched for me.

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The non-living member of my family

A few years back, I happened to read a post of esteemed authoress, poetess, reviewer and blogger Geetashri Chatterjee in which she had shared her sentiments towards a tree. I drew inspiration from that write-up of hers only to pour out my sentiments towards something I am deeply in love with. Attachment or emotions can exist for any creature or any tree or even any non-living thing and in my view, it is the attribute of a sensitive person. Myself, being a sensitive person, shares today with you my sentiments towards a non-living thing which is no less than a family member for me.

This non-living member of my family is my Bajaj Super scooter which I had received in my wife’s dowry on 1st December, 1995 (my marriage day). Readers may please forgive me for accepting the dowry because it had been voluntarily given by my in-laws to their daughter and there was no demand from my side. The scooter was given specially because my wife had been driving a Bajaj Super scooter for the past many years since her adolescence (and she is able to drive both the two-wheeler and the four-wheeler much better than me).image0820This scooter has met many accidents because (may be due to the movement of my stars) I have been accident-prone in my life. However it has endured everything and never let me down. Its body and machinery have been so strong that immediately after meeting any accident, it was found in running condition. It has seen my heyday, it has seen my loneliness and melancholy and you may ridicule it but the truth is that at times, I have shared my grief and emotions with it. It has stood by me in my all times, both good and bad, during the past two decades.

I have never riden a bike in my life but with this scooter itself, I have travelled several times for more than 100 kilometres in a day. I have spent more than six years at Rawatbhata (Rajasthan), a beautiful place some fifty and odd kilometres away from the city of Kota. Despite the availability of the regular bus service from Rawatbhata for Kota, I always loved to cover that distance by my scooter only. In between these two places, there is a forest track (known as the Durra wildlife sanctuary) and myself being a nature lover, always enjoyed travelling through that natural environment on the scooter either with my family or alone. Even today, I cherish those days.

There is no dearth of free consultants in India who can always be found on your side to provide you free (and unwanted) advice. Such wise men have advised me hundreds of times to sell this scooter or exchange it for some bike in any exchange-offer scheme. Thank God, I have never paid attention to any such superfluous advice thrown to me. How can I think to part with a member of my family ? It has seen my sorrows as well as my joys (including the births of both of my children). Even today if I feel very happy within my heart, I vent my joy out by driving this scooter on any empty road for a few minutes.image0912Like my own body, the body (and machinery) of this scooter has also suffered several setbacks and the effects of wear and tear are clearly visible on its outer look as well as its functioning. But I love it. Now its production has been stopped by the Bajaj company, yet I remember the days when the advertisement of Bajaj scooter used to be telecast on the TV portraying it as a symbol of a happy Indian family. Whenever I ride it alongwith my family members (wife and both the children), I feel that it is truly a symbol of my happy family, in fact, a part of my happy family.


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