40 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Lose Yourself And Travel

If this isn’t inspiration then I don’t know what is. 🙂

Thought Catalog

“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown, eat interesting food, dig some interesting people, have an adventure, be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about, I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking twelve miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end…

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Remembering Maqsood Pardesi

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

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On 23rd September 2014 Maqsood Pardesi lost his life. He had gone to the National Zoological Gardens in Delhi to meet a tiger. The tiger killed him. He was 20 years old. Maqsood worked as a daily wage laborer and lived with his family under the Zakhira flyover in central Delhi. He is survived by his father Mehfuz Pardesi, his mother Ishrat, his brother Mehmood and his wife Fatima.

There are conflicting reports as to how Maqsood found himself en face a tiger. Several reports state that, despite being discouraged by a guard on two occasions, he managed to climb into the tiger’s enclosure when the guard’s attention wavered. Some reports suggest that he accidentally fell into it. The authorities have vigorously denied the possibility of accidental entry and contested the assignation of blame on the zoo, or the tiger, for Maqsood’s death. Other reports have dwelt on Maqsood having…

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Independence Day Eve Musings

 “There are miracles. All indicators are negative, but we don’t want to lose hope.”

– Admiral D.K. Joshi, Chief of Naval Staff, on the INS Sindhurakshak Mishap

My father was posted in the Andaman Islands at the time of the horrific earthquake and tsunami which struck the Indian Ocean back in 2004. It was a normal day and I woke up with the intention of doing absolutely nothing, which, for a student enjoying his/her Christmas vacation is only expected. As I freshened up and walked to my parent’s room for the customary morning greetings, I found them glued to the television. My father was talking on the landline worriedly and I ignored the conversation as I crossed him to cozily slide into my parents unmade bed beside my mother, however, the visuals I saw as my eyes scanned the screen seemed to clog all the blood that ran in my system and I felt weak.  Once I began to slowly digest the reality of what had happened, having my family with me at home was a feeling I couldn’t describe. He had taken the Christmas week off and had come home to spend time with us in Bombay and had luckily escaped the clutches of nature back in the Islands. It was an odd feeling of simultaneous relief and immense pain.

During March ’05 my family and I packed our bags and flew down to the Andaman’s to spend our summer vacation. As we were landing, I saw the islands, like encrusted emeralds in the blue ocean, glimmering under the sun, beauty that will never cease to exist. The following two months we toured the islands and along with feasting upon nature at its best we saw the ugly side of what the natural calamity had done, literally, it had changed the face of the islands forever. The Indhira Gandhi lighthouse, which marked the Southern-most tip of the Indian territory had now been grudgingly claimed by the Indian ocean.  We even made a stop at Nicobar before heading back home, which was a sight I will always be in awe of. Clean, crystal blue water lapping against the golden shores, marred with debris. I distinctly remember the remains of a three storey building with whatever was left of Maruti 800 vehicle.  The Islands have made a special impact on me and are much more than I ever imagined they would. Their enthralling beauty mixed with horrifying events that once shook the living out of them only makes them more extraordinary and somehow very dear to me. What adds to the surreal charm is the popular story of a particular temple situated on one of the islands, small yet untouched by the ravaging oceans as they uprooted hundreds of trees that surrounded it within seconds. As I visited it, there was this eerie calm as the idolized goddess smiled at me, omnipotent and omnipresent.

As we go about our daily mundane or otherwise activities, we seldom reflect upon the value of security and human life. I for one do not thank my stars or life or even those who have been instrumental in shaping my existence. I woke up normally just as I do daily, half an hour earlier actually to make time for my pet before I ran off to work and waste time existing there too and found my parents, both wearing unanimous worried expressions watching the television which usually is ignored till about 2030 hours. With a heavy heart I sat down and watched the sad news of the explosions aboard INS Sindhurakshak and prayed that all the personnel survived. The pet was ignored and was left outside to entertain itself. It had occurred around midnight and there was no way to begin rescue operations, not till the flames were doused, trapping the sailors and officers inside.

As the time passes, the chances of their survival seem bleaker and it becomes difficult for me to swallow the lump forming in my throat. Somebody’s father, a husband, a son, a soldier serving his nation and doing his duty is trapped inside the gutted 2,300 tonne machine and is hopefully, alive.

Almost as customary as my morning greetings, are the ranting of news channels which have anyway lost their purpose amidst their 24×7 droning. Immensely insensitive yet ‘crucial’ statements pertaining to the ‘security and preparedness of the nation’ and ‘possible sabotage’ are as expected taking importance over the condition of those unfortunate soldiers doing their duty. Personally, I agree that the above are important takes on the tragedy as well, the very cause for the fire is still unknown and should be investigated to ensure the same does not repeat again, however, the insensitivity with which the incident is being reported, hurts. I believe that there is ample time to discuss the same, once the need of the hour, which is rescuing those affected the most, is taken care of. Instead, it is appalling to see the way the Indian media decides to report the same.

I will go on to cite an example, which itself speaks volumes about where the attention of the media really is, a leading news channel (unnamed) releases an article online and explains “The disaster at midnight explained in 10 points”. The title itself irks the writer but I let it be because who has the time to read about tragedies like these anyway, right? The points are concise and help the reader paint a picture about the tragedy, focusing on what type of submarine it is, it’s previous repairs and costs, it’s weapons systems and how it is a blow for the nation perceiving threats from her not-so-friendly neighbor. 

However, the unpardonable error comes in where the channel gets the name of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, inaugurated just days back by the Honourable Defence Minister, INS Vikrant wrong.

“The accident comes just days after New Delhi trumpeted the launch of its first domestically-produced aircraft carrier, the INS Arihant..”

I make a note of the word “trumpeted” and clarify; the INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine and NOT an aircraft carrier. But who cares about such errors anyway? It is only a great moment in history as India joins 4 other countries in the world to achieve this. But we are too busy flinging mud at each other, defaming anyone if and when we can and separating states for political gains and blatantly ignoring serious threats to national security.

One day before the country celebrates her 67th Independence Day, proudly hoisting the flag while singing the national anthem and merrily wishing one another, while singing odes to those long gone heroes and martyrs who laid down their lives dreaming that we would see such a day and rejoice and thanking those currently serving by raising a toast towards them. However, I am no longer brimming with joy and no longer waiting to wish my fellow citizens.

 The patriot inside all of us is dying a painful death, patriotism having lost its real meaning to the people of this country, amidst all the hatred, communal distress, LoC violations, Black Money scams, continual discrimination and abuse of women and the pitfall of the rupee and thus the economy whilst the political system is failing, the bureaucracy cowering under it, filled with criminals who are now taking a stand against the higher courts regarding the law which will eliminate them from the Parliament like a water filter. Not to mention the obstreperous abuse of our privacy by security agencies and great misuse of power and authority; which was not envisioned by the forefathers of India who, with their sweat, blood and sacrifice gifted us our motherland.

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So before celebrating this year, take a minute to reflect, do you really think of our soldiers who gave up their lives for the motherland? Do you really mean what you say while chanting the national anthem?

Do you really respect the Armed Forces of your country?

 

 

 

 

Some Times – Bordering on Surreal (Full Review)

The much awaited Hindu MetroPlus Theatre fest ended with a play titled “Some Times” by the renowned Akvarious productions. Founded by director, screenwriter and actor, Mr. Akash Khurana, this production house has been spearheaded by his son Mr. Akarsh Khurana. Apart from this play, Akvarious has produced stellar plays like – ‘The Interview’, ‘Baghdad Wedding’ and ‘Rafta Rafta’. Thus, after reading the schedule and coming across this name, I was eagerly looking forward to some quality theatre after watching “The Interview” which won six awards during META 2011; it was about a life changing interview and was furbished up with classic dark humour.

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As my eyes skimmed through the page, the description made them twinkle with glee. The plot seemed very intriguing as who wouldn’t want to know more about Parmeetay (Karan Pandit), whose “night life would put Batman to shame”? As I took my spot in JT Performing Arts Centre, the state-of-the-art amphitheatre, tucked away in God’s Own Country, Kerala, I tried to lower my expectations just in case; which, as it turned out, was not required at all.

‘Some Times’ is a brilliant play, well crafted and thus very easy to relate to. It focuses on the life of a (seemingly) freshly squeezed out twenty-something graduate of the well known advertising world, from the Mad Men fame, a wannabe copyrighter complete with a prick of a boss with a gifted sense of humour mixed with temper, an exceptionally dumb and underrated yet lovable coworker and lots of deadlines being advanced faster than the birth of an idea in either of the three minds. However, it would only be incomplete without a justified, solely in my opinion, nagging girlfriend, who executes the role effortlessly and makes you almost want to scream at Pammi a.k.a Doggie a.k.a Parmeetay a.k.a Parmeet Duggal, the ad guy. His constant work stress in the unreliable and fast-paced private world along with Shreya constantly hounding him with questions pertaining to ‘their’ future, he’s quite a cynical guy. To add to the burdens hovering about his head like a halo of Satan, the story is incomplete without the typical Punjabi parents, the two, executed so well that you personally feel like explaining Pammy’s point of view to them over a chilled glass of Lassi. The disappointed businessman of a father watching his son struggle while choosing a (in his opinion) superficious and manipulative field where one tries to “sell thermal inners during summer” instead of lending a hand to the business created by the ‘sweat and blood’ of the grandfather. Complete with his mother, the pudgy mother who seldom voices her opinion and is probably the winner of “Aloo Paratha of the Year” award. As seen in too many households across the nation, she’s fed up of her son’s eccentricities yet loves him enough to shield him from the angry father. With superb acting and great dialogue, sitting in the audience I feel like the quintessential neighbor, ‘Sharma Aunty’, spying on their lives, it’s that real.

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Finally, coming to the much awaited part of Pammy’s nightlife; along with top class weed and whiskey, which according to many people, is a winning combination as the antidote for a miserable life. Post-work, Pammy, under the pretext of work, ‘chills’ with his buddies after and unwinds sipping on whiskey and rolling some joints. Among other gems that make up their psychotropic substance influenced conversation is the “Daddy Song” which is sung very religiously, to roars of laughter from the audience, after the revelation of the fact one of the friend’s mother’s having been physically abused by her husband.   During one of these nights, they are invited by an old classmate to a discotheque and are then subjected to MDMA, which is then ingested by an irate Pammy the following day. This day prevents to be most eventful for two reasons, for his behavior under the influence of the drug and primarily because it eerily turns out as his last day on Earth.

Complete with a strong plot, good dialogues, insanely effective humour and quality acting, this play is the perfect mix of realism and surrealism. With an extremely strong and effective message which reaches across to the audience like a well aimed arrow, as it is very much relevant to society today, this play is simply brilliant. Well picked by the creators, the MetroPlus Theatre Fest could not possible have bid goodbye to Kochi in a better way.

 

Bollywood KeeMaa – A Laugh Riot

Welcome to the Good, the Bad and the Funny. As the cheeky title suggests, this play is, in its own way, a tribute to Bollywood completing a century this year. The most popular film industry in the country has definitely made its place in the hearts of her loving people. Be it the extreme characters, the eternal fight between Good and Evil, the forbidden romances or the strength of an Indian mother-son relationship, Evam Bangalore presents Bollywood KEE-MAA, exploring the clichés that have created strong and popular stereotypes in the working mindsets of the people.

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Ram and Lakhan, Vijay and Basanti, Vijay’s “Maa” and the last but not the least, the fourth leg of the enormous chair, Ramu Kaka, without whom every story is rendered useless; also, the ultimate twist in the tale with the super-evil, power hungry villain, Mocambo. These names are imprinted in our memory thanks to movies like Deewar, Sholay and probably every other evergreen Bollywood tale.

 The play had me in its right pocket from the very description. Well chosen by the Hindu Metroplus Theatre team, this particular play proved to be one of the most entertaining of the three. How could it not? It is the perfect balance of parody and storytelling. The wordplay in the title is enough for the audience to take a hint. The play has everything in the making of a superhit, the perfect story with shocking twists, the emotional appeal of young love and relationships, the twisted evildoings of the villain and most importantly, suspense. The play explores every Bollywood cliché with ease and accuracy, leaving the audience in splits and reconfirming their love for these very clichés which have shaped Bollywood uniquely.

It opens with loud background music, full on dhinchak, just the right amount of dhinchak. Enter the Hero, the Heroine, the wealthy disciplinarian Father, the Mother and of course, the villain ready to turn their worlds upside down for personal gain.

Stop. Rewind. “Bees saal pehle…”

Two friends, Ram and Lakhan, cherishing their youth, cruising on motor bikes while stealing glances at two beautiful, shy girls while crooning about their friendship and carefree life. It reminds one of the Sholay scenes and one is automatically drawn to the scene. This is duly followed by the friendship with the two pretty girls; the movie dates and eventually, their weddings. The two then make the bond, “Dosti ko rishtedaari mein badlange..”, vowing to get their children married to each other. The mere way the whole charade is enacted leaves the audience in splits. The clichés have clearly begun to work their magic.

Then, with the effective use of lighting; blue for happy and red of evil, the entire stage turns red and in walks the villain, perfect with a French beard, a blood red shirt and dark blazer, ruffled hair and most importantly the look of pure evil in his eyes; the evil brother of Ram, who wants all the business under his name and thus plots to murder his brother. Who even saw that coming? Meanwhile, the newlywed couples simultaneously receive the “good news” that they are soon to be parents. The villain, upon receiving this news, has devised a plan on the infamous “Amavas ki Raat”, in order to take over the business, he must kill his brother. 

As he reveals this behind closed doors to the audience, while thinking loud and clear, complete with menacing gestures, there is laughter and even applause as one thinks of Mocambo and Gabbar Singh briefly. Then, the perpetrated car accident which proves fatal to Lakhan, blinding his wife forever (note that forever here is a relative term) and then comes the villain, laughing as his scheme worked perfectly.

ImageThen the play switches to the second frame, with a jovial Basanti, returning from the US, for her fateful 18th birthday after which she will take over her father’s company. She breaks into a gig with everyone, from the airport staff to the traffic policeman, as is customary in every movie; the scene is well executed and leaves the now acclimatised, audience in splits. To counter the happiness, a bunch of hoodlums then begin to harass the poor damsel in distress and lo and behold, enter Vijay, with strong morals and compassion to rescue her. From here on the plot unwinds quickly with great mimicry of famous dialogues from the old yet not forgotten movies. Including an item number, without which, a masalafilled Bollywood movie would be bland and incomplete. It also reveals the religious and patriotic angle, as the Indian audience relates with the miracles ShivJi performs while we lay and weep at his idolized feet. Finally we arrive at the ending, which, beautifully done, reveals the plot and a surprise counter plot, which even the used-to-clichés, is left gasping, not aghast, but for air after the heavy dose of laughing.

A wonderful play, to be enjoyed by the open minded audience, preferably above the voting age as otherwise the probability of you having watched the evergreen movies is minimal. A good hearted parody of Bollywood and the sentiments attached to it which appeals to the audiences the most, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Extremely well directed, with some great thus effective acting and the creative use of lighting allows the audience’s imagination to flourish and thus make it successful. Bollywood KEE-MAA is, much like its inspiration, an entertainer. A must watch, it provides for a fun-filled meaning and a hilarious peek into the bygone era of movies.

Makes one fall in love with the characters and reignites the dying love for Bollywood, leaving one with a melancholic smile, as we realize the great cinema we have been subjected to throughout the years, be it Dilip Kumar in action, Big B in his prime years or the eternal bad guy to beat, Pran, you realize that even though technology has advanced, there is no comparison between the movies today and movies like Shehanshah, Ardh Satya and Shakti.

 

 

 

 

Why She Won’t Have Coffee With You

That titillating feeling you get when the cutest guy you ever saw walks past and for the tiniest fraction of a second, your eyes meet, the shortest fleeting glance, but it’s almost electric. The breath that follows is always full of anticipation and then, it subsides and your mind drifts to other things and tasks. But that feeling is powerful enough to turn a bad mood around, for a romantic at least. You see him again, you sense him hovering, should you strike up a conversation? Talk about music or books? That would seem fairly cultured, yes? Good thing you decided to grab a quick coffee at the cafe today.

Quite the romantic, though my mind often tricks me into thinking otherwise, I love feeling of butterflies fluttering about in my tummy, how alert and conscious I feel about each and every action of mine and most importantly the whirlwind of thoughts that crop up, sending me into a tizzy and end up increasing my heartbeat; all of this within seconds and from the outside, my body will show no signs of any change ever having taken place. I’ll look as bored as metal-heads would in those extra-large, neon coloured hipster shades.

Taking a look at relationships or ‘courtships’, they are well on their way to becoming painfully futile. Just like the term ‘courtships’, its customs have now become outdated and quaint. Initially, courtships allowed individuals to sail through infatuation and sexual attraction to the more permanent emotion of love and finally towards lasting holy matrimony. However, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears, we know is no longer applicable to the world. Assisting them in this annihilation of relationships, are thousands of people who marry for convenience and marry quickly before the birth of the otherwise bastard. The destabilization of marriage is a worrisome topic as unlike failed courtships, it has very serious implications upon the current state of society. There is a separate hall of shame for those who marry as per customs or others wishes and are thus playing Russian Roulette with married life. This happens only too often and being worse of the two devils,  more often ends in ways other than divorce; murder, torture etc.

Thus, fortunately/ unfortunately, we are subjected to various ‘potential mates’ instead of finding one and sticking with him/her. Relationships these days have no common goal like they used to, not marriage nor love. A relationship is now a construct of individuals who decide whether the relationship is ‘working out’ or ‘good enough’ to continue. Couples do not look at themselves as a whole, but instead recognize themselves and therefore their role in response to their not-so-significant other. Thus, relationships are significant only when they enrich the self and therefore are majorly to enhance the self including others. Back then, people courted one another with a common goal being it resulting in marriage, however, nowadays it is quite the opposite, and marriage is now defined by the dynamics of the relationship.

Thus, relationships these days are built on sexual attraction like before but have no particular direction, nothing beats the initial feeling one gets, there is no common goal. Therefore meaning that most of the relationships we have are bound to perish, painfully, usually because most of us do not know what we are getting into since the stakes are no longer defined.

You claim to be in love, no denying that this love lasts for a long period, however when the love begins to become inconvenient and in the dynamic world of today, it eventually does, then it begins to die out. Soon, you find yourself ‘in love’ with another individual and so on. In the end, the emerging pattern of courtships/ relationships/dating is solely to satisfy the self. 

However, there exists a small percentage of people who are able to beat the cultural shift, get married and stay married too. We look upon them fondly, call them ‘lucky’ etc, this in turn proves my point all the more. There was a time when all relationships had this outcome and it wasn’t “impossible to think of it”. Come the changes in law, economy and technology, you say the global warming is the worst thing to fall upon us as a result? The implications on society are far worse.

So, if you’re wondering why your relationship failed, and whose fault it really was, I hope the article answers your question. Personally, I don’t claim to have beaten the tragedies of a relationship but simply find it easier avoiding them and thus being selfish, just like those in relationships, but without the tempting poisonings of one. (I think)

Also, an afterthought, don’t strike up a conversation with him, just feel satisfied with the warm and fuzzy feeling you were left with after the whole “..and our eyes met” moment till another one, inevitably, comes along.

How to Skin a Giraffe- Simple and Effective

Spread out over three consecutively wonderful evenings of the first weekend celebrated by August ’13 beginning on the 3rd, the fest offered an interesting mix of plays for all audiences. It had partnered with impressive sponsors like the title sponsor Bose, the hospitality partner Beaumonde The Fern, the fanciful ‘Live from Evam’ was the official event manager and recently added to Kochi’s latest accomplishments as a city, Emke Group’s LuLu Mall was the official Mall partner.

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The fest kicked off with a play titled “How to Skin a Giraffe” directed by Rajiv Krishnan, is an imaginative adaptation of “Leonce and Lena” by German playwright Georg Buchner.  Intrigued by the title itself, I proceeded to my seat wondering what I had signed myself up for. Running for a span of 100 minutes with a short 10 minute intermission for refreshments, the play started very peculiarly, with all the actors repeatedly performing a single stochastic action, to some delightful live instrumental music being played in the background.  From that point on, the story began to unwind and how.

The storyline revolves around two dynasties, involving a son and a daughter and their quest for freedom whilst being dragged into a marriage on convenience and the inevitable role of chance, the inevitable turning of events triggered by the Universe as it may seem. The beauty of this play lies largely in its execution; the entire play seems almost surreal with the excellent and well-timed humorous moments. It is truly unique as while narrating the story and making the audience laugh, it is almost satirical and points towards the sad conditioning of life and how we are all victims of the vicious cycle, this is the most enthralling feature of the play. It is almost magically conveyed in light tones by splendid acting done by all, each one has an equal amount of stage presence, which again, is unique and adds to the charm of the play. Another distinguishing feature is the interesting use of simple props, which just lie unsuspecting, in the audience’s eyes. The characters, each one given a strong, drawing personality, seem to pull of the difficult task of acting with extreme ease. Every emotion is conveyed clearly with an indication of a well written script.

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Popo, the prodigal son, is to be crowned the next king. His father, King Lubadub is the thinker as he is the chosen one to lead the people, who are foolish. The conniving Madam Momosa, on the other hand, runs a MNC which, well selected, is received with roars of laughter from the Kochi audience, runs a frozen seafood business and is hugely successful whilst exploiting the lower level employees. Her daughter is the trapped bird which never got away, Pipi, who dreams of chasing the wind someday. Both the children, have their lives laid out before them by the parents, who being extremely busy carrying out their respective duties, leave them in the care of two sidekicks and so goes the story.

Within the first fifteen minutes, the jaws drop as the King strips down to golden boxers. The well crafted play has more to offer, with a surprise Malayalam rap in the middle, and Madam Momosa’s indepth description of how the ‘happy and willing’ prawns are processed,  the audience is left in splits while watching the mockery that is made of precious life by the evils of conditioning.

The play leaves the audience with important yet unanswered questions related to power, control and the ill effects of hierarchy in society. The only short coming being the second half of the play, which failed to live up to the sheer brilliance in the first one, nevertheless, it is theatre work like ‘How to Skin A Giraffe’ which will go on to shape the face of the upcoming Indian theatre scene. A play recommended for all as it offers an interesting pot-pourri of topics filled with light humour.