A Big Fat Indian Wedding

Two elephant statues stand guard at what appears to be the entrance to a celestial palace. Their silvery trunks are raised and conjoined at the top to form an arch through which only those who have been granted the privilege of an invite, are allowed to enter. Inside, a hallowed passage awaits the arrival of the guests. It is lined with beautiful fountains which spray water in a quiet, little gush. Towards the end of it stands the host for the night with his hands folded into a perpetual Namaste. A smile is plastered across his face which somehow seems as unreal as the surroundings. A beautiful woman accompanies him, her flamboyant attire garnering many eyeballs. Deep pockets have lent her an air of confidence. It reflects in the way she bows slightly and accepts shagun from the invitees. The guests are very careful while handing over the envelope to her. They know they will be judged on the basis of the money they have put inside later.

Up, ahead and beyond is a lavish extravaganz…

Of Travel and Learning

Travelling comes naturally to those who are smitten by the idea of wanderlust. Though our busy schedules don’t easily permit the time to unwind, we somehow try to find a way. This is precisely what happened with me when I was posted in the clamorous city of Gorakhpur. Located at the far-east corner of Uttar Pradesh, the town serves as a religious center for many god-fearing Hindus. It also has the distinction on falling en route the famous Buddhist circuit. Having already explored much of the city’s surroundings, I decided to take a day off and make a quick trip to Nepal, which is barely an hour’s distance from Gorakhpur. My destination was Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. I’d heard many tales from my colleagues about how wonderfully the sacred place was preserved and how magnanimously the richer Buddhist countries had constructed monasteries around the holy shrine. Without further ado, I contacted the nearest travel agency and booked a cab.

The driver arrived fifteen minutes …

What's in an age?

My sister finished law and joined the local sessions court as an advocate in early 2000. Back then, women were not a common sight in regular male bastions, especially when it came to a small hill town like ours. The first few days were hard. The process of learning the practical aspects of jurisprudence and the task of making a space for herself continued simultaneously. I remember the evenings when she would come back exhausted and would yet jump into the kitchen to help mother prepare dinner.

It was around this time when talks about her marriage first began to crop up. As it turns out, she’d already met someone during her LLB years and had made a decision in that regard. However, when it comes to Indian families, inter-caste marriages are a tough pill to swallow. My father opposed the arrangement tooth and nail. So did many others who thought that a girl marrying by her own choice was an inappropriate and imprudent idea. With everybody providing an unwarranted opinion and nobody ta…

The Wonder that was Sridevi

It has been a few days since the life that was Sridevi came to an abrupt end but the feeling of utter disbelief refuses to go. It is tough to come to terms with the fact that a woman who redefined Indian cinema in many different ways could embark on such a swift exit. As I read through the huge variety of obituaries and tributes which have been rendered to her by numerous media outlets, I can’t help but notice how they pay obeisance to the legend on an extremely superficial level. Mentions of her films are made in passing; titbits about her personal life are served with sensationalist delight and for some obscure reason, an air of mystery is created around her demise which almost borders on hinting at foul play. None of them, however, talk about her talent, her persona or the indelible impact she had on the minds of the millions who took pride in being identified as her ‘fans’.

As the reigning queen of the 80’s and the 90’s, she’d captivated, enthralled and inspired at least two…

The Tales Of A Decaying TV

I stopped watching TV much before Netflix arrived. Somehow, it didn’t make sense anymore.

On one hand were news anchors shouting on the highest plane of decibels audible to the human ear, trying to thrust their staunch opinions down everyone’s gullible throats, passing judgements on cases sub-judice and sensationalizing the trivial to gather attention, even at the cost of murdering sanity. While on the other hand were drama protagonists, draped in heavy silk saris, promoting marriage as the ultimate aim of every woman, career-oriented or otherwise, tracing their journey from being an obedient daughter-in-law to turning into a nondescript fly. Yes, you read that right - A fly.

As a child, I remember being excited about Sundays because that would mean I could wake up early and watch a slew of TV programmes. The nineties were a time when whole families would sit together and see the sagas of Ramayana and Mahabharata unfold on their television screens. It did require a bit of hustling a…

An Open Letter to a Closed Mind

"Bombs and pistols do not make a revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of free ideas".

Dear Nationalistically-inclined, morally-supreme, omnipotent,'liberal-sickular-presstitude' annihilators,

You must already have judged me by the statement in Italics above (*The font was obviously not chosen because Mrs.Gandhi hails from Italy).
A lot of questions, pertinent at that, must be thronging your mind. Your fingers must be frantically dancing on your keypad, your mind- occupied with devising the choicest abuses to throw my way. How dare I talk about free ideas and opinions? How dare I utter the R word ? What gives me the right to insult our soldiers by denouncing the use of armed weapons? Where was I when the emergency was imposed? Why don't I just accept it that the Congress has paid me to write this? This is a statement of anti-national conjectures and I must be immediately packed off to Pakistan.
Well, so be it. But just so you …

The India in Intolerance

By the time this message will be read, a lot of dust would have settled over the entire Aamir Khan and 'intolerance' issue. A lot of you would have already formed opinions, not wanting to read anything contradictory. Many others would still be wondering if this 'issue', if we may call it that, really deserved all the attention that it was provided. In either case, I will take this opportunity to speak out loud and give voice to my two cents. You may need patience to go through this post entirely and if you reach the end, feel free to agree or disagree. It is your right- inalienable and indestructible.

1. "This country has made Aamir Khan. He should be thankful to it"- Allow me to crash your icy castle of high hopes, but Aamir Khan became Aamir Khan because he worked his ass off to be where he is. He has had his fair share of struggles and has dealt with them successfully. He may not be a 'common man' now, but there was a time when nobody knew him. The…