Thursday, December 16, 2010

The year 2010

We are truly arriving at the end of what would be called a very optimistic year for mankind !! Yes, 2010, truly was a fabulous year. It gave assurance to a gentleman named Kasab against death in a country where he raised mayhem. It saw delayed legal proceedings against the gentleman who once promised to change the face of Indian sports arena (he did change it although, to a very sorry one) - Mr. Suresh Kalmadi as he smiled through the Commonwealth Games fiasco with a naughty boy grin. We also saw people behind online social networking or news platforms - Mark Zuckerberg(FB) and Julian Assange(Wikileaks), beating the US president, in the "Times" magazine, person of the year, thus giving the idea of the increased domination of cyberspace in our lives (i am expecting a few nightmares on the lines of Terminator: Salvation).

We saw hope of getting along well with extra terrestrials, when Lady Gaga strutted around with hideously designed weird clothing pieces. The Indian govt. also grew increased confidence in the nation's ability to take shocking scams in it's stride and move on, little perturbed by the 2G in the air, foreign athletes' woes at the games village, Kargil martyr's apartments being taken over by the our true son's of the soil - the dirty politicians and the latest, ulterior corporate motives and active lobbying which came to the fore with the Radia-tapes episode.

Ok, enough with the satire !! There were feel good things also. The Indian Cricket team, finally achieved no. 1 status and held on to it. Quite a dream for the millions of fans who have ate slept and drunk cricket all their lives. We got to watch Indian athletes winning medals by the dozen. We saw the rise of Saina Nehwal, as a top shuttler in the world!! We saw the stock markets rollicking back to the top, adding happiness with generous helpings of caution this time around amongst the investors. We saw a careful budget and a fair court order on the age old Babri Masjid issue. We even managed to warm our eyes to on the hip-shaking Badnaam Munni and Jawaan Sheila.We had Amitabh Bachchan welcoming us on national television yet again in that "omigawd-its-so-grim-n-sexy" tone that only he has, to play Kaun Banega Crorepati. We had Dolly Bindra, who reminded us of what a feel-good happy life we are leading (by not facing her in the Big Boss House). We had a whole bunch of Box office "jewels", to discard and yet, surprisingly, a decent number of good movies on offer from the Indian Film Industry.

Personally, my year was pretty good. I continued to live amongst love, fun and friendship, passing yet another year in glory. Here's a funny list of my achievements or high moments (not weed, silly!!) this year :

  1. Managed two full fledged trips back home !! (Ideally the norm is one)
  2. Managed to retain the "Single and unbothered" status (Ok, this might not be an achievement, for some, but hell, it's my list and i need to feel good about it !!) :-)
  3. Saw the Indian cricket team achieve No. 1 ranking in the world (for a boy, who followed cricket when the national side was beaten blue and black most times, this is a dream..and the best part is it continues...)
  4. Devoured an inhuman number of movies, possible in a year, in many languages, while still continuuing on a job and raising a family (ok, the last phrase sounded valiant, i know it ain't true).
  5. Saved Money !! (yes..yes..yes...Finally proud of myself....Thank you Mom !!)
  6. Struck to the same job, beyond a year (a first of it's kind, didnt happen earlier, for unfortunate "haalaats" !!, still well on course..)
  7. Started watching Plays, two infact - "Class of 84' " and "Get rid of my wife" and loved the experience.
  8. Successfully avoided meeting the frightening species of "choose-me girls" for marriage. With all due respect, will not get to enjoy this luxury for long.
  9. Managed a large all-girls team at the workplace with no issues, and surprisingly no catfights !! (I sometimes feel like Aamir Khan from Hum hain raahi pyaar ke.. remember the song.."Chikni soorat" hehe..)
  10. Succeeded in reviving this blog....despite fewest hits busy hunky dory schedule and my lack of skills in writing on interesting issues !! The motto was and will be to write for self, with an idea to entertain somebody, if he/she happens to stumble across these pages of my creation !!
I think this will be my last post for this year. Thank you 2010, for all that you bestowed. Hope for an even better one in 2011.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Last Pic Courtesy - The Weekday and the Weekend by Your's truly !! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Me and Harry Potter

Fantasy has a part in all our lives. We fantasise, expect, make castles in the air, get dissappointed, move on and then fantasise some more. Over the passage of time, and our journey into adulthood, what is startlingly observed is that, our fantasies have become tangible and realistic, thereby loosing the essence of the term. As kids fantasy meant much more. From Granny's stories to Fantasy fables, there were sizeable contributions for increasing our appetite.

Personally, books have been my major friends since childhood. I devoured stories, comic books etc as a child and probably that led to inculcating reading as a habit. Fantasy, as a medium of prose in my country was very limited. There were tales about magical creatures, forbidden castles, wonder caves, but in solidarity. The more one wanted to read about, the less there was material to look forward to. I remember Chandamama, the children's magazine carrying a series of fantasy adventures, but soon lost focus and it's readers. DD TV serials such as Stone Boy, Alif Laila (unintentionally hilarious), Captain Vyom also faded away. Soon, I graduated into classics and subsequently popular fiction novels.

I was in junior college, and was leafing through a popular magazine those days - "Cricket Talk". It carried a column of Top 10 International Bestsellers Fiction / Non-fiction, and as my eyes fell upon the list i could notice 3 Harry Potter titles in the fiction list competing with the likes of Michael Crichton and other popular writers. I tried inquiring about Harry Potter from different sources ( no, googling was not an option those days, atleast not for me !!). The best i could conclude, was that, it might be a detective series a la Holmes or Poirot and I was looking forward to read them.

My mother had an Operation in mid 2001 and i was attending to her for a brief period in the nursing home in Cuttack. Cuttack happened to be the literature capital of Orissa, my state and I had access to loads of good books and authors at street side 2nd hand shops as well as the famous book stores in the city. This time too, i went about searching for good books to give me company, while i spent time at the nursing home, with Mama.

The book seller proudly showed me fiction novels and thrust in a few Harry Potter books as new arrivals. Upon gazing at the cover art, which appeared quite childish, i wondered if this would at all be a good buy and if it would appeal to the "adult" in me. However, after sparing a careful thought i did buy one of the books - "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", little knowing that it was the fourth book in the series. Perhaps the size of the book (fattest back then) and the slightly adventurous cover art, got my goat !!

The beauty of the prose was such that i could understand the stuff even though i broke midway from the fourth part of the series. Soon i was enthralled, and picked up all the remaining parts of the series, available back then. It was sheer joy, being transported to the magical world of Wizards and Witches. I wasn't a "muggle" anymore !! The whole concept was simple yet mind boggling. The presence of wizards amongst common folk, the platform of 9 and 3 quarters, Hogwarts, Quidditch, the magic lessons and the exciting adventures of Harry, amidst all of this.

I kept up with Harry, reading his adventures as i grew from a teenager to adulthood. I introduced him to several of my friends. Imagination was getting colour by the harry potter movies that kept releasing. Daniel Radcliffe surely was the Chosen one, aprtly supported by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione, Harry's best friends. However the best potrayal of the character was and is being done by Alan Rickman, in and as Severus Snape, the almost evil, Potions teacher at Hogwarts. A few years back, the last Harry Potter book - The Deathly Hallows was released, and thus the prose came to an end. The movie franchise is soon catching up and the first part of the last book, has already hit the theatres (i saw it a week back). Very soon, next year, the last movie would be released, and Harry will fade away from our expectations, to come again. He will be cherished in the 8 DvDs and 7 books that I will treasure. I hope I keep re-visiting the memories. I also hope to pass my joy to my next generation and i hope they cherish the experience as much.

Harry Potter will continue to be the boy who lived.