Friday, November 6, 2009

Sachin 175

5th Nov’09 –
Australia bt India by 3 runs

6th Nov’09 –
Sometimes you don’t want to think about the past, not because the experience fails to be as rich as in the moments when you actually were a part of them, but more for the unacceptability of the fact that the events have ended and are now a part of history. Sometimes you want to go back in time just enough to make a small correction.

Sachin Tendulkar must be feeling the same.

A score of 350 on board can shore up the confidence of any team defending that total and if it’s from Australia then a victory should have been a stroll in the park. There isn’t any need to take note of the Australian bowling attack as the bowlers when required to defend such a total need only be half decent as their best. The team chasing such a score would have already buckled under the weight of the required run rate proving yet again that a score of over 300 can be a sure reason for victory.

But the story that unfolded yesterday was more than just of a team succumbing to defeat. It was of defiance – a defiance so determined to go against the natural order of the day that one starts to wish for the surreal. What Sachin did a day ago would be preserved in the cricket almanac as the day when he attempted to defy the will of Gods.

It was a story scripted by the vivid expressions on the faces of two men on the field – Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. While Sachin showed the stoic determination of a defiant resolved to change the course of fate, Ricky on the other hand wore an anxious look drained by the suspense that kept him on tenterhooks. With even the last man standing for India sending the ball into the stands and along with that a chill down the spine, Ricky must have made several nervous entries in his mental logbook before the match was formally declared over.

Ricky knew that to get to the target India would require heroics from Sehwag, Yuvraj or Dhoni. Sachin wouldn’t have figured in his scheme of things, as strangely many, just as he, have started recognizing Sachin as a spent force. Sehwag would have been the primary target. The world of cricket knows that Sehwag is like a ticking bomb – when it explodes you are blown away to smithereens. So it was imperative for Australia to get him away from action as soon as possible. For India it was imperative that he stick around to give the much needed momentum and perhaps also a victory. Sehwag obliged the Australians. The celebration in the Aussie camp, the smile on Ponting’s face, the enthusiastic punches in air – all reminded sights of familiar celebrations when some time ago Sachin’s dismissal used to bring untold joy to the opponents. Grimness however soon returned to Ponting’s face as he knew too well that Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni could still address the issue. One by one the three musketeers fell and left the Indian camp in disarray. Australians were all set for a thumping victory!

But why was Ponting not looking as jubilant as others in his team did? Surely his bowlers, ignominiously labeled second-rate, had dismissed with equal disdain the formidable Indian batting line-up. What was holding him back from rejoicing and being content at the only result which every one had already assumed? Indeed what!?

The diminutive figure of Sachin Tendulkar was still on crease.

Wisdom has always preached that the tip of an iceberg belies its enormity beneath water. Amidst all the carnage on the pitch Sachin had quietly plucked away some quick runs. No one had the faintest suspicion that that clutch of a few runs was just the preview of what was to come. On an otherwise bright and sunny day the crowd would have rooted for Sachin and bayed for another merciless hundred. But this time around the raucous enthusiasm from the crowd was missing thereby further lending belief to the fact that he had already been unceremoniously pushed to the corners of everyone’s psyche like a useless grenade that wouldn’t even better a Diwali cracker. Yet, encased in that helmet emblazoned by the tricolor, Sachin’s mind had already worked out how he would demolish the Aussie celebration. The worry on Ponting’s face was only understandable as he knew too well of what Sachin was capable of and the beating, which recently his team had received downunder at the hands of Sachin too would have served as a gentle reminder.

It didn’t take much time or effort on Sachin’s part to materialize Ponting’s worries. Sachin just needed some stability at the other end of the wicket and when it did come in the form of Suresh Raina, the proceedings took a fresh turn.

Remarkable was the audacity and the arrogance with which Sachin wielded his bat. He batted with such command at his disposal that predicting a four or a six became an interesting game of matching one’s guesses with Sachin’s whims. Power and control were literally exuding from the centre of the field where Sachin stood deciding when to step on gas or just play around for a few singles. Seeing Sachin nudging now and unleashing then, Ponting couldn’t have helped anxiety take the better of him. You get frustrated if your fielders disappoint you but what do you do besides feeling helpless if the shots are played with such precision that the only job left for the fielder is to fetch the ball every now and then from the boundary!

Then there were these gems of moments essayed on the field which made the match even more engrossing. In the course of his innings, Sachin executed a sparkling shot from a very good delivery. It came suddenly in a flash and surprised everyone as it stood out amongst the array beautiful shots he had played. A testing delivery on a nagging line and length got released from the hand of the bowler, hit the deck to rise in a bounce menacingly towards the off-stump; en route came Sachin’s bat and the ball found itself piercing the gap between point and an uppish third man. The disbelief that such a gap’s existence could even be conceived was evident by the expressions on the faces of Ponting and the bowler, who gathered the remaining shards of his shattered pride and went back with drooping shoulders to prepare for his next beating. Some shots were executed with such ease and method that the bowler didn’t even bother to stop and contemplate but rather taking the result as a foregone conclusion simply walked away.

Some of the best moments were the non-cricketing ones such as when Sachin walked up to the umpire to clarify on the batting power-play. The commentators by their analysis had already proclaimed that the power play was long due but Sachn’s insistence on delaying the decision perplexed not only the pundits but also Ponting. Ponting had more things to worry about. Sachin was already going at a run-rate that didn’t require a power play; now to add a power play to that would be calamitous by any standards. With Ponting mulling over the possibilities, Sachin was observed walking up to the leg umpire to have a word. The effect of this brief conversation was felt a few feet away where Ponting was standing. Ponting gathered the obvious nature of the conversation and barely managed to hide the concern on his face. He turned his away only to contend an uninspiring countenance of a bowler staring at an uncertain fate. The element of drama that this scene captured could have beaten any cinematic brilliance known till date.

When Titanic set sail, it epitomized the human endeavor of equaling the might of Gods. Gigantic in scale and hope, it almost achieved what it had set out to but not before Gods had their will lest the humans succeeded.

Sachin scored half the runs required to win. Colossal on score board, the runs were sailing India towards a fantastic victory. And all this happened before Gods said – you must stay human. Sachin looped a shot into the hands of a fielder. It was a shot played almost as instructed. The mighty sank. And none of others could hold on to keep victory from slipping away. Some still fought in the sinking tide. Praveen, cricketer from a house of pahalwans, produced a six out of thin air. Lo and behold! Is there still life in this match? What’s the equation? Can India do it?

The match went down as one of the most memorable knocks of Sachin. India lost, Sachin won. Selfish? No. You should have seen the match.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wake up Sid - Review

It isn’t hard to guess the story of a movie titled Wake up Sid. The title, a figurative way of asking Sid to grow up, tells half of the story but in doing so it doesn’t take away the fun from watching the movie; rather as one must have got the drift by now the title alludes to the predictability pervading the movie from start till end.

But here’s the catch – the movie does manage to do justice to the theme alright. The movie harks back to a similar take on the subject some years ago when Hrithik stood undecided and confused in a movie called Lakshay. What Lakshay had set out to achieve and had failed miserably has been captured pretty much the right way as it should have been in the Hrithik starrer too. Whereas Lakshay couldn’t decide whether it was a war movie or a love story or even coming of age story of a boy, something it all the time intended to do, Wake up Sid, on the other hand, sticks to the concept and conveys the same through a simple and straight forward story.

Sid, played by Ranbir Kapoor, is a drifter in life and is yet to wake up to his responsibilities. A college going guy who loves cars, video games, partying, hanging out with friends, and surprisingly has a very arid love life, Sid thrives on his father’s money and intends to continue on the same note. A chance encounter with Aisha, played by Konkana, and a tumultuous final year performance set the tone for the rest of the movie.

Notable performances include that of Ranbir and Konkana, of course, but a special mention of Supriya Pathak who plays the role of Sid’s doting mother also deserves space. The subtle cameo of Supriya in the movie easily underlines the pampered upbringing Sid might have had and beautifully fits in the entire picture.

The movie, however, dilly-dallies with the sexual chemistry between Aisha and Sid and seems to have met a crossroad where it is sometimes tempted to bring it up in the form of a discussion between Aisha and her neighbour or strangulates it by Aisha’s over-emphasizing demand to keep the relation platonic.

At the end it is a simple and predictable movie and within its own set of limitations has achieved what it had set out to.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - review

Ok. The movie is watchable. And that is as far as i will go. Going beyond that would be painful for me and i would protest if asked to do so.

The movie is watchable on account of three reasons - Deepika's glowing beauty, cute intersperses of the mysterious newcomer aka Harleen and last but not the least, Saif Ali Khan. Saif is present all over the place. And when i say this i mean to say that he is actually all over the place to the extent that there are some scenes where the other person is reduced to a mute spectator even when the director would have felt, much secretly, that there was indeed some scope for the other actor to utter, if not say, a few lines.

This is the third movie from Imtiaz and quite expectedly the expectations from this movie were high, and not just because of the star cast, but also because of the fact that his earlier movies like Jab we met and Socha na tha were such hits. But this movie disappoints you. You find some great scenes in the movie but you are still left searching for something far basic that makes a movie good. And here, that basic thing is the story. I couldn't find a story in this movie. The characters kept floating in and out of the scenes and a sub plot, roots of which lie in the character played by Rishi Kapoor, is used as a prop, and, quite interestingly, it is this prop that turns out to be the best part of the movie.

The movie might remind you of HumTum. The character of Saif is a continuation of what he played in HumTum, and also to complete the effect there is the presence of Rishi Kapoor, but this time not as a father though. There is also almost a borrowed scene of Saif playing video games much the same way as in HumTum. And i guess this repetition helped Saif to slip into his character with such ease that you can't imagine anybody else playing this role other than him. No questions then that his performance gets full points. Talking of performance, Rishi Kapoor deserves respect in the industry and somebody should really start giving him meatier roles. Really a supporting role but woefully brief, Rishi Kapoor's character had the potential to add weight to the script. Deepika, other than smiling and staring, didn't have much to do even if she had wanted because as i said earlier Saif was all over the place - in the script i mean. And as if to compensate this, scenes involving Deepika are quite considerately shot to allow her face occupy more than half of the screen each time she appears. Well, at least, there is something for her fans! Rahul Khanna makes a mysterious appearance in the film and before you realize anything makes a mysterious disappearance. Same can be said about 'Harleen Kaur' - the other love in the movie, but she is afforded the grace of three dialogues and also a song.

Lacking a tight and gripping script, the movie desperately tries to fill in the void by some breath taking shots of the Golden Gate, San Fransisco, the city skylines in UK and US, and songs that take you back to the 'naagin' era. A lot of time is wasted by dilly-dallying to establish a point and this makes the experience a test of patience. There is also seen a deliberate attempt of wooing the younger audience by introducing certain elements like the concept of a 'breakup' party, and frequent uses of phrases like 'khulla saand'.

Love Aaj Kal is at best a picturesque commentary of love then and now and is thus just a watchable movie. In spite of some peppy music the movie isn't a one that will trouble the memory for long.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Papu can't dance...but why 'sala'!!??

Every year the Oxford dictionary announces a list of words that gets absorbed into the English vocabulary. The words, coming from various languages, are so popular in their usage that it deems only logical to formalize their inclusion into the Queen’s language. While the English language grows and becomes a mirror of the global English speaking populace, the same applies to other languages. However regional a language be it continuously picks up pariah words that trade mouths and ears with increasing frequency and keeps up its pace with the changing times. The language, Hindi, is no exception.

There might not yet be an official body for the Hindi language to exalt the status of a word to Hindi’s esteemed vocabulary, but a general acceptance of a word is good enough to make it a part of common parlance. What is ‘general’ acceptance? It’s the use of such a word in popular media thereby making a word de facto member of the vocabulary. This is, indeed, a very good method of making a language more inclusive and representative of the character of a nation, and for a nation as large and diverse as India a language like Hindi, fast absorbing flavors from various parts can only bring in a sense of oneness.

But what happens if the growth of a language is tempered by commerce? Does commerce warrant enough responsibility and concern over the social impact of a word when included in the vocabulary of a language?

Movies and the entertainment industry, meeting ground of commerce and popular media, have had an impact which needs no verification. But are there enough regulations (even self-regulations) in place within the industry to check its potentially harmful effects on society? There have been such debates earlier, most notably the one where actors were asked to shun the use of cigarettes and other such stuffs to keep youths away from getting influenced. I believe it’s a matter of choice of an individual and art should not be stifled merely if the will and intelligence of an individual cannot help him or her to make an informed choice. However, when it comes to a language, the matter acquires a different dimension.

Lately, there has been a profusion of songs where words, which at best qualify as vulgar (or even abusive), have made their way into songs. One such song – Pappu can’t dance sala, got AR Rahman the Filmfare award. Rahman had the good sense of admitting that the choice of words in the song wasn’t much to his taste and was thus hesitant to compose the music for it; nevertheless, the song with its peppy music became a chart buster and today is identifiable with the youth. There’s another one – Sala tu to kaam se gaya. There are many more examples of similar ‘item numbers’, like Ishq Kameena, which have become almost a regular feature in the movies. This growing acceptance is worrisome and is resulting in even bolder, louder and vulgar products from the industry. If one thought that such words were limited only to songs then it’s time to update oneself with the name of a much anticipated movie – Kameeney. Even while we ‘eagerly’ await this movie to release, the latest movie to hit the screens, Kambakht Ishq, has taught us new words of endearments for our blue-eyed boy and girl - ‘dog’ and ‘bitch’.

It is just a matter of time when the legitimacy accorded to this decadence by public figures, helps garnish dinner table conversations with words picked up from songs and other sources, and mama, papa, beta and beti gleefully exchanging invectives along with pickles and bread.

An ‘awakened’ media often imposes checks using technology (read ‘mute tone’ or pixilated screen) to prevent the audience to see or hear what is objectionable. But they often take liberty of these very methods to show more of objectionable content. An example is the prolific use of ‘mute tones’ in reality shows like ‘MTV Roadies’. There exists a perception helped by what is shown during the interview sessions and during rest of the show, that possession and appreciation of a ‘good vocabulary’ often helps one’s chances of becoming a Roadie. Case in point is a participant, who almost managed to win the show, and is now one of the ‘celebrities’ who will be taking part in a new reality show from Sony – Mujhe iss jungle se bachao. If ‘Roadies’ is a program for youth and this is how the youth of today talks and behaves then the entire idea of promoting such a show is highly revolting. What is even more disturbing is the passive reception of the unchecked media taking center stage in our lives and the growing tolerance towards this by the younger generation that is besotted by the romance of a fast-paced life and a ‘chalta hai’ attitude.

I would disagree if the tone and tenor of words above sound orthodox because it is a matter of grave concern if a language is allowed to be sullied by words driven by commercial interest. Words and expressions laced with sexual innuendos or otherwise outright invectives are so easily slipping into public consumption, courtesy media, that imagining literature of class and beauty in future would reduce to an academic exercise and not a reality.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pakistan wins!!

Pakistan has won the second edition of T20 World Cup, which saw the early exits of teams like Australia, India in super Eights and S Africa in the semis. The victory can be nonetheless sweeter given the kind of events that have taken place in Pakistan in the past few months.

The start of their T20 journey could hardly have been termed ideal - losing to their arch-rivals, form of their bowlers not really encouraging and the perennial unrest that the team suffers within. In a very pragmatic move the decision of re-calling Abdul Razzaq into the national side paid dividends as the spike in their performance can largely be attributed to his presence. Razzaq had joined ICL but was recalled for national duty after he left ICL, quite unlike a fortune of Indian players who even after leaving ICL are to serve a period of exile as a 'punishment'. Sounds like a school!

In a way Pakistan deserved to win this T20 WC. The last WC too could have gone their way with the match perfectly balanced and some fine performance by Misbaah, including the last, now-famous, 'Misbaah-shot' landing the cup in Sreesanth's hands. Sounds illogical but it appeared as if there couldn't have been any better result than this - Pakistan winning the Cup and getting its due. Use any methodology of analysis, the fact is that they are the current champions thus proving themselves as better than any other team in the tournament.

In all this the Indian team slipped from its haloed pedestal with people calling its last victory as flash in the pan and the captain and his players as blue-moon wonders. Nasser Hussain remarked that Indians were done in by their technical inability to tackle bouncers. Some others, in fact many, have pointed out the exhausting cricket calender that the team had prior to the WC. This author believes that there were some very silly decisions taken on the field, but reasons amounting to India's early exit can be numerous. What remains to be seen is how does the Indian cricket shapes up from now on and whether learnings are translated into meaningful actions.

Meanwhile its Eid in Pakistan! Well done Pakistan on a most deserving victory and may this victory unite the nation and keep it in peace!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

कुछ रोज़ युहीं...

कुछ रोज़ युहीं गुज़रते हैं
खुद से बातें करके
कभी ख्यालों में, कभी यादों में
गुम रहके 
यूँ भी हुआ है कभी
जब आँखें टिकी हों किसी पर
और थक से जाते हैं
वो एक खाली नज़र से 

सन्नाटे हैरान रहते हैं 
मेरी बे-खयाली पर
शोर भी अपनी जिल्लत पे बेचैन
हो उठते हैं
खफा वो लम्हे जो आकर
बस थम से गए हैं
अपनी अनसुनी शिकायत
पर खामोश खड़े रहते हैं

शायद चाँद की दास्ताँ
मुझसे अलग नहीं 
उसकी रौशनी में 
अब वो चांदनी नहीं 
बरामदे में बैठ 
कई रातें गुजरी हैं 
जब उसकी तन्हाई धीमे से 
नीचे उतरी है 

कुछ रोज़ अब यूँ भी गुज़रते हैं 
जब खामोशी में चाँद से
बातें होती हैं
पीली पढ़ती ये चांदनी
रात में सूख जाती है
और टिम-टिम्माते तारे
बेबसी में बुझ जाते हैं 
गुज़रा हुआ कल
आखरी हिचकी लेता है
और रात की काली में हम
गुम हो जाते हैं  ...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

IPL blues!!

Yellow, yellow dirty fellow! Blue, blue God bless you! Do you remember these childhood ditties? It came back rushing to me the other evening when I saw Deccan win the IPL contest. 

Is there something about this blue color that gives the wearer an edge over others? It may sound superstitious but the turnaround of Deccan from their prior performance begs to differ. The only notable change which the team brought on the field was the color! The previous winners of IPL were Rajasthan Royals. And what was their color? Blue! In fact, this time around all the blue adorning teams did well. Mumbai started off well but then Deccan and Rajasthan had a deeper shade of blue, so more of God’s blessing, and the result is there to be seen. Even the cheerleaders were looking prettier in blue than in any other color, I swear! 

I guess KKR can effect this change in their strategy. Call it color therapy or anything but a blue outfit might very well change their luck. If they can afford four captains and as many coaches, then why not consider changing the color of their outfit? At least they won’t step out on the field wearing the color of doom.

Let’s bring out more colors from the IPL closet.

Mandira, the one n’ only Mandira, decided to kick start the IPL campaign with a bang louder than the cosmic equivalent. An ambivalent Modi might have asked her contribution to ensure more eyeballs to the tv sets back home, and Mandira, ever the champion of such philanthropic causes must have obliged gracefully. The opening match - and she came out wearing an outfit supported by noodle (or chow Mein?) straps. Poor thing! She completely misread the fashion thermometer in S Africa, which was resonating in ‘brring’ winter, and had to redo her wardrobe with oversized coats and jackets! Oops! There trips the TRP. No, not as much as it is learnt that she, and others, (I love watching cricket these days!!) did not, however, fail to contribute to the rising global temperature.

One such occasion was the ‘secret singing competition’ held at Cape Town where the competitors were the IPL stars. The IPL stars, as is widely known, include Cheerleaders, SRK, my favorite Mandira, Lalit Modi, and the happening commentators like Danny Morrison, Robin Jackman et al. [The order of names is important.] And, yes, the sundry players were also invited. So this ‘secret singing competition’ saw some new and some latent talents emerge from amongst the who’s who of IPL fraternity. SRK made his presence felt through the satellite (read webcam) when he sang, “Only the lonely.... know how I feel tonight… only the lonely...". The sentiment was well expressed for it is believed that what followed was an uncomfortable silence. Breaking the silence, Mandira raised her voice and person to sing, “Girls just wanna have fun!” and in doing so raised the spirits of Danny and Robin. In moments both were found dancing alongside ma’am and as they broke into sweat people learnt a new law of thermodynamics – the high entropy of a thermodynamic system can have magical effects on nearby thermodynamic systems.

While Mandira did have her moments, the one consistent performance throughout the IPL under all trying circumstances was that of the cheerleaders. Not withstanding the dipping mercury or the minimum protection that they chose to have, their performance was roundly appreciated and applauded. Some cheerleaders, however, did complain that people failed to recognize them when they were not on the field. That is abject falsehood. I, at least, do recall the face of one when she thrust her face into the camera to obstruct the view of her beautiful legs! The extravaganza also put to rest the contention of whether the cheerleaders have brought a breath of freshness to the game. This was efficiently verified by Danny Morrison who risked his life (or wife?) when he shouldered the burden of a cheerleader, quite literally, or on occasions lapped up a conversation with cheerleaders with the beauties quite fittingly sitting on his lap. 

As was expected, the IPL brought to light some exciting talent to the fore. Manish Pandey was one, but even he paled in comparison to the IPL debutant from East London – Dune Kosatz! She is the Ms Bollywood and can be expected to set the screens on fire – with some contribution from MNS workers. For the uninitiated, Ms Bollywood is the evangelical belief of IPL bosses to promote talent to Bollywood. This has been the express intent of IPL and SRK, who have felt that Film Institutes in India are not doing their jobs and a separate platform, never mind if it is cricket, is required to fish out talent. What an idea sirjee!! I suggest Ms Bollywood should be the main event and we can have a couple of matches thrown in to keep the livelihood of some people from going.    

But as they say – all’s well that end’s well. IPL has found its winner for this year. Next year it will be back again with lots of pomp and show, and of course, lots of colors too! In particular – blue. Amen!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Searching Within

MJ Akbar in one of his articles talks about right of expression vis-à-vis right of making an impression. There is a very thin line which divides the two and much too often this transgression by the latter into former is done without anybody sensing it. A case in point is the ubiquitous news channel.

No sooner had 26/11 entered the list of nouns in the language you presently read than the news channels all around went into an overdrive to churn out the best and worst of the episode. Since the information coming out of the official mouthpiece was same, various news-channels liberally applied the marketing principles to these nuggets of information, to sell them to the viewer. One headline shouted, “Scared Pakistan succumbing to pressure”; another said, “Kasab says I am Pakistani”; yet another said, “Defiant Pakistan rejects Indian evidence”. These rabblerousing headlines are as much provocative as the acts committed by the terrorists. That the much too evident complicity of Pakistan in the attacks had never escaped the public eye; to have these blatant attempts made by the media at influencing the viewer was far from necessary.

Statements like the ones mentioned above create an air of sensationalism and ride on jingoism. The attacks, as such, were meant to create sensation but such statements and postures by media, instead of helping sanity prevail in these times, coax knee-jerk reactions from various quarters of the society. You suddenly see protest march, night-vigils and half-baked truths floating around - all lending credibility to a heightened sense of frenzy. Would it then surprise anyone if a group of youths pick up arms and re-enact the attacks in Pakistan?

There is already enough evidence of how Pakistani media has molded the perception of its public by constantly feeding them with war rhetoric and a make believe threat from India. The right of expression, on which media thrives, has been taken for granted on both the sides and the gullible public has been treated to a customized truth to fuel the media’s TRP.

Some might say that media is only doing its job albeit in a bit ‘tasteful’ manner; however, one mustn’t forget that in this age of graphic visuals and details it is far too easy to influence the less informed. Truth must be told but to evoke responsibility and not frenzy. How do you think, an average Indian would have reacted to the attacks? First would have come the shock mixed with disbelief, then pain and sorrow at the loss, this would have been followed by the impatience to take revenge, and finally diplomatic delays and inaction would have supplanted revenge with cynicism for government and loathe for Pakistan. In all these, much too obvious, set of reactions there should have been an increased sense of responsibility prevailing in the news media to guide their viewer through the maze of truth and facts and help him get informed. However, all one has seen post 26/11 is a constant focus on Pakistan. It intrigues this author to note that in the aftermath of these attacks, and also after the series of ‘low/medium intensity’ blasts that took place recently in various parts of India, there wasn’t much interest shown by the media to highlight the rot that had set in the police system of the country. How many of us know that most of the CCTvs that had been previously installed in Delhi, particularly the ones found at the blast sites, were not at all functioning? According to foreign media, the ‘bullet-proof’ jackets worn by NSG were actually riot-proof jackets. Did the commandos have any good communication devices or night vision goggles? Why was it necessary to wait for a govt. aircraft to fly the commandos from Delhi to Mumbai when the govt. could have asked any commercial airline to ferry the commandos to Mumbai? Surely some arrangement of this sort could have been looked into in such times of national emergency. We cry for NSG centers in metros and also for a federal investigating body but does the media care to check whether the city police have an able and functioning command system in place? Why are the constables still pathetically carrying the ‘laathi’ and not also a communication set that may find its use when an incident takes place and the police machinery is immediately set into motion?

There are umpteen questions to be asked and yet many to look for but the media hasn’t been thoughtful of doing this. With such power at its disposal, media could have played a pivotal role in highlighting the sieve-like penetrable security system of the country; the concerned viewers anguish could have been mobilized to set in motion some productive reforms in the failing system. But the media has lost this opportunity in such an irredeemable way that all one can do is just reconcile with one’s hopelessness.

We cannot overlook or condone what our ‘friendly’ neighbor has done or has been doing. But its time that the media turns the spotlight inwards for a thorough and complete overhaul of the system.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

कुछ नया सा लगा

आज सुबह की ठण्ड में, हरे घास पे चलते हुए
कुछ नया सा लगा...
पिछले साल की नमीं अब भी जमीं हुई थी
पैरों में चुब्ती ठण्ड का एहसास कल सा ही था
पर न जाने क्यूँ, कुछ नया सा लगा

नीम की डाल पे बैठा परिंदा सिमटा हुआ
ज़िन्दगी से लड़ने को तैयार हुआ
कल भी यहाँ उसके बच्चों का शोर था
आज भी उनकी भूक में ज़ोर था
पर न जाने क्यूँ, कुछ नया सा लगा

मेरे कदम सहसा ही रुक पड़े
ये फूल तो कल भी यहाँ थे
रंगों में इनके कुछ ओंस के हीरे क़ैद थे
पर ये कलि यहाँ नही थी
लगता है ये यहाँ नयी थी
कुछ कहूँ कलि से मैं झुका
ज़मीन पे उसके करीब आ बैठा
उसकी भीनी खुश्बू मुझसे आ टकराई
किताबों में बंद सूखे फूलों की याद आई
जैसे कलि ने मुझसे कुछ कहा -
उन क़ैद गुज़रे लम्हों को आज़ाद कर
एक ज़िंदा लम्हा हूँ मैं, मुझसे प्यार कर

एक तोहफा शायद नए साल का
इन फूलों का, इस बहार का
बस ये याद दिलाता रहा
‘एक ज़िंदा लम्हा हूँ मैं…’
और न जाने क्यूँ, फ़िर,
कुछ नया सा लगा...