Monday, September 24, 2007

Indian 'Idol'??!!...

"Prashant Tamang crowned Indian idol..." The headlines today in every single newspaper in town.. Prashant is the winner of the popular reality TV show 'Indian Idol'..

Music is one such blessing that can soothe, energize and make one express things that words can hardly do.. It can heal the most bitter of human rifts and create a strong bond forever..
Prashant is not the sole example of this.. there have been a lot of others like 'Abhijeet Sawant' - the 1st Indian Idol, 'Shreya Goshal' - a SaReGaMa finalist,'Sunidhi Chauhan' - part of the 'Meri Awaaz suno'... and lots more.. These talent shows provide a platform to the young and the talented to do well and excel in their respective fields.

Makes me think.. whats it that has brought such a big change?? From where does a shy, unheard of, simple person from a small town in Darjeeling get the confidence to face billions of people, to cheer them up, to bring them all together in unity irrespective of their caste and creed? The only answer i get is "MUSIC"

A lot of reality shows prove just the same.. The show "Indian Idol" has become such a rage everywhere.. I could never even imagine a Sepoy, from some corner of Nepal would become one of the most sought after singers in the country..
A person who was hardly recognised in his own neighbourhood a few months back, is now a person who's recognised and cheered worldwide..
It is not just the hills and valleys that are live with his music.. Its a craze in most of the other parts of India as well.. The programme has got young and old alike - glued to the TV sets and getting them vote and send SMSes in huge numbers to exercise their freedom of expression..

However, I just wonder, If Television and Music have so much of an influential power, why don't people make use of this for the social good? How would it be if people took a similar interest in our elections... If they 'voted' in lakhs and crores to choose an able leader!! If only our idols were more than singing or dancing sensations..!!! :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

DD and Nostalgia....

I was just surfing a few channels today and suddenly got reminded of the good old doordarshan days.. the late 80's and early 90's when we had just two channels DD 1 and DD 2.. we used to be so thrilled to watch our favourite serials/programmes..

I remember waiting for friday nights just to watch 'Chitrahaar' - a programme that showcased hindi film songs.. or wake up early on Sundays just to watch Mahabharat.. There were a lot of children's programmes as well like 'Jungle Book', 'Malgudi Days' and informative programmes like 'Surabhi' or 'Turning Point'...

A lot of TV characters like 'Vaagle' of 'Vaagle ki Duniya or 'Byomkesh' from the serial 'Byomkesh Bakshi' or Karamchand became household names... It would be so difficult to imagine life without these people entertaining us then..

What surprises me is the fact that TV sets werent too popular then and could be found only in a few urban households.. may be because of the cost and the lifestyle that existed.. But there definitely was a strong family bond and a bond of friendship that Doordarshan had created amidst people from the same colony or neighbourhood .. I remember watching serials at my neighbours place with both our families happily laughing together or arguingabout what a particular character in the serial should have done.. Cant even imagine things like that happening today..

There was a time when one could hear kids say, "Ma, even i want to fight Sher Khan like Mowgli...", Such was the impact of DD on peoples minds.. It was an era when people used to watch TV with rapt attention.. A time when the entire nation would come to a standstill for a few moments.. We can hardly find that in the programmes that are telecast today inspite of the innumerable number of channels broadcasting a lot of serials..Whats predominant now is 'saas bahu ka jhagda', jealosy, failing marriages, violence... Thanks to the likes of Ekta kapoor..

Wish time could just stop at that Golden era where spending time with family watchin DD was considered much more enjoyable than any other activity.. The innocence and beauty that DD brought remains something that i would always cherish.. :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Creativity as a 'Career'..

"You want to become a fashion designer???? In this age of computers???"
"Nobody in our family has ever done that!"
"Joining the Navy?? U must be kidding!"

How many times have we heard of statements like these? At least it wouldn't be something new for most of us here.. People here in India, have a preset notion that anything that deviates even a little bit from the normal is a Taboo..

When i was still in College (That's not too long ago.. ;-)) and used to visit my relatives, whose sons and daughters were software engineers or doctors, i was always faced with the most inevitable question.. "Enna Panre?" and when i said B.Com.. the expression on their faces would automatically change to a frown.. It would seem like i was not doing something up to the mark and they are filled with sympathy for my parents for my 'poor intellect'.. The next question or statement would be "Why?? Didn't score well in your 10th i suppose!"...

The Older generation have this stereotypical image of individuals completing their engineering and earning in lakhs and working and slogging hard to lead a happy life.. They fail to see what passion that individual carries with him/her..There are a very few of them who think out of the box and decide on taking up a creative 'career'... May be something in the stream of fine arts or law.. and still do very well in life..

Its not just about engineering or the other sciences scoring over an arts or a commerce stream that bothers them, but more about what would happen to the individuals future.. How would he/she get a job that takes them abroad.. a job that pays well and may be after a few years help you return to India for a few days to show off your new lifestyle and find a suitable partner..

I'm very proud of my cousin who is an artist, My sis who's preparing for her civil services exam, My friend who is an interior designer.. But there is still a great need for people who are creative and people who are ready to think beyond and achieve.. The current stigma or the mindset of people needs to change..

I wish and hope for a revolution that would cause more people to think and act differently and say, "Go ahead Son! Take up your passion.. U'll surely succeed.." rather than saying, "Joining the Army? Which movie inspired you to do that??" :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sneha Nilaya..

It was HIS birthday and i wanted to make it a memorable one for HIM.. Some friends said organise a birthday party at a restaurant.. Some said get him an expensive gift.. Some others suggested a one day trip - away from the bustling crowd.. 'Go to a place where just the two of you would be there or arrange for a candle light dinner.."..

Confusion confusion!! I thought... Whats that one gift which would make HIM happy?? New clothes? An expensive watch? a trip - so that we get to spend some time together?or something that would make both of us happy??? Something that could bring happiness to a lot more people, people who actually didnt have someone who could celebrate their birthday or someone who would care for them and do something for them??

I found my answer... I knew the HE would definitely enjoy such a birthday.. So, there i began, called up my best friend and asked her details of "Sneha Nilaya" - A home for children who are taken care of by the society and not by their parents.. She was thrilled that i came up with something like this.. she promptly gave me the details.. I called up the Sneha Nilaya office (Phn: 080-22210432) and asked sister what were the things that the kids needed.. stationery for school, food.. Took down all details of when the kids would be available and what their regular activities would be as it was a sunday..
The next day, i went and purchased some notebooks and stationery for the kids, called up HIS friends and asked them to reach the place by 10 in the morning with a cake.. and there we were.. ready to organise a surprise party!

It was the day of his birthday.. Called HIM up and wished HIM.. Told HIM i have a BIG surprise.. asked him to pick me up by 9.30.. Met him.. He was neatly dressed and looked cute and smart as ever..He was very curious to know where we were going.. We finally reached the venue..


His friends were there with a cake in hand and he was completely surprised and excited.. asked me, 'What have you people been upto? " We smiled and took him into the premises of Snehanilaya.. Spoke to the nun there and told her that we were here to celebrate HIS birthday with the kids.. Sister called all the kids to the hall and once they came, we gave the books and balloons and chocolates that we got.. brought the cake and asked HIM to cut it.. HE lifted one of the kids there and cut the cake.. The kids sang a beautiful Happy Birthday song for HIM.. HE was speechless.. so were we..

The kids there, they are so much like us.. But they dont have a life that they should actually have.. Most of them are orphans and some of them have a distant relative or two who rarely visit them or can afford to take care of them.. We were very moved when we got to know about the kind of life that they lead..

I made friends with a lot of them very quickly.. There was one girl who had the same birthday as mine.. and not to forget, there was this boy who loved photos.. He kept posing in different ways and wanted to see himself in the digicam.. :-) We played with the kids there and some of them even sang a few kannada and tamil film songs so beautifully.. We then served food to them and fed some of the smaller kids ourselves.. It gave us immense happiness..

I felt very blessed and a little more fortunate and grateful.. Said a small prayer and thanked GOD for what he has given me and also prayed fora better life for so many children who are without any support or care.. and took a decision to try and do anything thats possible from my side to help kidsand people who are not as priviledged.. The experience that i've had in Sneha Nilaya was really something beyond words..

We then left the place though none of us felt like leaving.. It was time for the kids to sleep and we had to go..

HE was almost in tears.. Just smiled and said 'Thank you.. Its the best birthday i've had so far..." :-)