Sunday, June 26, 2011


My mom complained over the phone how the weather had turned cyclonic and it was lashing outside non stop for hours. There was a power outage and everything had come to a standstill. My parents were back in their home town, a small sleepy hill station during its hay-days but a monstrosity in the make now. I told her that she should be glad that it’s naturally raining as it’s the monsoon unlike dry Bombay and changed the topic.

Later and slowly it dawned on me that it’s been years since I last faced a real storm. Living in the north and now west has been a safe experience (weather wise). Growing up in the east of the country, near to the cyclone zone, however was quite different. Storms brewed constantly and suddenly. Due to the lack of technology back then (not that it’s any good now), most of the times we were caught unaware. Sudden darkening and massive red clouds were the only hints of an approaching storm. Gale force wind would hit in seconds making all the wooden windows and doors bang crazily against the panes. The whole household would then be running around trying to shut and seal the flaying windows, tie up flying curtains and pick up the clothes madly fluttering in the clothesline before it all got wet again.

Once my hyper curiosity had got the better of me and I decided to step quietly outside on the verandah to ‘experience’ the storm. Being tiny and thin, I was immediately thrown against the wall by the hurricane winds where I managed to hold onto a pillar for dear life. Strangely whenever DD showed ‘Golmaal’ (the old Amol Palekar one) and we would be at our friend’s place (only she had a TV in the neighborhood), a storm would hit us making it difficult for us to even cross over to our house. In my memory, it’s happened thrice and till date I have not been able to see the whole film!

Then there were the inevitable power outages and we would sit in the dark listening to the only sound of the wind and lashing rain outside, strangely cozy and reassuring. After much nagging, my mom would open the windows only when the sound subsided and let the cold and now gentle breeze in. I loved sitting on the window sill and look outside as the last few stray bolts lit up the night sky. In the morning, we would inspect the damage….scattered branches, twigs and leaves, flattened plants and broken flowers. It would be days before the electricity and telephone lines were repaired.

Now looking back to those days, I suddenly realized what I miss about those storms the most. It was the feeling of being safe and warm as you would cuddle up close to your mom or dad, huddling or hugging each other as the world fell apart outside.

I can’t remember any other time since then when I have felt so safe and warm, inside and outside.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dr.Zhivago, a love story?

My father went on a collection spree recently – he bought many mo vies of yesteryears, classics like Ben Hur, Born Free, Robinhood, Sound of music etc. I had heard a lot about Dr. Zhivago since school days but never got around to see it until now. Russia is so Beautiful….sometimes I would press pause and just stare at the landscape. Omar Sharif as usual is good but the story left me disappointed. Why would anybody call it a great love story when the protagonist had no idea what he wanted?

And both the characters of the wife and ‘the’ love were also set within the box. A sweet, well bred and sacrificing girl who will always be the wife and a good looking, strong girl who wants more from life is the ‘love’. I have a sneaky feeling if Dr Zhivago had met Lara earlier, he still wouldn’t have married her. He would have still gone ahead and married the dependable and sweet girl because she would make a good wife. (Or the fragile types who can bring out the protector in him, or the long haired, fair, homely variety who can be presented as the nice wife to the world, or the very good looking ones who can be a prized possession). Because that’s how it always is. The (supposedly) stronger woman is left fending for herself, always. Men, like Dr Zhivago keeps running between the two, not being able to stand up for even one.

Give me Rhett Butler or Father Ralph any day. They are what love and men should be (however soppy). Or in today’s day and age, Mr Big who understood what Carrie was (in her words when she saw a fidgety mare…’some are meant to run free and wild and maybe someday a person will come who can run along side her…’).

Ironically all three were created by women writers, so am assuming there is no real life reflection to these characters. Dr Zhivago was written by a guy and we can find such characters everywhere.

Sigh. Maybe I should have seen the movie during my school days. Where the hell are my rose tinted glasses?!

Sunday, June 05, 2011


The past few weeks have been a bit hectic preparing for an event. Sometimes traveling the entire length of Bombay twice over in a day, in the pre-monsoon hot muggy weather. Somewhere it dawned on me how far I have come since my hectic advertising days and felt so glad that its over and gone. Those days, I could handle 48 hours of non-stop work. Not any more. The event left me bone tired.

The day after the event, I was groggy, cranky and in a tired stupor. As my station approached I saw black clouds and felt a cold wind picking up. I hurried home. Somewhere on the way the clouds gave in and it started to pour…soon becoming a white haze. The roads cleared of people in seconds. I walked on unmindful feeling the rain on my skin and in my hair…slowly tricking down my scalp. People stared at me….I didn’t care. The slanting rain hit my back, drenching me making my clothes stick to my back and legs.

All I wanted to do was spread my arms, throw away my bags and just get soaked. Instead I walked on. At home I sat in my wet clothes looking outside my window as pools of water collected on the floor. I could hear a flight landing in the heavy rain. It must have been some ride for the travelers. An impromptu game of street football started amongst the youngsters.

I watched on. I felt alive, all tiredness slipping away along with the rain drops. I pirouetted to a song of Dido that I hummed in my mind.

Its time to step out…to the green hills, cascading water and black clouds.

It’s been a long wait.