The Bored Generation

“Mom, I am bored”
How many times in a day do you hear this complaint? At least five or may be countless times. This is more so during holidays.

Two months summer holidays is a stressful period for parents especially working mothers. The new generation is a bored generation. Even with 24×7 T.V channels, computers, play station, X- boxes and summer camps the children are bored to the core.

Our holidays many summers ago were very enjoyable and a true stress buster. We either visited our grand parents or a truck full of cousins and aunts visited us. The curtains drawn to escape from bright scorching sun, it was non stop chit chat, ludo, snakes and ladder and marbles in the back yard. The host was never hassled about how to entertain the guests and from where to order pizza for them (as there were no pizzas then and eating out was an exception and not routine). Lack of space never bothered the host. Post dinner time was even more fun, lolling over the mattresses on the floor; we treasure fond memories of childhood. Our working mother never felt that the guests over stayed, even two months stay was less.

Now cousins are too busy to come or even the host is busy ferrying children from one activity class to another. “If cousins come then who will look after them during the day? They will get bored” I wonder how did such formalities originate between first cousins?

However it originated but I must confess that in their hankering after grabbing too much from life our children are really missing out the real childhood.

Will this ever happen in India?

March is the appraisal month. The Self Appraisal is the first step in the month long appraisal process in which every employee fills in his achievements, any accolades received from clients/managers during the year, areas of improvements, strengths , aspirations and goals for the future year.
The goals have to be strictly SMART (Specific Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time bound). Each goal has to be clearly mentioned with a fixed timeline. The appraisal next year will review how much of it one could achieve. Framing SMART goals gives clear direction to the aspirant and is the first step towards realizing your goals.

With election season round the corner, it is only natural to compare companies’ appraisal process with that of the country. Why there is no such appraisal system for the politicians who are responsible for the health of the country? Company appraisal directly impacts the career of its employees and which in turn is related to the health of the company. Ditto for the country.
Every party’s election manifesto talks of removing poverty, regular water supply, more jobs opportunities, better road conditions et al with no time lines , no specific goals. Individual appraisal impacts one professional and one single organization but the appraisal of the contesting candidate has an impact on the health and the future of the entire country.
What if a country is run like an organization! The credentials of a candidate are scrutinized fully before assigning him the responsibility of running the country. Clear policies framed with SMART goals, strengths listed, areas of improvements demarcated.
Sample this – Twenty roads will be repaired in the first quarter with monthly quality checks by the quality team, government schools will have to face the audit by external auditors to avail the aid for the next year…. Will that ever happen in India?

When my kids taught me how to do Sheershasana…

Eight months into it and I am addicted to it. I hate it when the alarm croons …’if you seen it and you mean it you have to go …’ from teriyaki boyz – tokyo drift at 5.20 am. But once I am up… I am up. Even if you are one or two minutes late, you have to squeeze in your mat in between forty odd people of all sizes and shapes. Initially all asanas looked difficult as how much active you are in your daily life, yoga is totally different ball game. With time, I was able to touch my toes with lot of pull and push. I felt elated to do most of the asanas with ease leaving bak asana and bhuja peera asana. In Bhuja peera asana you put your body weight on your wrist and forearms. I am scared to even try this as I feel I may twist my wrist in the process. This asana is meant to make your wrists and forearms strong. Once I tried doing this and oops …my wrists were paining as if I have fractured my wrist, I wonder whether bhuja peera means giving pain or relieving pain.
When I thought I was really comfortable doing yoga then the instructor introduced us to Sheershasana. This looked very easy, I tried doing it but the more I tried the more I fell let right and centre. I really couldn’t do it but I was embarrassed as people half my age and double my size could stand upside down in a jiffy. The instructor would do this asana only once in a fortnight, he had a fixed routine for every asana. I knew 2nd and last Friday of the month will be for topsy turvy asana , I would try my best to escape this like staying late on Thursday so that I have an excuse not to go for yoga on Friday but this didn’t go on for long.
Now Rahul and Nikhil had a task to achieve – teaching their mother how to do Sheershasana. First they took a day to get the hang of it; once they got it they put me through the grueling routine. After a few falls I was able to stand on my head of course against the wall. “You have to throw all your body weight towards your upper portion of your body and while in position take your feet as close to your head as possible and then take it up and there you are standing upside down”.

Who is responsible for the mess?

“History is a boring subject and what am I going to gain by mugging up what happened two centuries ago and which king ruled over which country.” – Nikhil my son who is appearing for 9th std hates History and he tells that with pride. We always have a war of words when I ask him to study History.
I love reading about kings and their wealth but the way they depict and describe in school text books it does appear very boring. Moreover school text books are not updated regularly.
Yesterday I was teaching him Economics. In a chapter on Poverty, they have explained about poverty line, how it is determined and what was the poverty line in 1975 and how poverty is the result of British policies… blah blah. When I was studying Economics in college, these were the same things I had studied. Out text books haven’t changed at all. And most importantly for how long will we keep blaming Britishers for the mess we are in, how about the mess that our politicians have created since Independence and continue to create. Are they not more responsible for the state of our country and not letting our country grow?

Who is a millionaire: Slumdog or Christian Colson/Danny Boyle?

I am confused not because why Jamaal Malik could speak fluent English and that too in British accent, also not how he got his name ( Jamaal is a Muslim and Malik is a Hindu surname) but I am confused about what has really appealed to people about this 2 hours movie. For sure movie goers don’t go to see filthy slums and all that comes along with it. Have people found the slums, the open drains and children playing on the mound of garbage so beautiful? Sure not. SDM portrays out of the box thinking and it is very creatively done. Two truths – first truth this story can be about any slum dweller minus the millionaire part. The second truth – this movie is a hit at the box office and has won 11 nominations for Oscars (that’s old truth now). As they say the proof of the pudding is in eating. Since Slumdog is doing very well it means it has made lot of business sense for Christian Colson to produce and Danny Boyle to direct this movie. Would this movie still be a hit if it wouldn’t have got a single nomination for Oscar? No idea. Anil Kapoor dominantly portrays himself in all the photographs splashed in media about Oscar nominations as if he is the main character, the fact is though he has screen presence throughout the entire length but he has a very insignificant role. It would have been the same thing even if anyone else were there in the hot seat.
Now Slumdog has shown us Dharavi – India’s biggest slum and introduced us to real slum children.
“How pathetic!”, “Nice movie but sad, how people live in these conditions!”, “Inhuman, we should not take kids for this movie, why show them these truths about India!”, “What foreigners must be thinking about India?” That’s how most of us would have reacted after watching this movie. Britisher Danny Boyle has made loads of money by showcasing India’s poverty, dingy slums, maimed beggars and the world is going ga ga over Litika, Saleem and Jamaal- India’s slum kids. The truth is this movie is half real but for the three slum kids who were picked up from Dharavi slum to play three main characters. Their natural acting made a BIG contribution to its success. The least the producer can do is take charge of their life, send them to best schools and support them economically till they become adults and open the doors of opportunity for them to become real life millionaires or else they will remain as slumdogs.
Caution: Don’t take your small children for the movie. Some scenes in the movie leave inerasable impressions on the mind. And yes, adults must watch for the pleasure of watching an Oscar nominated movie

Hong Kong




High rise buildings is the first thing that you notice as you drive from Hong Kong airport to your hotel. This airport is claimed to be world’s largest airport. I don’t know if it is the largest but it is really massive. HK is a concrete jungle; you will crave to see patches of greenery. In spite of hardly any trees or plants grown on the sides of roads there is no pollution. at least you don’t feel it in the air. It is all very clean. Hong Kong and Thailand offer different things to tourists and cannot be compared . HK is very well planned bu it was all very mechanical , it is like any western country which is now getting tinges of China.
Disney Land Resort was great but if you have been to US Disney World then it is a baby. Euro Disney in Paris is bigger and better than this one. If you are staying in any of the hotels inside the park Hollywood Hotel or Disney Land resort then you get one complementary visit to the park so you get two days to the park at the cost of one. If you rush up you can finish it in one day. There are no wet rides, only dry rides. Both these hotels are excellent but only Disney Land Resort hotel offers breakfast with cartoon characters, also it is quite much expensive as compared to Hollywood. If you are staying in any of these hotels then you must spend some time going around the hotel. It offers exotic locations for photo shoots, models of cars used by Hollywood actors in the hot movies are on display so you stand against them and get your pics clicked. You can spend hours together going and looking around the place. Christmas time is very colorful time and is good time to be at the park, the shows are superb you should not miss any of those, if you are in hurry miss the rides but don’t miss the shows they are awesome. The park is open from 10 to 8 pm. It was warm even in end of December but next day it snowed in China and HK became very cold so during winters you need to carry both kinds of clothes.
I love to make new friends when on a holiday. We met Praveen and Vibha and their 5 years old son Aryan, a cute happy go lucky family from Kolkata. . It happened to be Aryan’s b’day that day. Rahul and Aryan got along very well.
Ocean Park is another must on tourist list, in fact this one takes more than a day so if you are short of time, start early. Here too don’t miss the shows; if you are adventurous and love the thrill of rides then this is the place for you. There are lots of thrilling rides. Turbo drop tops the list. Do not even venture into this if you have a weak heart. It first uplifts you to a height of 100 meters and then suddenly drops you down in a free fall. Though you are fully tied and secure but it is a virtual free fall, it is worth trying once. Just the thought of it is enough to scare your wits away.
Besides Ocean Park, Peak Tram is another place which will keep you occupied for one evening, it also houses Madame Tussad museum, this one is not as big as the one in London but if you have never seen original even this one is very good. Nikhil had a great time getting photographs clicked with each and every wax statue. He wanted to post all those on orkut. In our 10 days trip we took 1500 pics altogether. I preferred the times of non digital cameras with rolls. The pics came out better coz you thought twice taking a pic but in digital you just go on and on without even anyone or anything in frame. Moreover nothing like the luxury of getting your rolls printed and watching the album whenever you want , though you can do even in digital camera but it is not a must and you end up not doing it. It is almost three weeks since we came back but still haven’t sat down to view all the pics. I hope I get the time to look at these pics before the next vacation. During our last trip to Europe we took with us seven rolls, I love to look at the colorful pics in the album. Well, advanced technology comes with ifs and buts
Coming back to HK, Ladies Market gives you a taste of India; it reminded me of lajpat Nagar, Delhi. Here you will find women selling all sorts of things from bags to clothes to souvenirs in make shift market. This market tests your bargaining skills. Living in India this is not a problem for us. They will quote $ 600 HK and give you for half of it. If you want to enjoy and soak into it, you need at least half a day or else you can pick a few things in an hour and done with it.
Night Market though it is called men’s Market but it is for all – you get lots of chunky jewellery, clothes, bags, toys. Here too negotiation is the rule of the game. If you want to savor typical Chinese food at reasonable price then this is the place. It is open till 12 midnight. I appreciated two things in HK – firstly lot of ladies are working women , anywhere you go you see ladies are manning the show. Secondly it is all very safe to be out even till 12 night. We were out till 11.30 with children roaming on the streets but can we think of staying out in NY, Paris, Delhi or even Bangalore ?
HK is a gourmet’s delight if you are a non vegetarian and is adventurous enough to try new varieties. HK is not very expensive but it is more expensive than Thailand.
If you are going all the way, you can cover a few near by places like Macau; there are day’s conducted tours from HK.
Like all other countries in South East Asia, HK too takes tourism really seriously and earns good revenue from it. There are lots of places of tourist attraction, it is best to dedicate five full days for HK.

Ghajini

Twice I went to watch Ghajini but the tickets were sold even before the window opened.
“Let’s get the tickets in black?” coaxed hubby.
“No way! I will not even pay Rs 5 extra for a ticket bought in black, it is against my principles”
I didn’t want to be third time unlucky so I booked the tickets well in advance.
The movie is going houseful. It is all in all an Aamir Khan movie. Only Aamir Khan could have carried this movie well on his shoulders alone. The script is great; there is not a single boring moment. The plot is gripping, till the end you don’t know what the end would be. Aamir Khan looks awesome; you would drool over his looks. Music is also cool.
The first half has shades of a movie from 70’s starring Asha Parekh and Shashi Kapoor, (can’t remember the name). Asha Parekh teaches dance in a prestigious dance school. Like our Ghajani heroine, she pretends to be in love with a business tycoon but she mistakes the business tycoon to be the driver of the tycoon and falls in love with the driver. It is a jackpot for her when she comes to know the true identity of the driver. Well, that was love story, this one is not.
“But what is the theme of the movie?” asked Lata whom I was convincing to watch the movie just once.
Theme! Ghajani is about violence and revenge. It is the story of revenge. It is brutal violence, something that you won’t like to even imagine. The scene where Kalpana is hiding in her room and goondas are looking for her everywhere to kill her, she doesn’t know if she will survive, she knows they will trace her ultimately, praying hard for some miracle to happen, reminded me of real people trapped in their rooms in Taj and Oberoi hotels when they knew the gun trotting terrorists will break open their doors and come inside any moment to kill them. They must have prayed really hard for some miracle to happen.
Though I took my children along but it is advisable not to take them for this movie. Are we teaching the new generation that it is cool to be revengeful? Living in a world where hardly a day passes without any news of violence in one or the other part of the world – bomb blasts, terror attacks , murders , rapes, scams , people killing each other for gain, revenge … these are part of our daily doze. Should there be movies which propagate violence and revenge? Is it okay to be revenge the only motive of your life?
Don’t know whether cinema imitates real life or vice versa.
More dreadful than the actual violence in the movie is the fact that Ghajini is a super hit movie. What have people find irresistible in the movie? Aamir Khan’s charming looks, his powerful acting, direction, script, songs or are we becoming immune to violence?

Oh mere Rabba…

I am unable to decide whether I liked the movie and if I liked , then what did I like in the movie. If you want to watch Re Ne…. because you are a die hard fan of Shahrukh and you like him because of his macho image. Mind you …it is completely unlike Shakrukh movies. The scirpt writer didn’t have much to write about. Infact I doubt whether a full fledged script for this movie was written. The script writer got little confused , he wanted to write something different for SRK and I think he went too far off. Yash Chopra wanted to show Punjab, punjaban, gole gappe, punjab dee galian , barish so he made this movie. The new comer Anushka Sharma is a fresh face but totally non glamorous. In both the roles, SRK one as anushka’s husband and another as her boy friend ( yes… she is newly married but she has a boy friend but there is no triangle in the movie. It is a circle where it begins and ends with Shahrukh Khan),he looks totally unlike SRK.
SRK looks typical husband material the boring variety type who either knows how to bury his head in the laptap or talk in monosyllables. If you are already there in the theatre just enjoy watching Amritsar , Golden temple , gol gappe wali galli , paranthe wali gali etc and don’t go for logistics like why a wife is unable to recognize her husband when he is without mustaches.

Guess who is who in this picture!


See what make up can do to people especially women. The Lions Club team represented by eleven Lion ladies gave a scintillating performance (Not my words, that’s what everyone is telling!). Though we focused on doing our best and enjoying ourselves, the 3rd prize came as an ‘add on’. Not only dancing on the D day, we enjoyed practicing and preparing for it. We are definitely going to miss that now.
Some of us were stepping our foot on stage for the first time and were really nervous but we kept telling ourselves – let’s do our best and forget about whether we get the prize or not ( we are so used to telling these dialogues to our children that now we can go on efforlessly about such talk !!)
Dancing apart we discovered many things during the three weeks practice sessions-

• We formed a few new friendships.
• Deepika was reluctant to dance as she had always believed that she had two left feet. To her pleasant surprise she has now discovered that like every one else she too has one right and one left foot
• Rama Raghvan and Rasika are indispensable; we couldn’t have managed without them. They were there not only to give us physical and moral support but also to make sure that we put our best foot forward.
• Divya is a great host. She opened her heart , house and kitchen to make sure that we felt at home