Friday 30 October 2009

On cloud 9!



OK so I'm floating in the air!!! There is a spring in my step and a smile on my face! And one of the reasons is a mail I wrote yesterday to an author I greatly admire. Let me give you a background. As a reader, I am inclined towards fiction. Non-fiction doesnt interest me much. Yet in my list of 4-5 best books read till date, there features a non-fiction book called "The City of Djinns" by William Dalrymple. It is a tribute to this city I love and cherish - Delhi. William came to Delhi with his wife in 1989 to write this book but the warmth of the city enveloped him such that he could never leave and settled right here. When I was on his website yesterday, I thought as a writer, I love it when people come and tell me what they liked in my work. So, I decided to write to him and do the same. Here is what it said:


Dear William,

I am quite certain that you get enough and more fan mail which makes me doubt that this mail will reach you. Nevertheless, there have been very few books which have made an impact on me like The City of Djinns did and as a writer myself, I felt its best to let you know that.

Born and brought up in Delhi, I have affection for the city that is difficult to understand or explain. Besides being a literary masterpiece in terms of the art of the language, the love that you have for the city reaches out from the book and grabs the reader. It is difficult for even the hardest of cynics not to soften when you whisper about the alleys of this city and the secrets it shares. The book is not a string of words but rather like an old woven quilt which is patched together with colorful pieces, each unique in its own way and yet collectively stunning.

It is strange that it sometimes takes someone from outside (though you have now lived here much longer than most of us) to rediscover the beauty of a city. Shantaram did the same for Mumbai though in a manner which was more about getting under the skin of the city. The City of Djinns unveils Delhi in a fashion which is elegant and almost ceremonial, layer by layer.

The book besides having a constant place on my bookshelf is also my favourite thing to gift to people I am close to. So that they can better understand a city which is so close to my heart.

Thank you for writing it.

Cheers
Harnoor



I thought that was the end of it, untill 2 hours later, I saw in my inbox - A REPLY FROM WILLIAM DALRYMPLE!!!!!!!!!!


Ah thanks Harnoor: what a sweet letter! Love to know what you'd make of my latest: Nine Lives, the only book I've written with no mention of Delhi!

W

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Monday 19 October 2009

Of love and friendship

True love is fodder for the cynics...but enduring love...now that is difficult to find in today's world. Love that stands the test of time....2 hearts that beat as one..its not just a tale from a story book my friends, it happens. Rarely its seen, but it does happen.

Childhood sweethearts. Thats what H & K have been. We've grown up together - all of us. The same group since junior school. I remember the days when K used to give me a ride to school in class 4 coz I didn't want to take the bus. Then in class 7th is when we met H and the rest of the guys who formed what we call 'our gang'. I dont know what it was, the age at which we were or what else but this friendship that formed all those years back, stuck with us till today. The guys for some strange reason would call themselves the 'Copper Gang' (I have a feeling it had something to do with them all endorsing the deo Copper!!!!)....and as cheesily, we would call ourselves 'Sweepstakes' (for the life of me, I cant remember why). As much as they would like to refute us, we believe K& H started liking each other in class 8th (they insist it was 10th). Whichever the case might be, they still go back 13 years!!

There are few things in life which are constant. But in our eyes, their love always was. Even when they would be unsure, we knew in our hearts that they were made to be with each other. H belongs to a rare breed of gentlemen who would do anything for a friend. And he has...stretched himself for all of us all these years. K is the light of our gang...always chirpy...always the imp!! Individually, they mean the world to us, collectively, they show us what love is about.

The engagement was yesterday (where we literally had to be pulled off the dance floor) and the wedding is in 2 days....the first wedding where I will dance with the Baaraat also and steal the shoes too!

An ode to our 2 best friends - may you always smile. Love you.

Friday 16 October 2009

Vacuity

Restless nights
And endless dreams
Waiting for
That never comes
False laughter
And fake smiles
To fool everyone
But if you look
Really deep into her eyes
You will find
The secret that she hides
For no matter how many people she is around
She is still really alone

Thursday 15 October 2009

A lil bit of magic...

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What an absolutely lovely evening yesterday. It’s refreshing to know that there is still some childish enthusiasm left in this world. I constantly squash my own wondering when “childish” became a thing not to be.

So it was a friend’s birthday yesterday. We suggested that he and his fiancĂ© - lets call them R & P, drop over in the night and we could have a nice dinner together. So I raced home after work, got my groceries and set about cooking. The menu - Cheesy macaroni with arrabiata sauce, Veg Au Gratin with pepper salami and garlic bread. In all my enthusiasm, I also baked a chocolate cake to be cut at midnight. But let’s not digress here. I am not the hero of this story.

The hero of this story is P – who went about all day talking to just about 100 vendors trying to figure out a crazy surprise for R. So finally when the clock struck 12, we blindfolded R and led him outside the house. When he opened his eyes, he saw the cake with candles on it and something that completely blew his mind! In front of him stood a buggy (carriage) pulled by 2 lovely white horses and decorated with 200 balloons. Amongst all the surprises he would have expected, this is one he would never have thought up of!! P had managed to find the buggy guy, get him to come on time, found a balloon guy who came and put all the balloons on the buggy…all by herself!



So there we went, the 4 of us on this crazy buggy, singing “Aelo aelo…aelo ji sanam hum aa gaye….” in the middle of the night on the roads of Noida for a ride. If we would have charged all those people who drove past us and tried to steal our balloons, we may even have made a profit. Or even put a fee on those who did a double take, rubbed their eyes and looked again to confirm that this was for real!

P – cheers to you. Its not often one meets someone who still believes in magic…and in creating it! You were awesome!!

Telecom cost for trying to find vendors: Rs.500
Cost of buggy: Rs.x
Cost of balloons: Rs.y
The look on R’s face when he saw this and the look he then gave P which said I-cant-believe-you-did-all-this-for-me : Priceless!!

There are some things money cant buy!

Thursday 8 October 2009

India in all its Glory!!

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If you ever had any doubts about the rich diversity of India, the cuisines, the languages, the cultures - this one is for you. A single snapshot of why one can tour India all their lives and yet never get bored....
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Tuesday 6 October 2009

Ek rahe Eer, ek rahe biir, ek rahe phatte aur ek rahein hum!!


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Let me tell you a very interesting story. When I was in Ahmedabad, my parents went and got a glass bowl with 3 gold fish in them. We decided to name them Eer, Biir and Phatte…after the song sang by Amitabh Bachchan. Eer, Biir, Phatte lived a great life – they would swim around all day and be fed yummy food (well ok, fish food)!

Then one fateful day, my mom came down from her room in the morning and found Biir floating on the water. We said a prayer and laid our lil pet to rest. Eer and Phatte continued to play with each other and live happily.

Then came the summer vacations when we had to make our annual pilgrimage to Delhi. Eer and Phatte were reluctantly handed over to our neighbors who promised to take care of them…alas, when we came back, only Phatte was to be found. Eer had left us too.

Phatte would swim around dejectedly and we just couldn’t take it anymore. So we went and got 2 more fish for its company and named them Heer and Ranjha. Heer – Ranjha made friends with Phatte quite fast and spent many a days frolicking around.

One fine day, my dad decided to give the glass bowl a wash. He gently put Phatte in the water jug followed by Ranjha. Unfortunately, my dear dad forgot (how though I don’t understand with it swimming under his nose) that Heer was left and there Heer went, down the drain (literally). I console myself with the thought that Heer must have gone on to live the life of the queen of the underground – with her looks, it wasn’t far fetched.

Nevertheless, there we were, left with our final 2 fish.

Imagine trying to explain to people why we had 2 goldfish called Phatte and Ranjha!!!

Friday 2 October 2009

"Wake up Sid" Reviewed

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Just got back from the hall and been wanting to review it asap. Finally a breath of fresh air. If you go back to my review of Jaane Tu Yaan Jaane Na, you will see that I mentioned thats its tough watching a film like this and not liking it. Somethings are just not made to be disliked...

Wake Up Sid revolves around the life of Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) who literally needs to wake up. A spoilt brat of a rich father, he doesnt see the need to grow up and deal with life. Until he meets Aisha (Konkana), a girl from Kolkata who has moved to Mumbai for the sole purpose of finding her own independence and her own space.

What follows is a predictable yet endearing tale of their lives and how Sid finally finds himself and the person he is.

A light film with a well written crisp script, you wont feel bored for a moment. The characters have been chosen well and each does his/her role justice. Be it Anupam Kher as Sid's dad, his mom, his friends or even the ever-so-hot Rahul Khanna. Each has a small role to play but they dont disappoint. The main leads Konkana and Ranbir do a great job. Konkana is witty in some scenes, sensual in some, exasperated sometimes and naughty in some. She is one of the few actresses I personally like, I truly think she's beautiful. Ranbir is clearly the rising star of bollywood. The camera loves him and he makes even the most mediocre scenes look good. He can do a spoilt boy tantrum with the same panache as an intense almost-lovers argument. He is one to watch out for...

The music of the film is catchy (Shankar - Ehsaan - Loy). Upbeat in parts, romantic and melancholy in some. I especially love the song Iktaara (lyrics at the end of the post).

The movie is a refreshing break from the action flicks coming out these days. Its one which will make you smile. Watch it.

Rating: 3.5 on 5

Paisa Wasool Moment: When Sid and Konkana fall asleep holding each other. Its just for a moment, but a moment that touched my heart....


Lyrics of Iktaara:

"Orey manva tu to bavra hai
Tu hi jaane tu kya sochta hai
Tu hi jaane tu kya sochta hai bavre
Kyun dikhaye sapne tu sote jaagte

Jo barse sapne boond boond
Nainon ko moond moond
(Nainon ko moond moond)
Jo barse sapne boond boond
Nainon ko moond moond
Kaise main chaloon, dekh na sakoon
Anjaane raastein

(chorous)
Gunjasa hai koi iktara iktara, gunjasa hai koi iktara
Gunjasa hai koi iktara iktara, gunjasa hai koi iktara
Dheeme bole koi iktara iktara, dheeme bole koi iktara
Gunjasa hai koi iktara iktara, gunjasa hai koi iktara

Sun rahi hoon sudh budh khoke koi main kahani
Poori kahani hai kya kise hai pata
Main to kisiki hoke yeh bhi na jaani
Ruth hai ye do pal ki ya rehgi sada
(kise hai pata… kise hai pata)

Jo barse sapne boond boond
Nainon ko moond moond
(Nainon ko moond moond)
Jo barse sapne boond boond
Nainon ko moond moond
Kaise main chaloon, dekh na sakoon
Anjaane raastein

Gunjasa hai koi iktara iktara, gunjasa hai koi iktara"