Happiness is..

Happiness is…..

Watching a baby smile

Doing a good deed

A walk in the rain

Hot maggi on a rainy day

A visit to Delhi

A friend’s homecoming

A blog accolade

A discount on the Uber ride

An unplanned road trip

A dive in the pool

A night under the stars, on the beach

A coldplay song on radio

A philosophical talk with your best friend

Watching Love Aj kal

Reading Rumi’s poetry

Watching FRIENDS after a tiring day

Cuddling up with a loved one

Tucking into a furry blanket on a cold night

A fridge full of chocolates

Camping in the forest

Making your parents proud

Browsing old photographs with family

Growing up with a younger sibling

Spotting your favorite novel at a book store

Listening to childhood stories

Revisiting your wedding album

Eating Mom’s food

Bonfire and friends

A hammock, music and cool breeze

A well written blog

A well baked cake

Flowers at the door

A crazy party night with friends

A guilt-free trip to desserts section

Diwali shopping discount

A good night’s sleep

Happiness to me is a few handpicked things along the way, every day.

This post is a part of the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge.  The final task was to write about Happiness.

Cinema in the 90s

When we were young, cinema was synonymous with story-telling. It was light, funny (at least at hindsight), modest, and entertaining. If a movie portrayed an extra marital affair, the depiction was subtle, a humorous movie had clean and funny jokes, a violent movie was without gore, and an emotional movie impactful. The cops caught the bad guys, a broken marriage was fixed, the evil was punished, and good won over bad. Romance was depicted most beautifully without a kiss. Yes, it was possible!

We cracked up at Govinda’s slapstick comedy in his “No.1” series, wept at Anjali’s eulogy for her mother Tina in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and when the police arrested Don, our faith in justice was cemented. Cinema was a canvas for all things good.

And then the millennium happened. It was the tipping point in the world of cinema. While some saw that as evolution, for others like me, cinema had clearly fallen on hard times.

Movie makers wanted to add pep to the stale state of Bollywood. They brought in raunchy songs and item girls.

They wanted glamour. They replaced genuine actresses with fair skinned straightened hair models.

They wanted to give a twist to the plot and so the villain had the last laugh.

They wanted to make cinema more real. They focused on serious world issues.

They wanted to take comedy to the next level. They tossed in generous doses of sexual innuendos.

Cinema became more experimental. We were exposed to high profile bank robberies, strange phenomenon such as stockholm’s syndrome and schizophrenia, newer and lower moral standards of betrayal in relationships, graveness of drug problems in Punjab, abductions in Haryana, and crimes in the national capital. Cheating in a relationship, pre-marital sex and extra marital affairs did not raise brows. Directors were lauded, their movies acclaimed, their experiments appreciated.

No-story-in-the-movie became a rage. Bringing out the surreal became the buzz word. And before we realized, we had a laundry list of absurd movies. Even as cinema has broadened our horizon and become more visually appealing with all the state of the art technology, it is no longer the weekend family outing.

When I am midway through another first-world movie, I tell myself, “Try looking at it from a different perspective.” I try to watch cinema from a director’s perspective. From an actor’s perspective. From the perspective of a friend who raves about it. But invariably, I realize that cinema has lost its innocence in the garb of evolution. I only know that I miss the 90s cinema. It was Unsullied. Modest. Funny. Sometimes unreal but entertaining.

 

This post is a part of the  Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge The challenge was to write about perspective.

Climate Change

If all the world was paper,
And all the sea was ink,
If all the trees were bread and cheese,
What should we have to drink?

This nursery poem, tweaked a tad bit summarizes the  sorry state of our planet today:

If all the world were smoky

And all the seas were flooding

If all the trees were felled

You’d think I might be joking!

With the grave climate change situation that stares us in the face, devastation is imminent. LeoNardo Di Caprio, who is also the messenger of peace for the UN, traveled the world for two years shooting a documentary to spread awareness about climate change. The three irreversible damage we have caused our planet are:

  • The dangerously high carbon footprint leading to unprecedented pollution
  • The rapidly rising sea levels due to global warming warning us of a potential wash out of cities altogether
  • The  rampant deforestation causing a multi-fold imbalance in the ecosystem in ways we cannot imagine.

I am not sure if it’s too late to save the planet. Smoke emitting vehicles, paper cups, dry Augusts, addiction to air conditioners, and wars over water constantly remind me to be prepared for the times to come.

This post is a part of the  Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge.

The challenge was to pick a nursery rhyme, edit it and interpret it.

The emotion behind terrorism

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/burhan-wani/who-was-burhan-wani-and-why-is-kashmir-mourning-him/

 

Terrorism has taken the world by a storm now more than ever. There are bone-chilling statistics that suggest that by 2035, there will be an Islamic caliphate in more than 70% of the world. With their overt operations and brazenness, ISIS is redefining terrorism altogether.  But before we worry about the bigger fish and even our Kashmir claiming neighbor, we have a whole lot of internal problems to sort.

Kashmir for long has been the hotbed of violence. It aches me to realize how numb we have become to the deaths in the valley. Terror has become the way of life and it ceases to pinch us anymore.

A few months ago, the news of Burhan Wani’s death flooded the media. The killing of Burhan Wani, a member of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, by the Indian army saw a strong opposition from the Kashmiri villagers. More than 50,000 Kashmiri villagers mourned his death and called him a martyr. Whether or not his cause for Kashmir as an independent state was justified is not the point here. Aspirations are like faith. They do defy reason and logic. There is no way to change someone’s personal beliefs.

Burhan Wani belonged to a very well educated and affluent Kashmiri family. Upon some reading, I learnt that he and his friend were harassed and beaten up by some army personnel when they were children. One such occasion where an army personnel asked his friend to buy him ciggarettes in exchange for using the road and was still bashed up for no reason was when Burhan Wani decided to avenge the Indian Army. He openly challenged them and said they would pay a price for their action. How much truth there is to this story is again questionable.

But what if it is true. It certainly does show the significance of human emotions. The inhuman behavior of one army officer led to the rise of a militant. Similarly, the adamancy of a militant and his vengeance led to the killing of so many patriotic army officers who happened to be posted in Kashmir as part of their duty.

If terrorism has to stop, we must detach it from religion. We must dive deep to understand human nature. While the unjustified must be fought, a szieable share of aggression and unrest could easily be put to rest if we treated people as human beings. Disassociating the tags of religion, language, color from them. For, in the end, loss of lives is more grave than a hurt ego.

 

This post is a part of the  Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge. The task was to express personal views on a newspaper article.

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Musings of Death

 task-6

She rocked in her wicker chair

Sitting by the lake

Her body was knackered

But still she lay awake.

Her eyes gazed at the crimson sky

As if seeking hope

The mango tree was bare

As if ready to mope.

The setting sun was a gloomy cue

Of You must depart when your time is due

And there I was, lurking around her

As she shriveled in her old black fur

My  job is more difficult  than you can ever think

The search never ever ends in just a blink

My task is always a secret mission

I could tell no one and ask no one

But that’s how destinies are spun

I would take someone.

My own problems I must confess

I have to be prompt

Not a minute more not a minute less

It took me a while to spot her
In search of skin
color no matter
brighter or darker

Ssssshhhhh! It is time..

Just as I reached for her soul that was flickering

Quivering and trembling with pain and snickering

Rang the telephone. It was her son

He called to say Sorry for he could not come

He chose his son’s football match over his ailing mother

Today was his last chance but little did he bother

I gently took her in my lap

She was light as a feather,

And pale as the weather,

She was different from my other passengers for the week.

I had not imagined that that’s how she would greet,

She breathed her last with a smile on her face and said, “Take me where I must belong. I’ve known the agony of being all alone. I have no one left here to call my own”.

This post is a part of the  Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge #6. The challenge was to use the given picture, the word Telephone, and the below poem together in a post.

Poem:
In,
search of skin,
color no matter,
brighter or darker,
tell no one,
I will take someone,
Ssssshhhhh!
–  ghost, me!

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In a tree’s world

Urakami valley  was a port city in Japan. Reiko Avenue, the longest stretch of road in the valley, was home to more than 20,000 people. Clumps of maple and  magnolia trees lined up on the boulevard formed a beautiful orange and pink canopy allowing only gentle sun light to stream through.It was a humid Wednesday afternoon in the month of August. In the life of these trees, it was yet another day.

The clump of trees chit-chatted about the cute children playing beneath, the influx of migratory birds, and the sun being too harsh among other things. A pretty pink magnolia tree, the youngest in the boulevard, felt a certain restlessness. She was not sure if she must keep it to herself or confess it to her friends. Unable to contain her anxiety, she erupted, “I am confused at times. Should I sound? Should I echo?” . To this, her immediate neighbor, a much older maple replied, “Do not panic like humans. Your anxieties are unfounded. You need not have answers to all the questions! Relax, live in the moment, just laugh and laugh again”. The clump had a peculiar way of comforting one another in times like these. They all swayed together; it was their equivalent of a hug in the human world. The passersby momentarily looked up in surprise but moved on quickly. The trees realized that they were causing suspicion to the humans and stopped their ritual.

The Japanese were renowned for their love for mother nature. Every Wednesday, the residents  would come together, nurture and prune the street trees and celebrate them. For the trees, Wednesdays were reminders of how lucky they were compared to their counterparts in the forests.

Even as the clump rejoiced, the young Magnolia’s mind wandered yet again. Her bark felt weak, her branches lifeless, she quivered with anxiety. “Thoughts! They do what we don’t ask for!”, she murmured. She said to her friends, “At times, we pretend to think of one and actually think everything else!” She told them that she could not divert her mind any longer. She sensed something ominous in the air. The last time she felt that way, her father was felled by a group of heartless traders. This revelation caused a flurry in the boulevard. There was a sporadic fall of leaves and flowers. This was a tree’s reflux to counter stress. But little did the humans understand. The children beneath ran berserk collecting and playing with the fallen lot.

What followed was a loud thud. An explosion. The magnolia’s last thoughts – I knew it! That I don’t know.

In August 1945, nuclear bomb Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki by the U.S, the first and last use of nuclear weapons in human history. The Urakami valley in Nagasaki was the worst affected with death tolls estimated between 30,000 to 40,000. While there was irreversible damage to the economy, trade, and property, what was also impacted was the world of trees. Trees were uprooted, snapped off, scorched, and dead. It was a fateful summer indeed.

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This post is a part of the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge (IBMC), Challenge#5