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Sunday, April 27, 2008


When I used to watch television's favorite sitcom, Friends, I couldn't help wishing that I too had such great friends. Beneath all the madcap humour is an underlying message about friendship. Now that I have such real good friends, so what if they are just e-friends, I consider myself lucky. I would like to tell all the users of social networking sites, or other online chat-rooms: If you are friendless, maybe you have not tried hard enough. The cyberspace is such a great leveller, a real cool platform to share our thoughts with friends from all over the world!

May there always be work for your hands to do, may your purse always hold a coin or two. May the sun always shine on your windowpane, may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you, may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. [- An Irish saying]

Here is a selection of choicest Friendship Quotes:

Jacques Delille

"Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends."

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

"It is wise to apply the oil of refined politeness to the mechanism of friendship."

William James

"We want all our friends to tell us our bad qualities; it is only the particular ass that does so whom we can't tolerate."

George Ade

"A friend who is near and dear may in time become as useless as a relative."

Francis Bacon

"There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man's self."

Honore de Balzac

"Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other."

Richard Barnfield

"He that is thy friend indeed,He will help thee in thy need:If thou sorrow, he will weep;If you wake, he cannot sleep;Thus of every grief in heartHe with thee doth bear a part."

Joan Crawford

"If you have an ounce of common sense and one good friend you don't need an analyst."

Norman Douglas

"To find a friend one must close one eye -- to keep him, two."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kolkata Calling

Kolkata - my City - has its own unique lure! Kolkata is a city of paradoxes. It is a city that resonates in all die-hard Kolkatans (like me) a sense of pride, attachment, and nostalgia. The Howrah Bridge, the Ochterlony Monument, the trams, the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kalighat, Maidan, New Market are just a few of the unique landmarks and distinctive sights that makes one associate with the old Kolkata of grandeur, heritage and tradition - but the Kolkata of 2008 has moved way ahead, or apart, from the city of yesteryears. Yet, the spirit of the city somehow has still been there, one has to fathom, one has to keep one's senses oriented towards relishing that identity, which lies buried but not banished altogether.
I am often tempted to scrape the surface, and out it comes - the flavours, the fetishes and the fragrances of a city that has witnessed history unfold, that has seen the upheavals, the outrage, the apathy and the endless discontent gnawing from the inner realms, groaning for changes to shape itself up for newer challenges. And yet having stood testimony to national and international transformations & travesties, Kolkata has somehow adopted a stoical stance that few other city has had!

Kolkata retains its own culture, for good or for worse.
Most interestingly, it always generates extreme emotions in anyone visiting the city. Rudyard Kipling's 'The city of dreadful nights' and Rajiv Gandhi's 'A dying city' acts as a counter to such descriptions of the same city as 'The city of joy' by Dominique Lapierre, and 'Calcutta, My El Dorado' by Mrinal Sen.
The city of Calcutta (Kolkata is what the city gets spelled in English of late, almost attempting desperately to mimic the Bengali/Bangla diction) was founded by Job Charnock who started as a junior member of the Council of the Bay of Bengal in 1655. By 1686, Charnock was Governor of the Bay of Bengal based in the settlement of Hooghly. On a monsoon afternoon in August, 1690, Charnock rowed ashore to a swampy village Sutanati. On that day in 1690, Captain Job Charnock founded the city on these three closely placed small villages. The villages soon grew into a city which came to be known as Calcutta. Less than three years later, Charnock was dead. Little did he know he had sown the seed of a Megapolis that would be bursting and exploding with the population boom, creating a havoc in terms of infrastructural problems, the mammoth infiltration malaise (thanks to border states and nations), and creating the perfect 'saleable' imagery of decay, depravity, contrasts and chaos.
My Kolkata is still the city that is my only abode. Kolkata extends its hospitable arms to all and sundry, without discrimination. Hence, that's the ultimate picture that I would love to have ingrained in my consciousness, that of Kolkata Calling.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My only crime?

My only crime has been to want a little bit of happiness and a little bit of peace!
Why do people around me, whom I count on a lot, and have made part of my physical, living, breathing space, hurt me so badly? And that too when I am most vulnerable? I guess, everyone wants to strike as hard as they can and make each strike count? Is it so sinful to be sensitive? Is it so outrageous for people to find someone who has not yet been desensitised by the harsh and brutal excesses all around? Are the latter so easily made the soft targets? But why do people fail to recognise the victims? Why do the perpetrators get away with the barbaric victimisation of their easy prey? They who are the real wrong-doers mostly make the loudest noise!
I would have lost my sanity, lost all hopes, had it not been for the support of this very blogspace which lets me connect to other battered and bruised souls. I have even had the good fortune of connecting with the person whom I call my soulmate, because it is this very person who bothered to answer to my distress call...... it is this very person who has done an apparently simple task of sending me an SMS on my cellphone or just called me up when I was drowning in self-pity...... yet it meant so much..... it is nothing short of donning the role of a life-giver! If a friend just says, " I am with you, always....... no matter what!" - it means heavenly succour for me. I am not going to thank my friend(s), and trivialize our friendship, but I would just like to say to all who are reading this blog-post that e-friendship can work wonders for all and sundry, provided one makes an effort, an earnest effort, to just CONNECT.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ranbir Kapoor - the new kid on the block

Ranbir Kapoor is surely the hottest male star of Hindi Cinema right now! His debut film 'Saawariya' (2007) might not exactly have worked wonders, neither setting the cash registers ringing nor attracting critical acclaim, yet Ranbir has managed to be the cynosure of all eyes. The pics on this very blog celebrates the stylish dude's appeal; no one can deny that this photogenic every which way................ the camera seems to love him. Having flaunted his histrionics in serious cinema (student film that is now doing the rounds on the Internet) even before he stepped into Bollywood, and showcasing his body beautiful in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya' (in his famous or infamous towel dropping act), Ranbir is sought after by the directors and the producers who want him to be in their films, what else! The young lad has really impressed me with his personality that oozes warmth and maturity at the same time. I wish him all the luck to become numero uno in Bollywood!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

'Into the Wild'

'Into the Wild' is not a film that is easy to make. It is also not a film that is easy to distance oneself from. As a viewer, I am too attached to this film. I just saw it yesterday. And I know not how to write about it as a reviewer. It is too intense. It took me on a journey, a parallel journey that is much like the one that the protagonist of the film, Christopher McCandless a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, undertakes. The film is like nothing I have ever seen (and I have seen far too many movies!) and I was completely hooked by the step-by-step progress of Chris in his search for purpose, meaning, truth and self-identity; making a statement by relinquishing material pursuits, for the sake of imbibing the true spirit of an adventurer and taking on the world.
The breathtaking and beautiful film is a treat to watch. It is very much like watching a master artist create a piece before our very eyes, a laborious endeavour that culminates with the creation of quite a masterpiece. Director Sean Penn demonstrates his very best as a maker in this 2007 film! The imagery combined with the top notch performances of actors like Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook make this film a contemporary classic.
The film is an adaptation of the book by Jon Krakauer. The story begins with an unhappy family, proceeds through a series of encounters with the lonely and the lost, and ends in a senseless, premature death. But though the film’s structure may be tragic, its spirit is anything but. It is infused with an expansive, almost giddy sense of possibility, and it communicates a pure, unaffected delight in open spaces, fresh air and bright sunshine.
Christopher Johnson McCandless, the young adventurer whose footloose life and gruesome fate, is at the same time impulsive, brave and disturbed; yet he is also a dedicated spiritual pilgrim. He does not court danger but rather stumbles across it — thrillingly and then fatally — on the road to joy. In letters to his friends, he revels in the simple beauty of the natural world. Adopting the pseudonym Alexander Supertramp, rejecting material possessions and human attachments, he proclaims himself an “aesthetic voyager.” After graduating from Emory University in 1990, he sets off on a zigzagging two-year journey that took him from South Dakota to Southern California, from the Sea of Cortez to the Alaskan wilderness, where he perished, apparently from starvation, in August 1992.
The film is noteworthy for its disarming sincerity, emphasizing Chris's capacity for love, the gift for fellowship that, somewhat paradoxically, accompanied his fierce need for solitude. Though he warns one of his friends against seeking happiness in human relationships — and also rails incoherently against the evils of “society” — Chris is a naturally sociable creature. This is a reflective, regretful, serious film about a young man swept away by his uncompromising choices. Two of the more truthful statements in recent culture are that we need a little help from our friends, and that sometimes we must depend on the kindness of strangers. If you don't know those two things and accept them, you will end up eventually in a bus of one kind or another.
The movie is so good partly because it means so much, I think, to its writer-director. It is a testament like the words that Christopher carved into planks in the wilderness.

Penn, in tandem with the superb cinematographer Eric, captures the majesty and terror of the wilderness in ways that make us catch our breath. And Eddie Vedder's remarkable songs sound like the voice of Chris' unconscious. Since his death, admirers have made the arduous trip to that bus. But Into the Wild celebrates the person, not the myth. Mistakes didn't make Chris unique, his courage did. Through Penn's unmissable and unforgettable film, that courage definitely endures.