Sunday, July 14, 2013

Daastan - E - Shah Rukh Khan

Every era gives birth to a superstar. Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and the mighty Amitabh Bachchan. I was born in an era where A young mass media student from Chandni Chowk, Delhi came into an industry where good guys on screen were the only entity that sold. I was born in the Era of Shah Rukh Khan.

My blog is not a scoop scout. I do not aim to talk about his personal life; none of my business. What I am interested in his the graph, the amazing graph of his cinematic career.

20 years down the line, when SRK walks down the isle to collect the lifetime achievement award, he would look back and say "Phew! That was tough.". Very few actors, not just nationally but globally tend to swim against the current to start off with. SRK was one of them.

I am an SRK fan, and I admit, he looked like a sick mongoose back then. Forget about being the leading actor, a face like that was meant for Radio. But who thought that this very swerve-on-the-chin lad would be the heart throb of million, infact trillion girls going ga-ga for him. But that is not curtains to the story. Shah Rukh is way beyond being a face to die for.

Very few actors have the courage to make a heroic status out of negative roles. Afresh from Fauji and Circus, Shah Rukh was a renowned face on TV. But when he stepped into the film industry, the scene was dominated by goody goody chocolate boys like Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. Even Amitabh Bachchan was romancing women half his age when Shah Rukh entered the rumble. If you place that scenario now, it would be impossible for any actor to stick his granite in the movie foundation as a bad guy. Shah Rukh chose Darr, Baazigar and Anjaam before he became the on screen love God. With those characters he created a "love to be hated" image that set him apart from the contemporaries. He was noticeable. He was different.

Now you might think that Shah Rukh Khan was a brave and courageous man to try that out. But, in reality, Shah Rukh is an ace strategist. He had the with before he laid the smack on the ice flooring. It is simple. If you go against the wind, either you would find unseen paths and discover something new or get blown away. He had nothing to lose. He did not have a superstar image back then, neither did was he looked upon as competition. He chose a path that looked tougher, but was more result driven as no other actor cared about doing grey shade characters back then. The result is infront of you. Those movies are still counted and enlisted in Shah Rukh's best performances.

God has gifted this man with amazing marketing nerves. 2 or 3 negative roles were enough to prove that he does something that others don't. He was well aware of the cliche stalking him from vicinity. Just like a true marketing ace, he switched modes.

Aditya Chopra felt that Shah Rukh is a must for DDLJ, as Raj would open many doors for Shah Rukh to establish himself in the big league. The character of Raj had everything that the audience would like. A son, a friend, a lover and most importantly-  a great guy. This image makeover did wonders to his career and I don't need to mention anymore. The movie is still being screened at Maratha Mandir to packed houses!!

Hence, Khan got tucked tight, and brought himself in a pool where sharks were ready to swallow him from lungs to limb. With the right directors, the right films, the right co-stars and the right promo, SRK became the king of romance he is today. But what made him the phenom he is now??

The success of a product is directly proportional to its visibility. Same goes with SRK. He was, is and I hope will be seen everywhere possible. His PR is not just a team. It is an army handling his public image. When you hear people going woo-hoo for the man, even a piece of log would lay its attention. Shah Rukh through out the past 15-16 years has had the best of media attention whenever and wherever he wanted to. Be it the clash with Salman Khan, the miff with Ajay Devgn, Aamir calling him a pet dog, press conferences, anything. Everything has worked in his favor. He made the nation and primarily girls love him. And when Indian women love and adore someone, even global hatred seems "Paani Kam". Hence, public image intact, and SRK cruising along as per his will and wit. He knows very well where to start and where to stop. That is one of the roots of his survival at the top, or rather dominance.

Those who call Shah Rukh Khan a bad actor are mere blind haters. The man has given timeless hits. Films like Swades, Chak De solidify his mettle as not just a romantic, but intense actor. Negative roles don't need a mention again. He is the best at it. Shah Rukh Khan does a set of comedy that other actors would make a heap of over acting. Imagine Aamir doing Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Salman or Saif doing Om Shanti Om. He has created his own style. And yes, he went overboard in several movies, but boss, "Overacting woh hi karta hai, jiko ACTING aati hai."

SRK is a man of classics. He makes his movies worth remembering. Be it the romantic sagas, the remakes, the sequels or even the supporting roles. His screen presence is not a revolution. It is an evolution. Almost 3 decades old, Khan has managed to do everything and anything to please to audience worldwide. This inversely gathers huge collection for his movies not just here, but abroad too. His fan base and the way he handles them, impeccable!

Khan is not the best looking man on this planet, neither is he the best dancer, nor the best actor. But he is a gifted guy, who despite of all the no-please-not him factors has made a place in the books that has greatness written all over him. He has formed a legacy. He is a brand; very expensive and highly cost effective.

But everything has its price. Whatever he has earned was not for free. Not even his fame. Fame in the idustry is highly perishable. Takes an eyeblink to lose. Over the years Khan has done things which are off the hook. But how long do people see the same things? How long can he be the lover boy who gets the girl out of all odds? How long can he be the Rahul who is still in his teen?

Lets be honest. SRK is 47. He is by no means young anymore. Leaving aside Chak De and Swades, Shah Rukh has mostly refrained and avoided intense movies. Why? Because he thinks that it would not please the target audience. He is not trying something different, rather than selling old stuff in new packages. His Guitarist character in Jab Tak Hain Jaan did no god for him. He looked kike an overgrown Uncle who was till fancying his long lost youth. Neither did any of his recent releases. Don is however an exception to some extent. The grey shade suits him. Ra.One was a blunder, and that can be forgiven unless he repeats it.

Shah Rukh understands this more than you, me or anybody. But the fact is, the stem that he grew is now a tree that nobody is willing to water. Shah Rukh sooner or later has to make one final switch. Romantic flicks are not meant for him anymore. Those craters on his face are visible despite of priceless make up. He has to move to something different. You have to agree, he looks much better with that stuble he is sporting nowadays. Maybe something intense is in the pipleline.

Lets face it. After My Name is Khan, which too was not a blockbuster, Shah Rukh has not done anything that exemplifies his stature. Rather than over hyping every movie of his. I agree, he is a superstar, a fantastic actor. But that would be of no help if he stays stuck. There was a time where he was a distant number one, and now, Salman and Aamir are quite ahead of him. Be it movies, or box office collections.

Chennai Express, I hate to say, is his defining moment. If this movie bombs, Shah Rukh Khan would really struggle to get back to the spot he belongs. He has flirted with his career recently doing similar roles. Remember Rajesh Khanna, India's first superstar? he ended up doing b-grade roles. So did Mithun Da and even Amitabh Bachchan went to the lowest when luck ran out.

I am not saying that Shah Rukh is out of gas. But he is caged by monotony. He has to pick up roles and films that take him to the next level. Rahul is gone. Let Ranbir do those roles. Suits him more.

Very few people know, I disliked Shah Rukh Khan when I was a kid. It was Darr and Baazigar on Zee Cinema that made me his fan. And Since 1994, I have seen all his flicks - first day, first show, with family, friends, bunked even exams. That is the level of emotion and craze this guy generates. As a loyalist, I want Chennai Express to achieve blockbuster status. As a cinema lover and someone who appreciates this man's credibility, I hope he surprises us all again, and proves that "Daastan - E - Shah Rukh Khan ka koi end nahi, Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Guwahati - Beyond the manufactured myth

Last Friday, as I was gulping down fish after ages in the corners of Colaba, Mumbai, something struck my senses. My lady is a foodie. She lives to eat. As she had the first bite of her piece of fish, she jumped to stern comparisons between fishes here in Maharashtra and the ones relished over there in Assam.

My blog is definitely not on cuisine specialty. Neither is it on regional dispersion. It is about my sudden realisation which makes me feel, "Why did I come away from such a beautiful city??"

After being in several cities across the national map, I have arrived at a highly individual judgement - Giwahati is by far the best city to reside; budget and belonging blend perfectly. I am a Guwahatian, ask me. It is serene and thrilling at the same time to be there.

Now talking about the title of my blog, I get amused and a bit annoyed when people, without complete information ask me, "You're from Guwahati? Is that place safe? Is your city covered by trees and hills all around? Are there actually so many terrorists? Do you have malls in your city?"

Ok, I shall answer those queries. Yes, it is covered by trees and hills, but it is not a jungle as the news channels proclaim it to be. Yes, we have malls in our city. You call it a city, and you think we don't have malls. Its like going to a movie theater and craving to saying, "Do they show movies here?". Quite alike rest of the cities in our country, Guwahati too is blessed with unwanted urbanisation -Pun intended. How could you expect us to configure the exact number of terrorists hiding in our yard. Yes, there are terrorists. Where, we don't know. How many, that too, we have no idea of. But one thing is common-  we want them to be eradicated asap! And don't be nervy about the safety. We live peacefully there. I have lived 24 years there without anybody laying a gun on my forehead, without anybody raping my near and dear ones, without being blasted by a bomb or any other explosive. Just like any other state, we too share similar day-to-day difficulties. What people outside this state think is a fruit of the sense-killing-sensation frenzy media houses framing Guwahati and particularly Assam as a third wheel

Moving from the courtyard explanation, I would like to magnify what makes Guwahati the beauty it actually is.

If you want 3 reasons to visit Guwahati, then it has to be emotions, the peace of a town and the people. A city encircled by people of many castes, creed and caliber, Guwahati gives you the feel of a cosmopolitan that it is; never promoted that way, however. What I miss here in Mumbai, and to an extent Pune is the emotional connect people share. Here money sits atop governing human action and making people act accordingly. I saw a friend of mine in Bandra recently. Immediately, I waved my hand and told him to stop. In return, he made a gesture saying that he would call me later and it is not possible to stop at the moment. The friend, was from college, and we collided after 3 long years. Back there in Guwahati, even if you're into a grand Prix, if you trace a friend, the immediate step is to stop and have some word and make yourself feel good. People in Guwahati too have financial and personal targets. But hardly have I seen anybody behave like a money driven mongrel and create 200 acres of personal space in that vigil.

I miss the food. After Calcutta, if any city has the potential to feed the hungry belly at every step, then it has to be GHY. From momos, to egg roll, from fried rice to jhaal muri, everything is there matching every pocket. We don't have that much of 5 star hotels, honestly, we dislike spending 450/- for a chicken curry. Guwahati can feed every class of people. Even if you earn 4000-5000 a month, you won't starve. You will have a life surrounded by your needs and will never go into debt- as long as your children don't whine for those fancy cellphones and sport bikes. To say, Guwahati is the land of the Middle class marathon. We love our life of saving every single penny at the month's end. We prefer Annapurna Plaza to branded outlets for shopping. You won't find Audis and Mercs apart from remote highways. We have our rickshaw wallahs helping us out since time immemorial. With 5 modes of transport, namely, hand-rickshaw, bus, auto and Trekker - famous as tempo in other places, we don't struuggle to port from one place to the other. It is quie convenient.

Every place on earth has its pros and cons. Guwahati too has its own doom's day devices. The aim to make it a metro city is a foolish draft of the state government directed by the central body. Firstly, too many flyovers have shortened the width of the roads. We are a town, we won't need express highways booming out of every lane. As for instance, the Ulubari flyover is a waste of manpower and material. Nobody, fearing the mileage and fuel effectiveness takes that bridge, except city buses. Resultant, the shortened lanes below have more cars than its actual capacity. This has made most of the roads mucky and filled with vehicles. And, easy downpayment has allowed almost everyone to fetch a vehicle and flood the roads. As per surveys, Guwahati after Delhi, has most number of vehicles based on its traffic capacity. Very soon, crossing the roads would be a gold medal winning affair.

Modernization is a term highly misunderstood by most of us. With the inroads of KFC, Mcdonald's, Subway - (yes, we have those, you goof!) people have formed stigmas that make them laughing stocks. Dress code to be exact. Now you would say, "Tere baap ka kya jaata hai!?". Well, I am not addressing the entire crowd, but people who are a victim of their own deeds. Our Guwahati crowd is divided into composite sets. 1) who maintain their culture with rigid ethics, 2)Who are modern mentally and pace with every age and generation, 3) Who were into skimpy dressing prior to the inroads of the western wind and 4) Who have suddenly transformed into Halloween attendants after the arrival of thewest aping culture. I am talking about the fourth set. When you see aunties wearing cleavage revealing attires with breasts accumulating a  circumference more than the moon, all you could say is, "Shit, this is not my town!". Is there a rule to speak English in malls and eating joints? I don't think so. This particular problem is existent all over our nation -zabardasti ka smart!! Wrong use of freedom of choice and spirit of independence.

Yes, we were famous for the greenery. Note it, we WERE. With the exodus of urban thinking, we are running out of trees and parks with a substitution of malls and multiplexes. So, people claiming us to be cavemen can be rest assured. We are following your steps of stupidity and marching towards global warming and universal whining. Still, the amount left is satisfactory and can be called enjoyable by the people residing within.

Time, trend and taste has kept moving, but some things in my city has remained intact. Rickshaw fares might have gone from 5/- to 15/- but, the joy of riding that three wheeler hand driven beauty is something inexplicable; devoid of the fuel fiasco. There are countless malls, roads are not as broad as they used to be, but the lanes still yearn for those groups which played cricket till mother came rushing, fuming with anger. My city is just as yours. We too have people who listen to various genres of music, play them on stage, in the bathroom. We don't have a huge population alike Mumbai, Calcutta and other metro cities. But that is our numero uno feature. We are not a metro city the government and pundits claim to be. We are a town of simple people who dream, emote and most importantly, have time for the other. We do have problems, we do wake up to sleep with peace at the end of the day. We are not the Guwahati you know throught mediated information. We are not a jungle, where cannibals reside. We are way apart from set perceptions and conventions. We are not televised as much as other parts of the country. We are in print because of ULFA, Tribal strife,  bomb mishaps, bad road conditions, but isn't that a common problem in our country? Isn't that what every other state faces - Terror, natural disdain and human stupidity. We don't belong to the lobby. We are as much a consistent part of the country as any other entity on the map. China can't just claim parts of our seven sisters to be theirs and take away new menu. Political angles have dominated us for long now. If you ever arrive here, you will, thereby get the evidence that Guwahati is way beyond word of mouth offerings, way beyond stigmas, way beyond set conventions and way beyond the manufactured myth.

I miss that city. I could write about it till the earth stops spinning. But the better option is to go there and enjoy my city in person. Haven't been there for 10 months. So, I am coming home! Guwahati Calling!! Hope you had a good time reading.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Passion VS Responsibility

And I am back to blogging again.

At this age of 25, and back then when I started blogging, I have encountered various shades of life. The blog is named Passion VS Responsibility for a reason.

I am right now facing a problem of identity crisis. The reason is clear and simple. Some years ago, I was a columist for a newspaper. Now, I am an ex columnist, copywriter, and a full fledged musician. And the worst part is that am good in all of them.

Not just me. There are countless who face the problem of choice. There are many who do not know which direction to follow. And I at this age, again, am facing the same problem. I have witnessed equal amount of "success" in both the domains. I am an aspiring copywriter who knows that he will be working for a op notch advertising agency very soon and I am also a musician who knows that his band is in the vigil of being a world class band. So, I somehow fail to choose. I don't know where to go. Both are passion for me. Both are equally important for me. Its like choosing between your wife and your child.

Now there are two binoculars of seeing deep into this situation. One is the emotional aspect that says chase your passion and excel. But life is Not 3 idiots and I am not Aamir Khan who has a scripted-happy-ending. Ok, I can chase my passion. I can drown myself into music from head to toe. But in a country, where music is more of a gamble than a passion or a hobby, what could be the success ratio? Is there 100% possibility of TMKC ruling the charts? What if the other members alter their priorities? What if I end up with nothing?

Look, I am not an orphan. I am not homeless. I have people along and beside me. And honestly, just like any other male, I too want to get married, have my kids and settle down. My parents however, have no issues in digesting my choice. But the problem is my life.

What if I become a jobless musician, my wife starves at home? Would I be able to sing? Damn NO! I would be much more concerned about feeding her. As by marrying her, I took the responsibility of her life. And in general, it is the duty of a male to keep his family happy. We are not the stronger gender, but definitely the one with heavier shoulders.

Now I arrive at copywriting. This might not give the same magnitude of fame as music shall give me. But I will earn and spend enough as my family wants. I would be able to live a life that I want to. Without taking loans, without borrowing, tension free. I would be responsible shoulder to lean on.

To conclude, Music is an integral part of my life. But I dont live my life alone. And i I am the reason fo somebody smiling, then I better not ruin that smile. Music will be with me forever and I will still be the jaw jattering Rockstar I am. But as of now, I choose responsibilty over everything. And my passion is spending a good life rather than risking .everything. I am not Jim Morrison. Not Hendrix. Not Marley. I am just an ordinary guy who wants to live a happy and secured life.

But, I assure. Let me earn loads, get married, have kids and secure the next 70 years. I will come back as a full time musician. And I promise that.

For now, I am a copywriter who is ready to shake the advertising, free from the conflict of Passion VS Responsibility.

Monday, August 20, 2012

MUSIC happened to me.

Backstage. Drinking as much water as I can. The host announces "TMKC". One by one, we all hop on to the stage. The crowd cheers, and I hear my name in that too. We do our sound check. It is showtime. I am nervous. I am thrilled. Our performance starts.

I still remember those days when all I knew about music was anything shown on Chitrahaar. I was singer then. I did not understand this game of melodies. All i had, was a tendency or skill to grasp any kind of lyrics and store it in my mind for ages.

My friends feel that my voice has an extra zing. My band mate Lakshya Bhatnagar said that it has a divine touch. Some weeks ago, on Facebook, I met a girl who said that she is a fan of my voice. She said that I have an amazing tonal quality.

I would not have been here if I had not started copying singers since the age of 6. I had a skill of imitating every singer with conviction. And since imitation requires accuracy, i did imitate them to a very relatable level.

But i was not a singer. Never in my school, high school or college did I participate in anything related to music. I was known for debate and all the other spheres of participation. Some of my friends get shocked when they come to know that I am the lead vocalist of TMKC.

Now, if anyone appreciates my singing, then it has to be my luck more than my skill.

2011, June. Brahmastra and co conducted the auditions for Forza, an intercollege fest. My senior, mentor and brother Rishab Yadav auditioned me. Prior to the audition, my best friend Prateek Ghatak and now my bandmate forced me to participate in the auditions. There are only two instances before it, that very few know. I had auditioned for Indian Idol. Nevertheless, I somehow auditioned infront of Brahmastra and got selected.

The day after was practice time. And then eliminations. I wanted to underperform, because I thought this fray was not my cup of tea. But, suddenly the mimic inside me exploded and I sang a song in two voices. My mentors appreciated it and shortlisted me.

Then we practiced for sleepless hours till D-Day.

It was Forza time. I was backstage with my mates. I was chosen for the duet first. I had no idea what was waiting for me.

I went onto the stage and saw around 3000 people infront of me!! It was like my the crowd of my school, high school and college combined!! I got nervous. I started shivering. And to add to it, the lyrics ran out of my mind.

But then a miracle happened. I saw faces of my people sitting in the crowd. I saw hope. I saw an anticipation to see good things happen on the stage. I had some seconds to make up my mind. So, at the final moment of the last second, I made a choice. I wanted to do it. I wanted because it made them happy. It made them smile. Alongside Fariya Farooqui, I sang Jugni and we came out with a standing ovation.

And then, later in the evening we had the band competition. Now, I was prepared. I was determined to deliver. I was determined to entertain my folks.

Our band TMKC debuted on the stage. We won the event. And then uncoiled the story of TMKC.

Since then, I chalked out my role. I am an entertainer. I am an impressionist. I am not a singer. I can do anything that can make my people happy. And now, music is the way to do it.

I am ever so lucky to have the most skillful musicians as my bandmates and magical mentors. With them, I feel that I don't need any thing else in my life.

But everything has its price. There are people close to me who think I am wasting too much of time and being complacent about my advertising career. Well, thank you so much for your concern. But I know, 10 years down the line, I will be the Chairman of the numero uno ad agency in this world. Take a chill pill.

Music has not wasted my time. It has infact added poise and sensitivity in me. Lucky to be a member of TMKC. We finished in the top 5 bands in Asia at such a young age. This is our life. Me and my brother Prateek Ghatak are famous for finishing shows, running down to college and giving the best presentation possible.

The best thing about my band is that we know the right balance between career and music. We know that if we don't have food to survive, "Khane ko mann karega. Gaane ko nahi." Each one of us, by God's grace is a talented kid and we are very much aware of our duties and destiny.

Coming back to music, it is a strange feeling when people call you a Rockstar. It feels strange when people chant yoyr name. And it feels strangest, when I guy like me with vague and minimum idea about music is a part of some amazing compositions.

Thank you Brahmastra and co. You gave me a new reason to smile; a new reason to survive.

Backstage. Drinking as much water as I can. The host announces "TMKC". One by one, we all hop onto the stage. I am nervous no more. I met life. MUSIC happened to me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Call me INDIA.

Over the days, I have stayed put and not spoken much about this communal riot, because I personally consider it an act of ultimate stupidity and nonsense.

Honestly speaking, this diatribe revolving around the people of North east and Muslims is a complete make up.

First of all, the heat over there in North east is between Bodos and Bangladeshis. It has nothing to do with the Islamic religion. Second, contrary to the information communicated by the media, Assam does not have a toll of daily riots.

Media needs something to feed their stomach. They have got this issue. They are sensationalising it. Do you really think all the people that are leaving cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, etc are well educated and well informed people? Not at all. Majority of them are the security staff, lower level officials who can be minted very easily by word of mouth.

In a country where everyone has their work, life and schedule, do you think anybody would have the time to trace out people from North east in every locality and drag them out of the state? Quite frankly NO.

You, who are reading this blog, regardless of your religion, do you have any hard feelings for the other religions. The answer again would be NO.

Now coming to the people who have added impetus to this act of foolishness. There is a Bangladeshi exodus into Assam through the Chicken Neck, no doubt. But it does not mean that anybody is against any community. When two communities clash with each other, it is not a religion against the religion. It is stupid and brainless people against stupid and brainless people. A score of people do not represent the entire community.

Don't we have friends from the North east? Don't we have Muslim friends? Don't we have friends from every religion and community? We do have. When we get struck by their affection we understand their humanity. And when we can't digest any act, it ends up on the religion. Why isn't it that it is about the Human that is doing all the classless and brainless stuff?

Suppose you are a Hindu. You don't have much liking towards the Muslim religion and then you fall in love with a Muslim. So, does the community change? Does your community bring any changes in you? No. It is the human being you're dealing with and not the community.

Similarly, what if the Hindus and Muslims were forced to interchange their religion and ordered by God to do so. Would their flaws exhaust? No.Now that they have interchange their religions, would they be different? No. They would be the same human beings. Because it is not about the religion ever. It is all about the humans that do the things in and around surrounding us.

We all have friends from all communities. I, just like all of you have Muslim friends. I am from Assam. I live in a Muslim society. My landlord is a Muslim. And I have one the most peaceful life. I have Muslim friends who I can die for and quite similarly, they could die for me too.

Not just Muslims and people from North east. We all like each other as humans. None of us have issues with each other. Check every second update of Facebook. People are not appreciating this act regardless of  their religion. Just because of the media attention and hype, they scene has been made to look like a fray where people from Assam are being fled away from other states. They are not. It is the uniformed group of people, leaving these states because they can be easily duped by rumours and stigmas. Ask any of your friends living in other states. They too will give you the answer.

I am here in Pune. A ton of my Assamese friends are here. The situation has been over hyped. We all are in peace and harmony. All we need to do is avoid and ignore those stupid groups which try to bring chaos midst different religions.

Communal riots could never happen in the country now, because, we the generation are intelligent and smart enough to understand what is wrong and what is not. We are matured enough to judge the vices. None of us was born yesterday. People have been cat called and teased in every part of the country, but intelligent people move over and do their work.

Practically speaking, we all have a life and an objective to fulfill. We do not have time to get divided and bring more problems in this country. We are blossoming and we should continue that. Talk about religion, all of us have one religion and that is Humanity. In every age, there would be people affecting harmony but we have to sideline that and look forward towards progressive goals.

Reducing the number of sms per day is like adding fuel to the fire of stupidity.

Some people have misinterpreted the meaning of freedom. The Government should cut down every kind of convenience for a day. No electricity. No water supply. Jammed phone lines. Anything. Then everybody would understand how precious and fragile the word freedom is.

We all want one thing. Don't call Me Assam. Don't call me Maharashtra. Don't call me Bengal. Don't call me BIhar. Don't call me religion. Don't give me divisions. CALL ME INDIA.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Politically CRICKET.

Every Indian has one common dream; a dream that comes true for very few. Cricket. IPL is over. We saw sixes, we saw boundaries, we saw edge of the seat matches. We saw it all. And quite frankly, observation depicts that young players have been a pivotal ingredient of this season. I have heard, read and met many who thank the BCCI for emphasising on young players to build the future of Cricket in this nation. Much because, be it Sachin or anybody, nobody is forever. IPL has showered a spotlight on the fresh legs of Indian Cricket. The future is bright. Or the future is manipulated? Let me expose the darker side of the story under bright light. Team India since time immemorial, has been recognised as a batting line up. It has never been famous for a battery of bowlers in the playing eleven. Even a general GK question. "Who is India's best bowler?" would have one answer; Kapil Dev. We might have Zaheer Khan and company, but none of them have been feared and revered by other nations on the field. India misses that one lethal weapon in the form of a bowler with the ability to intimidate the batsman to the core. We hardly wonder, why is it so tough to bring out quality players in nation populated with 1.3 billion people? Why do we always struggle to find a composed all rounder like Kallis? Why do we fail to find a bowler as deadly as Wasim Akram or Glen Mcgrath? Take a guess. The answer would be  quite universal. Politics. Lobbying. Manipulation. If you notice carefully, chunk of the Indian players descend from north and west of the national map. Just one from the east who has been able to survive for 16 years; Sourav Ganguly. Rest left, most of the players come through that lobbied channel. 
The board has failed to find the missing piece of the jigsaw because of favouritism and sly politics.

To drive my point home, let me cite some examples that I have experienced around me. 

Ambar Bhattacharjee, Under Assam 17 Captain, played zonals, won countless trophies. Has been playing for the club for a long time now. But when I ask him about his Cricketing career, he comes up with a blank NO in reply. He says there is no future and more importantly, no money left in the game for domestic players. Especially, players from deep east hardly get noticed.

Ambar, to feed his family and his needs has worked In a Nokia outlet, has done several projects with small companies. A cricketer who was a headliner in the regional newspapers once, now has wrinkles on his forehead, courtesy ACA.

His cousin Abhishek Bhattacharjee was known as the Adam Gilchrist of ACA at a tender age of 14. But after continuous partiality and politics showered on him, Bhattacharjee left Cricket and now is gearing up for his post graduation in marketing.

Just like these two, there are endless cases of Cricketers in the country who dream to make it big and represent the country but end up struggling to make both ends meet.

Rohit Bansal, an under 19 Cricketer from Gujarat committed suicide in 2010, because of being dropped from the team without any reason. He sacrificed CAT to play the bigger leagues, but was left nowhere. His decision to commit suicide might be of a coward. But it was forced by the board by dropping him to slot in a minister's son.

They talk about fast bowlers. When you talk about strength and stamina, nothing beats Tribals. Throughout school and college I have seen many tribal friends who can easily throw the ball at a faster pace than the Munafs and Nehras. The diet of our players is another reason. They live on grilled food. While players of other nations feed themselves with meat, and all the energising edibles. The injury issue is astro-physical, so can't enlist it.

If you remember, a player named T.Kumaran made his entry into the team, bowled consistently at the speed of 138-40 kms/hr. But vanished from the team at the same speed.

The nation struggles to have matchwinning cricketers because of the fixed slot of selection. 

IPL has made us believe that the youth of Indian Cricket has been triggered. But the fact is, there are infact countless Cricketers, who start chasing their dream with a hunger to play but end up starving with a hunger to feed the evil appetite.

Cricket might be glamorous. Cricket might be a financially offering game. But the reality has been smartly hidden by BCCI and the designated state boards, so that we don't even get a sniff and realise that it is Politically CRICKET!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meri Maa Rockstar!!!

This blog is not about my Rockstar persona. It definitely is not.

This blog is dedicated to my mother and all the mothers who allow their children to chase their dreams.

My mother Susmita Roy is guitarist who did M.A in English and started pursuing law. Then she met my Doctor father and decided to settle down, sacrificing her dream of performing at an international stage. One year hence to their marriage, I came into this planet through the interaction of two of the sweetest people of this planet.

Since Childhood, my mother has followed the bow-arrow theory. To say, a child is like an arrow. The more you pull the arrow, the farther it goes away from you. She is a mother who would allow her child to go out and play with friends, roam with them, go for movies, enjoy every aspect of the fun and frolic of life. But if her child fails to come back home before the stipulated time or dwindles and flirts with his academics, she transforms into a Durga avatar.

My mother had some unfinished, yet to accomplish dreams. She became a housewife when both her academic and music life had touched peak levels. My grandfather being the best optometrist in North-East and a man of national repute, never allowed Maa to step out of the house to work as he felt that he had enough riches and bliss to feed his bouma. From Kurt Cobain to Kitchen King Masala, from Shakespeare to Shobji-daal, the shift was tough for Maa. But she adapted, improved and played every role to its merit.

After multiple sacrifices, my mother understands the importance and value of freedom and liberty. She has allowed me to do whatever I do, eat whatever i want to, go wherever I want to go. I had a free pass to magnify and experience the angles of life. She knows how many girls I have fallen in love with; she thinks i had many in my life, but her son is not that romantically capable. She knows whom I am in love with, what my plans are with her. And she never bends head about anything I do, until I lie about it or vice it around.

But I, like most of the children, have taken the advantage of freedom. As soon as I went out of Guwahati. I was encircled by vices. I started gulping alcohol. I did drugs. I tried everything that was not supposed to try, except sex. And I would say that these things are nothing interesting or brave enough to be hooked onto. Very few would disclose this fact if they have done so. But just as I have been brought up by Maa, i don't want to keep anything under cover. I would suggest all my friends not to play with the freedom granted to them by their parents. Too much of anything is bad. Your parents might not kill you for trying vices, but you will lose their faith for the rest of your life. And that is worse than death.

I would also request parents to be normal with their children. If you hide things and make them curious, they will have underhanded tactics to find things out. That is where you lose your child's innocence. Let them grow freely, love whoever they want to, go wherever they want. Allow in limits and they will learn to stay in limits. Scoffing at your children won't get the job done. Make them understand what is correct and what is not. Just sitting on the sofa and ordering your child won't help the cause. Get involved.

At the age of 24, when I hop onto the stage to perform infront of thousands of people, it is not me. It is Mrs Roy's incomplete dream that is coming true. It is Susmita Roy's baby boy living her life that she sacrificed for him and his family. I am fulfilling my mother's aspirations.

When people admire my English and say that I am the best in the lot, it is not me who they are praising. It is Mrs Roy sitting back at home, somebody who taught me whatever I know. I am extending her legacy of linguistic magic.

When you love me, shower your affection, it is not me who feels happy. It is Mrs Roy, who gets the confirmation that her son has become what she wanted him to become.

Still a long way to go Maa. Have faith in me, people across the Global map will chant your son's name. I will make you smile.

Just like my mother, there are many mothers who allow their children to reach the zenith. They act as wings and let their children fly. Salutations, respect and love to all those beautiful women. The world would have been lifeless without you.

Friends, whatever you are today, is because of that lady sitting back and home and making countless sacrifices silently, for you. Run to her and hug her. She is you world.

Scream, roar and be proud to say, "Meri Maaa ROCKSTAR!!"