Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A rose by any other name

What's in a name, the bard wrote, but I'm sure there is no one in today's world who would agree to that. A name is the first element that gives you an identity, and that defines what you are to the world around you.
I have always been extremely possessive about my name. And have had to face quite a bit of enthusiasm from the world - not only about my first name, but also my last name. Picture this - You are walking down the corridor of your school, and there is this teacher screaming out for 'Saraswati' or 'Sulakshna' at the highest pitch possible. Obviously, this 'Saraswati' or 'Sulakshna' is either deaf or simply non-existent...:-). And the latter was the case. Besides these, I've always had to repeat my first name at least thrice when introducing myself. Well, this is not unique to me. It is an affliction for many traditional Indian names - be it from Punjab or Tamil Nadu or anywhere on this semi-continent. Coming t think of it, maybe that is the reason why most people are choosing to name their wards with more 'corporate' names like Raj or Amit and Komal or Sonal. The accent is on the name being short and sweet...(of course, that is another discussion).
Coming back to calling someone names, it is usually the case when you try to explain the nitty-gritties of the Indian naming convention to the global citizens. A soft 'd' is unrecognized by most non-Indians (read - Americans esp.) , a lilting 'j' sound is usually replaced with the 'j' of 'jarring', and of course the sweet 't' of Gita is replaced by the 't' of 'tea'. But now I'm digressing...
I wanted to actually talk about the variation in Indian names and how a mere change of syllable conjures different images. Let me demonstrate with some examples:
Bipin, is an Indian name which means 'forest', and has an alternative way of being spelt and pronounced as Vipin...and there in lies the difference. While Bipin invokes respect and an image of a strong, responsible, honest person; Vipin builds an image of a light-eyed playboy with a 60's hairdo and a bike. Similarly, while Priya throws up the idea of an intelligent woman who knows her brains and uses them, and is endowed with feminine beauty. Priyanka, on the other hand, a derivative of the same name, is a completely different name game. Priyanka invokes a rudeness or an impoliteness, a feminity of the tom-boy variety.
Before I'm prosecuted for such blasphemy, let me clarify that all these meanings that I'm attributing are images that have taken shape due to my experiences with the namesakes.
I continue with my name story. Moving on to Amits of the world...I feel the name itself spells fun, mischief, optimism, always the life of the party. Let me see now...more names...Nandini.
Lyrical, musical, like the tinkling of ice in a crystal glass.
I will add in more later. For now, this piece is ready to see the light of the day.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spring in New Delhi

It is March in New Delhi and the colorful festival of Holi has just gone by leaving its traces on people. This time of the year is when Delhi is at its most beautiful. I know many of us would argue that the winters in Delhi ought to get more of the limelight. But that would be stating the obvious. Spring in Delhi just dawns on people, it comes in ever so gently and makes its presence felt in a quiet way.
The flowers just seem to abound, the breeze carries the cool caress of winters mixed with a nice warm feeling. It's at such a time that all the Gulmohurs of this city and the pansies bloom away.
The main roads of Delhi - Lutyen's Delhi - Akbar Road, Shahjahan Road, Nehru Gardens, India Gate, the innumerable roundabouts are full of color. There are reds, yellows, greens of the grass and the trees, whites, oranges, the mad rush of the pink bougainvillea...its beautiful and wonderfully enthralling.
Waking up in the early mornings when the moon is still shining away and the sun is not yet out, the breeze is caressing, and the sound of the birds soft and almost like a whisper, it is then that one can discover Delhi in all its beauty on a beautiful Spring day.
No matter what people say about this city, about it being dirty and not friendly, this is home to a lot of us...that of course is another story.
This one is for celebrating the beauty of this city heightened by Spring. Though none of the poets have written about this waether in Delhi, nor do the tourist brochures talk about it in detail, I strongly belive that if Delhi's foggy winters can make you belive in romance, Delhi's colorful spring can just make you feel all the more hopeful and positive about love, life, and other mundane things.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Shahrukh Khan

SRK - Shahrukh Khan - the man who spells magic in Indian cinema. He's considered a man who is very grounded and very dedicated to his work.

I don't know him at all nor am I such a film gossip buff that I would be updated about his moves. history or anything else. Yet, I would say I'm an admirer of Shahrukh. It's strange what that mna can make you believe. In movies like Kal Ho Na Ho which is not his best performance per me, and you know he can do better. Yet, there are those scenes where he uses his eyes to express it all. One look at them, and you know you will never regain from the magic or the charm. I have been critical of movies like Kal Ho Na Ho and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham yet there is this attraction towards these movies. Each time they show it on TV, I'm glued to it. No matter what I might say - the story lacks credibility, why is the ending so melodramatic and more...yet I will sit and watch them. I will shed a tear or two along with Shahrukh and feel sad about his impending death.

I remember having read in one of his interviews, a long time ago, that "he wanted to make people dream". And he's surely succeeded in that. Each time I watch him, I feel reassured that such men exist - even if only in films - men who are sensitive, who love their mothers, and their girlfriend's mothers (:-)), who are witty, who are the best of friends, and who have warm, beautiful, brown eyes.

It's the eyes, I think which has the power. And Paheli is his best performance till date - subtle, expressive, sensitive, poetic, heart-warming. His performance makes you want to belive in him and his dreams.

Another recent article attributed the statement to him that "I still have to win the Oscar for India". And again one believes in him.

Sharukh Khan's magic works even on my father who is not at all a movie buff - but was overwhelmed by his performance in Kal Ho Na Ho. And always thinks of him as that hardworking kid who is honest and has made it big by being dedicated and grounded.

So what is it about Shahrukh Khan? I would attribute him to be an honest, dedicated, hard working, sensitive, generous, god-fearing, witty man. And like I said, all this because of his warm sensitive eyes...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Saturday afternoons

I've had this moment in time after a very long time. The moment that I 'm talking about is this sense of calm and peace. Being alone at home and at peace on a Saturday afternoon without having any place to go or anybody to meet or anything to do is an interesting feeling. Today it is that of calm, of feeling rested.

The week before saw a Saturday lost in traveling and meeting long lost people. I met Archi after not a very long time. and then there was Rashmi...she looked exactly the same. It was unbelievable to see her primarily because meeting her reminded me of the time when we were still young at heart and so fresh and so blase right after our independence trip. The play that followed was another jewel. It was a very powerful play, and like I have always believed Hindi plays and poetry seem to have such a moving impact. And I would think the same of French ones...

This Saturday afternoon is typical. There is music to be discovered. As Manu Chao sings, I'm taken back again to those wonderful days in France. The days gone by seem to have that wonderful freshly washed hue that one reads about in books. The memories are sparked by a particluar song or a sound.

Remember the Notre Dame de Paris and the fondue and the red wine. Those long evenings that began sometime in the afternoon and went on till the wee hours of the morning. Michel showing us the pictures of his visit to India. The elephants, the Taj, the boat rides and the carefully preserved DTC bus ticket. And then the music that filled in the days...there was Tiamo, and Francis Cabrel, and Patrick Bruel and other names that I forget but the tunes stay in my mind.

Saturday afternoons are the best time to be yourself and by yourself. And of course there are Summer Saturdays, Rainy Saturdays, Winter Saturdays, lonely saturdays, wicked ones and sad ones. The one today is my favorite type - long, quiet, unrushed, and musical - spanish, french, italian...n'importe quoi mais toute douce qui touche le coeur et qui me fait reposer.

Let me go and discover some more music and lose myself there.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Nouvelle langue

Well, it has been quite a week or was it weeks that all that seems to be having in my world is deadlines, fixes, and making sense of language. In the midst of all this "excitement" that the work I do provides, I think what tops the list is the new words one keeps hearing and the new -isms. Well here are a few rare gems:

  • "We should stop creating page turners."
    If only somebody would enlighten me or else the world out there in the Content Solutions world that a page turner is supposed to be all good..yeahh...all good. When something is a page turner, it means it is so engrossing that you have to keep turning pages to read on and find more. But, alas, the new-age IDeas of the janpath scoff at any such meanings. For them a page-turner is a No No No (now I'm singing...).
  • "Language is a no-brainer."
    My apologies but I rest my case after having said as much as I could about the creators of page-turners...

I will be back...:-)

Friday, January 20, 2006


Basically, this is for me. I had been planning on creating a blog of my own for quite some time. Though to be honest I dont know as of now what it is that I plan to put up on this blog of mine..I will keep myself updated.