Tuesday, August 21, 2007

dilli billi

This post has been long overdue,I havent had time to even breathe from the moment I got back from Delhi.Did u hear that right??yeah.I spent an absolutely amazing time at the capital,at shreya's place.Her mom's technically,since madame has made Michigan her home since last year.I was so excited about the trip since I havent travelled anywhere above Mumbai,which is considered 'North India' for us chennai-ites!After much planning and packing,I was ready to face Dilli.
We did all the nice girly and touristy things.Shopping was super fun especially at Janpath market. There was so much cute stuff we dint know where to look first.The sad thing was I couldnt really buy too much since they were too skimpy to wear in chennai."but where will I wear this in Madraaaaas???" was my constant lament. But hopefully,if all goes well, I'll be out of here soon...that pretty much explains it all.(Nana,if you are reading this close your eyes.:-D).Dads.sigh.
Day 2 was a visit to the mall and we watched Chak De.What a cliche.Watching an almost patriotic movie on Independence day.We all actually stood for the national anthem before they started playing the film.It was awesome!The nicest part of the movie was SRK(big surprise there.he's the KING).He played his age and there was no faltoo romance or some hot actress just for the scenery! or any lame songs.10 points for that.
The next day we graced Agra with our presence.We headed out to Fatehpur Sikhri first to visit Akbar's palace/fort.En route,we got stuck in a 'traffic jam' involving 4 autos,2 carts,a couple of scooters and our car.Very rustic.
The Fort was lovely.Although I was piqued by the fact that Akbar built this huge gateway like thing,Bulandh Darwaza, when his son was born.And honoured that wife with the biggest part of the palace and all.
The Taj was our next destination.We were practically fried by the time we reached there. But the beauty was truly worth the wait.The symmetry was absolutely the best.And to think they did all that with just a piece of string and a ball for a pendulum! Well,to be brutally honest,the roads leading to the Taj and the entire place wasnt maintained too well.Being one of the wonders of the world,why doesnt the government put a little more effort to make the place a tad more presentable at least?? We have visitors from all over the world coming to visit.Do we really want to project India this way?? Apart from blaming the government,Every Indian must want to do a little something to for the country. Even a small gesture like not littering.And of course, a sense of basic hygiene for the surroundings.
One thing that struck me was the number of kids hanging around the place.In Agra,and all the way to the Sikri village.Playing,running around,and many at work with their parents.Weren't they supposed to be in school?It wasnt summer holidays either.All schools re-open in june.We caught sight of a few so-and-so memorial schools here an there.Tired looking nondescript buildings tucked in the middle of nowhere.
This made me think that for all the Big companies,be it outsourcing,malls,clubs,culture,and everything we take for granted,this is what the real India is.Not the handful of cities we are familar with.None of those kids would even have a chance to use a computer,the basic of most things today.That made me sad.To know that as a country we have such a long way to go.And a better education is only one of them.We have other things to think about.Such as the attitude of the people and other social metamorphosis that will only take time.A long,long time.

How this post started from my happy trip to the socio-economic state of India,i dont know.But yeah, food for thought?!

btw. Shre and I got lovely Mehendi on our hands half way to our elbows at dilli haat.Although I wonder if it was real un-adultrated henna,since it dint smell to strong,and it faded away fully within 5 days time.hmmm. But I enjoyed having someone put the mehendi for me,being the puttee,instead of the putter!! :D (license baby.poetic license)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

rainy days in madras and then some more..

I just finished reading a couple of books over the last week.
It's really easy to rip the book apart(which i will in sometime), but 'Madras On Rainy Rays' was actually kinda nice..in a weird way. What i liked about it was Samina Ali wrote it like how it really is.Without much exaggeration.It captured my interest enough to finish the book.Just about.The story as such was nothing to write home about. One of those sad-women type stories. In which the 'heroine' is brought up conservative,taught to listen to parents kind of thing but has lived abroad,gets married to this guy in India and needs to break free.Of course,in the end she does manage to.Which was kind of expected.But not really. You never really know how these kind of books end.Some of them end up just the way they started out. And then it makes you wonder why you went through those 200 hundred odd pages in the first place.Cant they just write something happy or fun??? It is not all about sadness in our indian women lives.What puzzled me was the name of the book. First of all,it hardly rains here.Second of all,they spend just 2 days in Madras.Maybe because it was here the heroine decided to leave her husband?? Because he was actually gay and his boyfriend lands up in a burkha and creates a scene. That was really icing on the cake for an already sad book.Oh yeah,after that,her pregnant cousin who is super close to her since birth is raped and murdred. I think we've read enough of stuff like that to last a lifetime.

'Never let me go' by Kazuo Ishiguro is an almost must read. Nominated for the booker prize for a reason.It is written through the eyes of Kathy,brought up at Hailsham,a private boarding school.She talks about her friends,about their reason for existance.Not a thriller,but definately a page turner.By the end of it,you just end up thinking quietly for a while.Not about anything in particular,but the book does strike something in you.That part of you,that you dont want to spend too much time with.Im talking about life.About death.About how when you are alone you think to yourself if this is the way it feels to live.

Neha's ratings:

Madras On Rainy Days by Samina Ali : 5/10
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro : 8/10

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Its not that i dont believe in God. Its not that i do. I just know that there is some higher force and power up there that makes us just..be. I do the whole going to temples with parents and poojas at home,and everythng. im just not the type to go overboard to prove it. Anytime I go to a temple the first thought that comes to my mind is whethere it will be clean or not. Im talking about the wet floor that is supposed to 'cleanse' your feet,that a million people have waded through, and that place where u have to wash hands.
A place of worship should be calm, it should bring peace and serenity.I am superstitious enough to close my eyes and say a silent prayer not to be offensive to my religeon or to God himself. I just wish people would be more concerned about things like general hygeine.
Even going to Tirupati has become pretty much an ordeal. Buying tickets for the Darshan, standing in the line,and having a glimpse of Lord Venkateshwara for just 30 seconds? In all that mess,a hundred other people around you,praying.The wet floor just adds to the confusion. Do you think God wants you to do that? To spend crores of rupees every year to walk by him between those railings?
Aren't faith and belief on a higher plane than all these mundane things? Or maybe it is that as you grow older, you want something to cling to, something to make your life more meaningful.More than work,and home and kids and responsibilty.