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Friday, April 24, 2009

Perfect Imperfect

Wouldn't it be wonderful..if things were PERFECT?
IDEAL.....? Dream-like? Cherished? Blemish-free?
Well, ideal sounds good so long as it is beyond reach.
Perfect sounds perfect from the prism of imperfect.
Only if we shut our eyes to imperfections and learn to focus on what suits us, we can make it as near perfect as possible.
The sane and the prudent would advise: Enjoy the best in one another, and, in one, learn to accept the best
and learn to accept the rest.....!
But that would be 'the perfect advice', too idealistic to follow, no?
We search for perfections for almost half our life, if not the entire life, and yet it is in the end that we find that the purpose of search itself had been so self-defeating!
Then we do not even hesitate to ignore the tapered ends,
it is then when the end is near that we do not even chuckle at the thought of going 'gentle into the good night', we became a mockery of our youthful zeal that had once set out to smoothen the rough edges of all imperfections, in relationships, in people, in life at large.....
I wish... just wish, desire, dream.. that we, pluralistic glorification of the 'I', could just be a little more sane, a little more prudent, and a little more at ease with the madness in our souls, and surrender to our self-seeking guidance of the innate supreme!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For Aman

On tenth of last month, I woke up to a front-page news in The Times of India that shattered my heart. Aman Kachroo, who had passed out of DPS International, Saket, Delhi, and had joined Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, in Kangra last August, was beaten to death by his seniors. Ragging in colleges and hostels, and even death from ragging was not being reported for the first time, but that this incident should happen in a medical college where only the best and the brightest secure admission and the perpetrators were potential doctors learning to heal, makes Aman’s death more poignant.
Sad, but true, ragging continues because society at large wants it to continue despite legal injunctures. Year after year, precious lives fall prey to ragging, some commit suicide, only a few like Aman are too brutally tortured & murdered, while most are left permanently traumatised, emotionally and psychologically scarred. The extreme cases of ragging are as a result of the perpetrators getting incensed by the protests on the part of the freshers or their refusal to take subjugation lying down. It is as good as vendetta; the psychopathic tendencies raising their ugly heads, as they do in case of sex-offenders in general, who graduate from sexual harassment to gang-rape to lynching. The most important arena of legitimising ragging is the oral passing-on of stories of parents to children, from alumni to students. A practice that teaches one to submit, to be subjugated and humiliated rather than to refuse orders becomes a ritual. It goes by the name of 'hazing' in the U.S., though death on account of hazing is more a rarity. When a student commits suicide, the first response of many is that if hundreds of other students in their same hostel didn't commit suicide, why did this one? The ensuing victim-blaming makes sure ragging survives. The media’s focus on ragging cases rather than the everyday goings-on in hostels also makes sure that the cases are seen as exceptions. The student who drops out, or becomes mentally unstable, or is ostracised by his/her hostel community for complaining are not highlighted. Even the family and peers begin stereotyping them as 'shy' and 'timid'.
As the details kept appearing in the newspapers, and on the new channels on television, I felt like throwing up. Where was the need to sesationalise the events that continued unabated night after night in the name of ragging? Rather, we must immediately start sensitising the youth, even the children, and try to stem out the menace called ragging if we want to take pride in being civil, being human!
Luckily, for the first time, contempt notices are being issued to Principals and the University Grants Commission seems to be waking up from a state of deep slumber. The apathy on the part of the teachers, wardens or even parents cannot continue. We should gauge the significance of the far-reaching consequences of ragging and treat them as criminal offences. We can only hope that the Government will look into the Raghavan Committee’s fifty recommendations and, at the very least, amend the Indian Penal Code to make ragging an offence. The Prevention of the Ragging in Colleges and Institutions Bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2005 is yet to become a law. The Bill makes the offence of ragging punishable with imprisonment up to three years and a fine of Rs 25,000, and empowers the Government to ban ragging in educational institutions. The civil society is not powerless. Deterrence can play a big role. Exemplary punishment of the guilty will make future perpetrators think twice. But more importantly, there should not be a lack of willingness on our part to do our bit to eradicate ragging!

[Info, pics: courtesy - Google, NDTV 24X7, The Times of India]
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dev: Challenge Won!

Dev is one of the many new heroes of Bangla Cinema who have made their presence felt in a host of new-age movies that have been reaching out to the viewers in Kolkata as well as in suburban West Bengal.

Dev is now hot property in Bangla Cinema thanks to his hugely successful mainstream film called 'Challenge'!

Dev's real name is Deepak Adhikari. Born on 25th Dec, 1982, Dev is a typical Capri. He is no doubt blessed with good looks, romantic appeal and an affable nature.

The plus point that is nothing but Dev's USP is his physique, he maintains it well, and hits the gym to tone up aptly for his hunky screen appearance. For his female fans, he also has the perfectly disarming smile to enchant them!

Dev's family hails from Midnapore, but they had shifted to Mumbai many years back. Born at Bandra, Mumbai, Dev did his schooling from Purushottam High School, Bandra and he earned his diploma in Computer Engineering from Bhartiya Vidyapith, Pune. After finishing studies, he returned to Mumbai and started out as an observer on the sets of Abbas-Mustan’s Taarzan: The Wonder Car. He also did an acting course at the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Academy. His first break was in the revenge-saga called 'Agnisapath' which was not successful at the box office, but his 6-feet-plus height & physical agility got him noticed. In 2007, he got his big hit in 'I Love You', directed by Ravi Kinnagi. Venkatesh Films backed him & promoted him in a big way indeed! A year later he was again cast in a romantic musical called 'Premer Kahini'. In 2008, he also starred with Koel Mullick in 'Mon Maane Na', directed by Sujit Guha. Further, he was seen in two hot item numbers "Pant-e taali" & "Jibone ki paabona" in 'Chirodini Tumi Je Aamaar'(2008) and 'Jackpot'(2009) respectively. A terrific dancer, and a promising new-comer with all the ingredients of a superstar, Dev has arrived big time with 'Challenge' - a romantic-actioner by Raj Chakraborty - that has the tag line "Nibi na saala? [Won't you accept the challenge?]"..... well, Dev has won the challenge, by a huge margin, it seems!

My weaknesses..........

No one is comfortable dissecting one's own weaknesses. But here I am attempting to do just that.
I know that one of my biggest weakness is that I perceive my insecurities & threats as a bit more magnified than they are. I often feel as if I'm on my own. Vulnerable. Ready to be exploited, battered, bruised.
Well, guess what? As a result of my persecution complex I do have to go it alone in reality too!
Crazily romantic that I am, I keep looking for that special someone to watch over me, like a loving parent or soulmate. And I keep looking at all the wrong places!
I do get scared, i do feel lonely. That's the reason, I am always on the lookout for someone, real or virtual, to protect me with loving arms.
I have at times felt abandoned and without hope. My negative vibes set me up for the bad news in the real world too. The external jolt brings me to my knees.
Perhaps I never felt properly mothered. That's how my shrink had put it once. She mentioned in particular that this weakness of mine, needing someone to lean on, often complicates things, and brings in its wake other weaknesses too. Yes, I know, in spite of being an adult, sometimes I feel like a lost child. And sometimes I feel that the people around me, who are largely insensitive, else desensitized, are getting a kick out of seeing me suffer or seeing me writhe in pain. 

My perception as regards what I feel is lost or amiss, as analysed by my shrink, is as follows:
My parents probably did the best they could, but I wasn't fully supported in a way that encouraged me to follow my dreams and prosper. I needed a parent who would take me by the hand and give me unconditional support.

I feel that the love I need to fill up that gaping hole inside should not be searched for in others..... rather, I should find the love I have inside, despite feeling ravaged and brutalized.
With this very realization, everything in life becomes easier. I try to feel taken care of by my own healing love, so that I attempt to put all of my energy into the things I'd like to acquire and accomplish.
It looks like 2009 is going to be a challenging year, especially on the personal front, as regards my relationships are concerned. Yet, I am braving the odds, fighting them head on, with a wilful perception of a sense of safety that may have eluded me in the past. I do not deride my weaknesses, my flaws; nonetheless I am trying my level best to battle & surmount them.
I know, I will feel hopeful again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Chatting Up a Radio Jockey

Radio Jockeying has been much in vogue since the air waves opened up to FM. Today the FM channels have in fact moved away from the original concept of 'a tool to keep the suckers awake', and have created new listeners in all the metro cities. In spite of the stiff competition provided by television and the Internet, radio has emerged as a very strong contender. And it is needless to say that the people who ride these air waves are respected and adored by the millions of listeners. A radio jockey, RJ in short, is synonymous with friendliness and courtesy. Waking up in the morning to the warm voice of the friendly radio host; listening to one's favorite numbers being played by him/her as one drives to work, or is on one's way home, or even late at night in an intimate personal space; laughing when he/she is being funny and witty, & enjoying the conversations between the RJ and the callers on air - today's RJ obviously occupies a definite place in our lives.
It is my pleasure to speak to Tonmoy Roy Choudhury, better known as MJ Roy (he uses the prefix MJ - Music Jockey - as opposed to radio jockey, I guess it is the radio station's prerogative), who currently hosts Chill Fatafat , from Monday to Friday , 4pm-8pm , on 94.3 Radio One - 'For the Fatafat Generation....!'
Here is my informal chat session with him:
Q) First let me ask you about the beginnings; how did you become a radio jockey, how did you come to radio?
MJ Roy: My stint with radio began with Radio Mirchi, it was mid-2006.
Mirchi spotted me while I was hosting - a profession I was into the 3rd year then - one of the shows. I was asked to appear for an audition. I got through – but not to the studio. They appointed me as their Radio Reporter – as there was no on-air vacancy then. I served as Mirchi Reporter Tonmoy until May 2008 , when Big FM beckoned and I joined. And left even before I could memorise and differentiate between the lunch-serving pattern every week. I was 21 days old at the station and left due to some professio-personal reasons best known to me! Then – it might sound 'easily' , but not quite – Radio One gave me that one show that I am , till date , the host of – for 3+ months , just.

Q) Did you or do you have any role models / inspirations?
MJ Roy: I did not have any – as I have never had the desire/dream of becoming an RJ.
However, in time, I developed a zing for the thing called – Rjing. I had nourished my grey cells observing the on-air deliveries of the RJ’s of Radio Mirchi , specially – Sree , Deep , Mir, Neel and Arnabi.

Q) What were the teething problems, if any?
MJ Roy: (Laughs) The same to that of any of Brangelina’s babies. Absence of sound knowledge of what to byte, pun intended, and what not.
Actually, less is more on radio, as it is 'the theatre of the mind'. It’s a one-to-one medium. Catch-phrases like these and other radio-theories and hands-on practicals helped adding teeth, supported by few on-air 'you-can’t-escape-them' goof-ups , which eventually has put me in a position where I can confidently say "Cheese" (grins widely)!!

Q) What were the challenges of being part of a new entrant among the FM channels (Radio One), compared to the existing ones?
MJ Roy: It’s your 100 metres in a 4x100 metre relay race which is, maybe, in its second leg. You know, how other competitors have fared so far. We have to accept the fact that the songs, the commercials, and most importantly – the listeners – the spectators of the Radio-Race – are the same. Therefore, the deciding factors are – programme design , on-air content and the delivery of it and the music-policy of the station.
Quite obviously the challenges lay in designing and executing the deciding factors. The designing part is handled by the Programming Director mainly – for Radio One , it’s Shekhar who is also the Breakfast-Jock of the station. The music policy ensured the fact that we play only hit numbers and don’t experiment much with new entries. And finally , the content – once decided what to deal with, I was left with the delivery part – which is really challenging. I had to say 'ayes' when I was rechristened – ROY. And then, building the on-air persona of Roy , connecting to the listeners' psyche and then trying to give them something new every time I speak – it's truly challenging!

Q) How involved do you have to be in the programming or the content design?
MJ Roy: My show is my baby. The contests, the content, certain on-air announcements – all have to be planned properly so that once I go on-air, there’s no chance of a goof-up. An RJ's commitment towards the show should exceed, if possible, the commitment one miss Paris Hilton shows towards shopping even in the time of global economic meltdown. And, while showing one's commitment, one SHOULD know that London is the capital of Great Britain, ha ha ha!!

Q) Please share some your experiences on the live call-in sessions... how prepared do you have to be?
MJ Roy: You can't be much prepared. Period. You have pitched your topic. Now, you know somebody will call up. It can be Parambrata Chatterjee or a pabitra chakladar. You hear a voice. And if you want to know theoretically what might happen next – ask Mr Stephen Hawking to solve this lovely game of permutation and combination and probability. Causes? One topic, many callers, many opinions. Many topics, one caller, many opinions.....

Q) It is indeed evident that apart from the technicalities, which an RJ must always be equipped to deal with, alongwith the malfunctioning and glitches that are part of the transmission, RJs have some serious sweating out to do, and even then, loads spontaneity, humour and sensitivity must be doled out...
MJ Roy: Well, just savour this.. Radio One was promoting it’s frequency – 94.3 by a simple contest. If you have the numbers 9, 4 and 3 in that order in your life , call up the RJ. This lady calls up during my show. Her bank account number has the combo. In order to check if she’s fabricating, I ask her to tell me the account number, right there. She obliges. The numbers are in the required order. But, before I give her the prize, I decide to give her a shock and say – 'now that I have your account number, I'm gonna loot it! BANG – she hangs up. I put that recording on-air with a modest request – "Trust me. I haven't seen 'Aankhen'(the film where the guys loot a bank in a novel manner)....!".

Q) Hey, that was weird...
MJ Roy: It doesn't end there.... the very next day as I was continuing with the same contest, the lady calls up again. She blames the timely demise of the pre-paid validity of her cell phone connection and apologises. We start afresh, this time, with the 7 digit warranty number of a ceiling fan. The 'Dennis-the-Menace' in me speaks out again – "Summer’s approaching. What if I steal the fan?" She laughs her heart out – thanks to a mini top-up (laughs out loud)!!

Q) How much of your programmes' content is scripted and how much is impromptu?
MJ Roy: You can script only the skeleton of your show, especially the monologues. The conversations are 100% impromptu.

Q) On a serious note, what according to you have been the significant changes on the radio programming front?
MJ Roy: That Radio, apart from being heard, can also be seen today – has been the most significant change. At times, radio shows are tailored keeping in mind the possible presence of the RJ amidst his/her listeners. Contests and prizes were there, but what came to the Indian scenario with the introduction of FM Radio was the chance of meeting your hitherto unseen on-air friend.
Plus, the marriage of other infotainment mediums to radio is another point worth a mention. The presence of radio stations as Radio Partners on TV shows , school/college/corporate events and at times in the newspaper has taken its omnipresence to a higher pedestal.

Q) What are the pre-requisites of being a successful radio jockey?
MJ Roy: Inability of initiating impromptu conversations. Absence of sense of humour. To understand that GK means Gibberish Knowledge. And, the musical instinct of playing Himesh Reshammiya – full blast - @ 5:37 in the morning.
If you are bad at or lack any/all of these, you can be a radio jockey. Success – will depend on how bad/worse/worst can you be.

Q) Finally, tell me about your future plans.. where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
MJ Roy: I actually started with stage-anchoring. Moved on to do TV-anchoring and did a little bit of acting. Radio happened suddenly. I wish to continue doing all.
Or, on a lighter note, maybe I’ll be interviewing the kids of the present superstars on radio, just before their debut movie hits Home Theatre systems across the planet.

Q) And any forthcoming appearance of yours we are likely to see?
MJ Roy: I may appear for a tête-à-tête on a vernacular channel before the release of an anticipated film, where I maybe seen in a leading role.

Wow! That's great news, it is usually the voice of the RJ that his fans are in love with, but I am sure that in your case, you will be piling up on fans with your physical presence as well. I wish you all the best, ALWAYS!