Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Catch Me, if you will!

From the corner of my eye, I saw daddy standing just next to me. I smiled to myself, thinking this game is not going to be so much fun. I could turn around, reach out and get hold of him! I did just that, but lo! I did not catch him. He had moved farther from me in a matter of seconds.

“Aha! He’s quite good at it…he’d soon know that I’m better!” I tried it one more time only to miss him again. My confidence or the excess of it wasn’t helping me!

But I wasn’t going to give up. I ran about in the room, in a frenzy to catch him. He would slip away in no time.

“Catch me, if u can”, he screamed in spite of the panting.

I paused; sharpened my ears not to miss the sound of his steps.
“This time he wouldn’t even know when I’m gonna make the move”, I waited for the opportune moment and swung my hand around…I almost touched him this time, but that was far from getting hold of him.

Daddy was laughing.

I was offended! This is not fair! He’s bigger and stronger and faster…this is grossly unfair! “I’m not gonna play this silly game!”

“Sonnie, take a chance, just one more time!”

I had started walking away.

“Big boys don’t give up so easily...catch me, if you will!” he cried out.

That was all I needed to hear. I turned and dashed towards daddy…I had my arms stretched out…I knew I was going to get him now or never…I saw him frantically trying to escape my grab…and finally, I caught him!

“You are the smarter one, huh?” he teased me, as we laughed in each other’s arms.

I felt his heartbeat against mine...I knew my father had let me catch him…he had slowed down without my knowing it, so that I raced up to him to get hold of him…I felt small…but I was glad to have a big daddy who’d stoop down for see me win!

I’m beginning to see the various facets of my Heavenly Father. In the process, I realize that there’s much more to His serious disposition that I had always known. He loves to play with you and let you catch Him. He cries out to you, "Catch me, if you will!" You just need to have the willingness to seek, to catch Him! There is a certain inexplicable tenderness and excitement about Daddy letting you catch Him- His heart and His will…I guess, that’s what I love the most about this Super Dad!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chak De!

Disclaimer: This is not a movie review though it is essentially about the movie in the headlines.

I finally watched Chak de India. Being extremely critical of Bollywood movies, I prefer not lavishing my resources on the same. But, as I walked out of the cinema, I thought the 180 bucks I spent on this one was worth it! That could be because I went in with absolutely no expectations…The theme was not strikingly different from the ones we have seen on silver screen by now. The songs weren’t outstanding. The actors did a good job- but nothing earth shattering. (I was definitely grateful to SRK that he did not overdo it, as he does always!). It told the same old story of teamwork and added to the case studies B- schools already have in their kitty. There were no surprises in the end. But, there was something about it that greatly appealed to me, for sure.

What I liked most about the movie was that it echoed my distaste for the clan behaviour we see in our country. I am a die hard believer of Unity in Diversity and a fervent propagator of National Integration. (I intend to practise what I preach by encouraging inter state marriages in my family). Why is it that it takes so much of effort to think and act like an Indian, and not like a Punjabi or a Madrasi? Why is it that when people from the same state meet, they are overcome by this irresistible desire to converse in their mother tongue, irrespective of whether the others in the group followed it or not? I’m not talking about the frogs in the well who have not ventured out of their own states. It saddens me that even with the intellectually upper middle class population, who have seen the world relatively more, it isn’t any different!

My three flat mates and I were chatting one evening. To set the context, we were all from different states- Rajastan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Kerala. All have studied in reputed colleges in the country and have had friends from different states and cultures. In the middle of the conversation, one exclaims in disgust, in a hushed voice, “I know! These South Indians!” I was amused to see how her face reddened in embarrassment as it suddenly occurred to her that I am from Kerala and Kerala is located to the south of India and that qualifies me to be one of those ‘South Indians’! I was not offended. Till date I don’t think I am any different from them other than that I couldn’t speak their mother tongues as well as they did, the same way they couldn’t speak mine the way I did. The similarity between them and I would be that I am as Indian as they are!

It was the final day of interview at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. One lady rushed to me and started talking to me in a language I barely understood. Seeing that she did not intend to stop the rattling inspite of the perplexed look on my face, I decided to interrupt, “Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t seem to follow the language you are speaking in. Would you speak in English please, if you don’t mind?” She paused and took a hard look at me “Oh, I’m so sorry. I mistook you for a Bengali”, she was indeed disappointed! “It’s okay. How could I help you?”, I responded. Pretending not to hear me, she turned away from me and took the risk of identifying another Bong who came that way. The rattle in Bengali resumed. “I heard the Head of the Department is a Bong too!” she remarked sharply as if to make sure that the non Bongs around her (including me) could very well lower their hopes of making it to the course, on account of not being a part of the ‘elite league’! (I did not find her daughter in my class when the course started, though!)

My friend from Hyderabad commented reassuringly, “You are kinda fair, re…you don’t look like a South Indian!” He must have thought that I would be flattered. I gave him a faint smile in response to his ‘racist’ remark, wondering how silly it was to conclude on where one’s from based on one’s skin colour. I felt relieved that I wasn’t too fair not to look like an Indian!

I was sharing a Sardarji joke that I came across recently and I noticed my friend from the same community was not very amused. I knew he had misunderstood me for having fun at his expense! I switched to my favourite pastime- imitating Lolakutty, much to his surprise. Have we lost the spirit of laughing at ourselves? Why do we become unnecessarily ‘sensitive’ and crack these jokes behind the backs of people who belong to these communities?

It was the time to introduce ourselves to each other. “I am from Ranchi”, that was following her saying her name and the company she worked for. Just as I opened my mouth to introduce myself, she added, “That’s in North India.” I was so surprised at this that I could only manage to mumble “I’m from Alleppey District, India”. “Oh…the backwaters! Must be a beautiful place!”, she looked thrilled. I could have assumed that she wouldn’t know my place and explained to her that it is in South India. I decided not to be that wicked. What in the world made her think that I was so ill informed of my country’s geography that I wouldn’t know that Ranchi is the capital of Jharkhand?

“You North Indians come to our state and take off all the good jobs leaving us jobless! What else do you expect us to do?”, the shop keeper, close to our house in Bangalore yelled at my Punju friend when she asked him why the stuff in his shop was over priced! Didn’t he know that unemployment is a universal problem?

I had goose bumps when Kabir Khan asked the girls to introduce themselves as from Team India! Goose bumps come and go. But then, Chak de wasn’t the answer to my concern. One of my dearest friends seated next to me in the cinema, did not fail to point out, “Hey, that girl with the red streaks..she’s a Mal…in fact, three out of the entire gang of girls in the movie are Mals!” She went on to explain other details about the Mal girls, which hardly registered in my mind. I was simply thinking of how long it would take for my people to feel Indian, for a change!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Wind and you...

Have you ever felt like a feather floating in the air?

Sliding down gently…effortlessly…blissfully…glancing down to see the lustrous valley stretching into eternity…they call it the La La Land! Looking up, you see the clear blue expanse…
“I own the sky and the valley below!”, you fake the tone of an important person and laugh at the unsuccessful attempt, roseate in innocence!

Suddenly, it feels like a jerk…it is just the brisk wind that tossed you around…and you twirl…and twist…and turn…to chuckle…to glide gracefully- again!

There are trees, all tall and strong…they are not intimidating…but you don’t stop to make friends with them…neither do you forget to gift them a shy smile…
As you perch on the dew dripping leaf tip to rest for a while, you skid on to kiss the wild lilly beneath…

Life’s beautiful!

Love is real!

Friends are forever!

Just when you make up your mind to anchor for good, the wind is back to take you on its course…
It isn’t a ride gay and bright…it’s but all flutter and flurry…so you whine like a child and act like a brat…
La La Land isn’t as long as eternity, as you had imagined!
You hear the humming of the fainting robin…
A drop of tear for the sweetness passed by- the valley and the mountains… and the trees… and the leaf…and the wild lilly…

You feel the evening sun gleam across your cheek…soon the smile returns…so does the song in the heart!

You are floating your way…to a land far far away that you’ve only heard is lovelier than the lovliest your eyes have ever seen …

On the wings of the wind…yes, on the wings of the wind- a journey worth not settling for the wayside charm!