Saturday, November 24, 2018

And That's What It's Been!!

Can't believe that I wrote last in Jan! Well officially at least.

I've missed this space so much, but not to say that I've been lax with my thoughts and world. I've been writing almost every single day, well virtually I I may say so- there's been a lot of healthy and interesting monologue that's been whipping up storms, designs and logical streams in my head - I've been writing during my quite moments - while bathing, driving, waking up, meditating, even cooking. So there's been a lot of 'coming together'  and 'understanding' a lot of things but it's been seasoned with all flavors - hasn't been all pretty, but definitely all worth it.

Where do I even start? I hope I can remember most or at least, some of it. The year's been pretty nice and gracious - got an unexpected promotion, started emotional wellness sessions at a lot of places including my workplace, studied a lot on topics that interest me, piqued my interest in vegan cooking, got picked up for a very exciting exciting, creative project (outside work), made some very deep connections with some very beautiful human beings, left some who drained my emotionally and finally, started gathering myself to help me get to my better, aspired self.

So let's start with cooking! I realize that meditation brings up things and qualities that you never ever thought you could have - so I'm going to start with the most obvious and tangible of it all  - all those who'v had a glimpse of my gourmet-like vegan cooking pics, would know that I have been a good cook but an average one at that! I haven't been someone with an 'eye for the emerald' when it comes to ingredients, nutrition value and taste - but off late, a lot sprung up. I played around with ingredients, combinations, flavors, cooking styles and most importantly, brought together food basis their nutrition value. where did that even come from??

Then I move on to aesthetic touch in interiors and designs - I suddenly feel this year, my mundane curtain's risen for good - I now have an eye for the slick - for the dainty, the elegant and the graceful art. As I started to blend in with my newer-found preferences this year, then came about my inner pulse. Just I started to settle in with the above, I was flooded with a deep desire to really go out there and make a difference - I know that sounds so vague so let me zero down to the point - I decided to keep it plain and simple - decided that Let me start with simple wishes and simple desires if I wanted to change the world and bless it with happiness. So having started this on my own, I in no time, got together with a cozy set of friends and started to do 'let's cook a meal for someone' saturdays (we call these 'Super Saturday Seva days) wherein we all together pre-decide a menu, cook some food our selves, stack it up in our cars and drive around to serve that food to someone who's slogging it out in the sun to earn a living. Serving with love each day, month after month, with a smile has made us realize that we are so blessed and that there is no service greater than making someone smile for such a simple thing like a meal. The satisfaction, the zeal and the understanding that this activity has provided us has been immense - I am very proud to share that today, we are almost 15-16 people who get together one saturday every month for this.

With all of this, also came a change in my mindset and my concepts - It would be safe to say that a lot of concepts got smashed this year. A lot of my mainstream thinking shattered through the ceiling and I realized it actually meant nothing - it means nothing to hold on to your ancient beliefs if it doesn't bring you happiness and peace of mind. I realized that no thought is of value if it doesn't liberate you - but what's important while you do weave a new mindset is to never lose your integrity, never to infiltrate on someone's peace and joy, and to always be committed to a cause/person (as the case may be!). Basically - never do this at the cost of something or someone that really, really matters in your life.  Oh and yes! the staircase fall was bad but with this grace, doing so much better now and have even re-started my yoga. Realized how yoga and exercise play such a vital role in our lives in managing not just our body, but our minds too.

And this year - I traveled with the master for knowledge, happiness and grace. I attended some beautiful programs that helped me to re-contain myself, focus on the positives and re-group my energies to create an even better tomorrow. Tell you what - there's a lot of activity happening beneath the surface - I almost feel like the swan, who above the sea level is very poised and easy, but doing heavy paddling with its legs beneath the sea level. But it's all good..because there's no better existence that earning what you achieve in life - whatever wisdom, grace and good things throng your life - it ought to be well earned and well deserved!  And with that add on to your life some very special people who make you smile at life and yourself - that's also worth holding onto! It's important to just bear-hug those people who care for you, who make you feel armed and protected, who make you feel uplifted and serene, and those who have a plan for you to come out of life's event unscathed. I think I'm very, very grateful to god to have people who see me beyond my exterior - who see me beyond my toughness, my clumsiness and my sometimes mundane thinking - they are the one who fight for my happiness when  I myself stop believing in it, they are the ones who keep my dreams going when I choose to open my eyes and wake up, they are the ones who push me to move forward when I want to stop and abandon the journey...they are my jewels!  If you're reading this - do count yours :)

So nothing more to say in this one except for a book that I wanted to recommend - I came across this lovely opening synopsis on the upcoming book 'HAPPINESS EXPRESS' by celebrated TED speakers, Bawa and Dinesh! They've written down this very interesting book on 'how to be happy'..pretty basic, right?...WRONG! this book is filled with crazy facts and ideas that can enhance your health and happiness..I'm not telling you more..If you trust me, go to Amazon and get your copy now.

Next write up, will have lots of interesting details rather than just an generic 'I feel like this' account..Wait for it! Toodles...

Monday, January 29, 2018

'Padmaavat' Movie review : A tale of Rajput Grandeur and Honor showed right!

Let this be said first, “You are no less than a brave rajput if you saw Padmaavat in a movie theater this
weekend.” (Ok, Pun Intended.) Needless to say, everyone’s been waiting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s
magnum opus, Padmaavat (originally titled ‘Padmaavati.’)

Have to say, SLB’s Padmaavat was worth the 2.5 hours and every seat that was taken in the hall. It was
a complete sell-out - had to be. After all, the incessant buzz and controversies surrounding the movie
had pipped the curiosity quotient to its peak. Everyone who cared, and did not care, wanted to see it.

Well, the story line does not need an introduction - The epic drama is a fictional account of a folklore tale
set in Northern India of 13th century where half the country was under the invasive spell of the Sultans
(originally from Afghanistan) and the other half, the mewars of Rajasthan. So the tale revolves around
the supposed-to-be-the-prettiest queen of India, Rani Padmaavati (played by Deepika Padukone) who is
married to the King  (played by Shahid Kapoor) of Chittor (Rajasthan province). The then-sultan of Delhi,
Mohd. Alauddin Khilji (menacingly played by Ranveer Singh) sets his desires on the Rani and wants to
capture her. The movie is a depiction of his obsessive pursuit and how his ill-wish destroys Chittor and
the lives of its royal family.

So first the performances - Deepika as the poised and dew-beautiful Maharani Padmavati is a delightful
restrain. She holds back her charm, sense of drama and her mannerisms exactly as it is required to
carry out the role of pretty yet subtle-ly intelligent queen. She is portrayed to be god gifted in all spheres
of existence - physical beauty, inner sensitivity and wordly and spiritly intelligent. The introduction scene
between her and the disgraced priest of Chittor, Raghav Chetan with some racy Q&A session is a
depiction of her clarity, her vision and her understanding of life. Deepika gracefully blends into the
rajasthani folk dance ‘ghoomar’ in the celebrated song and efforlessly oozes pain from her eyes in the
dramatic scenes. Her attire and jewellery is a proud representation of the class and charm that
Rajputana ladies are known for. Shahid, is a quite a revelation - He doesn’t really have an author backed
role and does well to come across as a  fine rajpur king - brave, ethical and not overtly emotional.
Having seen him in my childhood as a small boy, it’s always hard for me to envision him in a character’s
skin but this once, he totally moulds into  Raja Ratan Singh of Mewar. Now the creamy character -
Sultan Alauddin Khilji. He is shown to be a brutal, stubborn, purely evil king who does not bat an eyelid
before killing, backstabbing and indulging in adultery with his narcissicistic and menacing tendencies.
Ranveer totally aces the act and you end up despising his menacing eyes, body language and way of

SLB doesn’t go wrong with the character artistes (special mention for Raja Ratan Singh’s Senapati
Badaal and Khilji’s elegant and pretty wife, Mehrunissa played by Aditi Rao Hydari). But the top mention
is probably for JIm Sarbh who plays the gay slave of Khilji. His evil buffoonery and vicious body
language makes you really dislike him  - the forbidden attraction between him and Khilji is however, very
delicately handled and no where does it go crass.

I have a  very strong Rajasthan connection from my mother’s side of the family and I’ve got to admit, my
eyes light up on anything rajasthani - from the forts to the gorgeous dressing to the dance styles to the
elegant ways - I notice it all. The artists, the choreographer, director of photography and the director
ensure they do not make a caricature of the set up at any instance and that is a huge win for the team.
The scenes of warfare are impressive, and rest heavily on video graphics. Good show there!

The music perks up at the right time and is evenly stacked with the pace of the film. BUt what walks away
with the ultimate accolodes is the deep background score of the movie. The background music will haunt
you even as you walk out of the theater once the moview ends, and is the hero in the climax scene.  
Speaking of climax - the much talked about ‘Jauhar’ scene has been very aesthetically shot and depicted
and does not in any way, promotes sati as a concept. If you’re contesting that, remember, this was set
up in 13th century where Sati was prevalent in the society.

Before I wrap up the review, want to really say this! There is nothing objectionable in the movie that would
disgrace Rajputs. I, infact, felt that the movie only glorifies the aan, baan and shaan of the Rajputanas. It
does not try to poke fun or sling mud at any castes. Hence, I do not understand the uproar that’s been
raging for the past 304 months.

So clearly, you can’t miss this one since no one recreates history like the way Sanjay does! He is a
magician with opulent sets, dishy dresses, larger than life characters and historic stories. He knows his art
and he worships it..It’s visible - so please  - do go and watch it and celebrate India in its historic
grandeur and heritage.

Rating - 4/5

Sunday, January 7, 2018

HNY '18: The Year that was, The Year that shall be..

It’s a brand new year! Drum roll for 2018 please.

First of all, please accept my heartfelt, deepest and warmest wishes for a wisdom filled 2018 and a year that fills your life with happiness, good health, success and peace.

So ideally this post should have been written and posted almost 10 days back since it’s my ode to 2017 but there was something that was keeping me from penning this one. I perhaps, just wasn’t ready with the summarizing and the depth that this post demanded. 7 days into the new year, the attempt is ready to translate into a post.

So, how was 2017? If you ask me (or even if you don’t ;-)), 2017 was a whirlwind of a  year. It was a very qualitative year marked with a lot of growth, ups and downs, hard work, and a lot of introspection. Not everything was hunky-dory but the learning was immense. I learned a lot about people, perspectives, mindsets, ideologies, insecurities, capabilities and love.

2017 had started with a celebration of a close friend’s wedding which turned out to be bitter-sweet, since it left me with a freak injury on my left foot’s finger, miles away from my home. It scared me, made me miss my family and basically tested my nerves -  I thought I had nerves of steel only to realise, witness and address my vulnerability in those 3 days and the months that followed. The months thereafter  were filled with a lot of travel, a great deal of exposure to different people, different cultures and different viewpoints.

Then came the most special part of 2017 - I embarked on an inner journey of two weeks where I went through a lot of toil physically, mentally and emotionally to come out like the bruised but shining miner straight from the coal mines with the rarest and the brightest of diamonds in his hands - yes, I became an AOL faculty and now take courses where I teach friends, family, acquaintances and strangers on how to mediate, manage the self and lead a happy, peaceful life - the biggest gift that the divine can bestow on us, clearly.

Of course, I had my share of ups and downs and still do to be honest - but I never became a teacher with the disclaimer of never having to feel down and out, or low or victimized or any other emotion that I should not feel. I only subscribed to the fact when I became a teacher that we all are learners on this journey of life. This stamp is not a certification of our superiority but a human reminder that I will learn myself when I will talk knowledge and impart lessons and activities. I actually learn the most when  I am teaching - It’s a resounding lesson. I realised that I do not need to be hard on myself, and keep proving myself to everyone around me - I realised that I am all heart and that the stamp from the world will not be the make-or-break of my life.

SO here’s a little summary  of my lessons that ought to help each one of us

  • Not everything in life goes as per us but as they say “Whatever is happening, is either the best or for the best.” I actually accepted that and shrugged my shoulders well enough this year. I made sure I didn’t exercise ‘passive acceptance’ but ‘active acceptance’ - and that was the key. Gradually, it took away all my fears, sense of inertia and filled me a with a lot of hope. 
  • Never ever subscribe to external voices, fears and notions. Pick up that relentless inner voice, no matter how bleak it is, pick on that, cultivate it with right thoughts, affirmations and observations and let it guide you to make your right choices. Please take note - there’s nothing like ‘the’ right choices. If anything like that exists, it’s only ‘your’ right choices. We all know what’s best for us, so best to go with that inner voice - It’s your constant self talking back to you about hidden dangers, real love and hidden opportunities. 
  • I learned that fiction or conflict is only a visible evidence of your inner turmoil of emotions. When we have a conflict with someone over something, it’s really not them unless it’s about domestic violence, or some grave issue. Having a petty argument over something silly or immaterial is essentially us succumbing to all our temporary inner emotions. So either I can let that emotional cyclone pass by observing it or really give into it and create a little cyclone. Not worth giving in no?
  • Then I understood that travel is freedom. Travel is fresh air. Travel is a lethal break. Travel is respite. Whether something goes right or wrong, whether you are sad or not - do pack that travel bag once in a while and jet off. Get away to your happy place, one that makes you trip on life, one that makes you laugh that hearty laugh and gives a glint to your eyes, Why? Because you come back sane and detached. And no, Facebook pics and post are not always necessary - I followed that this year, kept people guessing where I was and enjoyed the maximum.
  • I realized that you need to dream - I mean you need to wish for something and chase it down to the point of your having achieved it. Ok, so I’m not talking about that girl or guy you’re obsessed with, I’m talking about some aspiration or some vision that you foddered in your life - now’s the time to gun for it. When you keep a bigger goal, the universe actually brings to you all resources, circumstances and people who will take you closer to attaining it.
  • I also realized that I love cooking :)  I have always loved it, but I was never the gourmet kinds.But over the last few months, I picked up love for fresh, vegan ingredients that are healthy and joyful to the flavor palette at the same time. I learned to experiment with flavors, cooking techniques, presentation styles and healthy substitutes for designated old horse ingredients. Actually, it wasn’t the food that drove me to cooking but a rising sense of creativity that found it’s outlet in delicious food for my loved ones. 
  • I also learned to say ‘So long’ to all those I didn’t need in my life - I cut out everyone who I knew is not going to make me a better person or even those who wanted to shake my inner peace. I can love ,of course, but not when you’re almost on the brink to ask for my inner beliefs and peace of mind. I can love unselfishly but never more than what my true inner being can allow. So ta-da to all those who thought I could stick to their whims endlessly. 
  • I understood that true love is not in going after the most perfect but in going after that what may be imperfect but is yours.I realised true happiness is not when someone perfect comes and stands in front of you. There’s no big deal in loving someone who’s great in every regard. The big deal is in owning up your heart for someone who may be quirky, adamant and irritating but still oozes a mind blowing connection to your heart. 
  • I also finally, made peace with the gazillion priorities in my life and took up multi-tasking with aplomb. I think  I worked towards a lot of stuff this year and want to only intensify the efforts and fruits of those efforts in 2018.

There’s a lot more to share perhaps but I’ll keep it for some other time. But for now - I hope you create a ruckus of the right kind this year, raise the roof with your antics and create magic wherever you go, with whatever you do - Make the year count and make it to your life’s ‘Hall of Fame’

HNY 2018 peeps!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

It's Just A Story, Isn't it?!

So Sweet November it was. The birthday month was very special, and sprinkled with lots of love and bonding. More so, the day '11/11' was a terrific finale to one of the most spectacular years ever. The last 12 months preceding my this year’s birthday have been just so difficult to decode, for they have been special beyond my deserving and understanding both. I learned a lot this whole year, with the themes ranging over relationships to people to situations to a lot more that i can’t articulate.  I met some very interesting and mesmerizing souls and witnessed journeys of the mind and soul that will walk with me lifetime after lifetime. I know for a fact that I’ve collected a treasure that will cross over with me  - and I also know that this is a very special inflection point in my current life.

One of the most special gifts that I received this year was to become an Art of Living teacher - something that I never wanted to become (to be honest). It’s almost like I was happy living a limited life filled with the preciousness of being a meditator only. I was somewhat devoid of an explicit  desire to serve others. I found living in the side lanes safer and did not really care about creating a difference by being a medium. It never struck me - but thank god that god had different plans for me. So I became a teacher - and that really helped me to see myself without my mask and know my real purpose. Beautiful to say the least since the journey throws a new beautiful realisation and lesson each day.  Well, the journey’s started and the feeling of guiding people to meditation, intuitively knowing what’s bothering everyone and being able to take their hand and walk them to a better land of being is a feeling that’s really irreplaceable.

And then ‘sanyam’ happened - a beautiful experiential course that made me reach my highest self. I realised that we all are capable of living the state of no-mind and no-thoughtfulness so easily - if we know what to do and we do that - there’s no curtain between us and the higher euphoric mind. During this beautiful course, I met some brilliant, magical souls from across the globe who made life look like butter. They were so weaved and blended in  knowledge, that I couldn’t stop gaping. I’ve always been very attracted to souls that live the high mind and this time really covered that part. So sharing one such instance from the course since we are at it, while sitting in the International’s dining area, gobbling up my dinner one evening, I happened to share my dining round table with two very noble and gentle american men, Jeff Poole and  Jim Warner. Very kind and very pious they looked - they smiled as I sat to share my table and within minutes, we were having this very sweet conversation. I don’t remember exactly how my conversation started but I do remember realising within minutes that I had met an incredible person in the form of Jeff. Before you get me wrong, Jeff is an almost 60-plus something retired American man who used to own a million-dollar company and, used to live the high life till he went through some up and downs and developed a quest for something stronger, truer and more real. Jeff had been a meditator for years now, but had disappeared for a bit to balance his life’s other aspects - he went through business fiascos, a failed marriage and relationship, a crazy almost-fatal accident and a traumatic after-effect - he came back to life to sit like any other normal person would do and narrate his life’s experiences and learnings in the most coolest and casual manner. I remember him narrating about his life only to share this resounding lesson. He said, “ And So...after all this..I told myself - ‘This is just a story! Yeah, it’s just a story...Big Deal!” the ease with which he talked about his life made me gape at him, all wide-eyed, almost stoned with wonder and an incredible sense of self-depletion. As I got up last from the dining room, with these two gentlemen, to wash my utensils - i was overcome by a very silent wave of gratitude and realisation - I realised why I had come here after all, I realised that my becoming a faculty was not mere chance - I was supposed to be the santa in many lives to help them taste the highest, without forgetting how blessed I am. I realised that no matter what, I will always treasure these blissful moments of feeling the closeness with god and will always try and make others happy.

But here’s the dough - we all are battling something or the other in our respective lives. While we seem glossy to someone, we may be losing sleep over the lack of sheen in our lives. But you’know what - someone else shines lesser than us maybe. And here is what we need to do - share the journey, share the learning, share the happiness and share the love. Who knows - who needs us?! After all, it’s a story and a story is made of characters.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What's love supposed to look like anyways?

Just last week, I again witnessed the pitfalls of marriages, love and relationships. Sadly and actually, fortunately, enough, my cousin brother who was supposed to tie the knot on Jun 27, had to call off his wedding at the nth hour to a girl he had known for just about 5 months. A match that was set and celebrated by two families ultimately came crashing down due to the girl's unearthly expectations from her husband-to-be. Sad, right? Actually, if you delve beyond the last-minute cancellations, crashing of the wedding preps and a wave of shocked and concerned relatives, It’s really not that bad. It’s actually more like having been able to do a last-min escape from a tumultuous Tsunami or a having missed a flight that was doomed to crash. And that, brings me to the crazy topic of love and marriage.

So much is made out of that silly chemical reaction that goes on inside us when we scoop out that special someone. So much romanticism, so much pressure on finding the right groom or bride for yourself, and so much expectation around sealing your love affair with a permanent ‘I Do’ is catching up. The Traditionalists and the liberals - none are spared. Everyone  who is in a relationship is either expected to pop the question with a ring or at least they should be heading to the altar implicitly (moving in, talking the future as ‘we’ or ‘us etc.) Nothing wrong with that except for the fact  that we all are in a hurry to auction in our special other half as the permanent bet. What does it even take to tell you that your ‘seemingly’ significant other is the one you’ll be glad to grow old with, how do you know this person who is so happily absorbed by your riches and beauty today will not throw the towel seeing your wrinkles, financial problems, family woes or your own inner demons? None.

The other day, as the rain gods obliged with a continuining shower spell with a cool breeze, I was walking down the garden path near my home and actually got myself to question -”what does love need to be/feel like?” - simple question you may think. It’s probably got a lot to do with the butterflies you feel in your stomach when you see your special someone, probably the universe-shattering god/goddess looks that make you go weak in your knees, probably the fact that you mentally connect palm-to-palm with that other person or probably have a host of similar linkings, hobbies, lifestyle, mentality and all other things that make you ‘click’ at the surface. The more I thought about that, the more my heart kept saying - No No! Love has nothing to do with all of that - all of the above is a feeling of likability, comfort, togetherness but not eternal love that makes you evolve and twinkle. Love is more than that.

True love is supposed to make you a better, and a more sorted human being. It's supposed to be like that big teddy bear that you can hug out all your worries and problem to. True love is not a low-lying branch of your favorite tree. It’s probably the highest branch that stands tall and mighty, and refuses to give in too easily. It’s not that low-rung who has less standards. It’s going to make you pant, run, aim higher, try and try some more! True love has a major symptom - It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to rob you of every little strand of confidence and surety you’ve enjoyed thus far. And you know what all that happens - because true love between two people years for them as much they yearn for it to flower between them. It’s a gigantic call of the heart, and the universal energy that says - strive for it if you really want it bad. And no worries if you don’t, but then - just don’t call it love - then that’s an arrangement.

I see too many people settling down for arrangements these days. Arrangements of the hearts, maybe families or maybe just two practical individuals who only carry about money at the bank balance, good looks and a charming personality. I somehow feel that when we stand up to our innermost gut and shake the comfort zone of love that surrounds us, then a lot of answers start appearing and lots of stuff begins to come together. If we choose to stay immune, you just might be setting yourself on a life long journey that has no destination.

So after all this furore,  what is true love after all? I’m truly no expert but I do know that when it exists between two people - you don’t need words. You don’t need perfect circumstances but just a true understanding of each other - their moods, their aspirations, their dreams, their fears, their  weaknesses, their insecurities and their quirks. If after absorbing all of that, the mere thought of that person still makes you smile - then that’s true love. It may not be perfect, but it’ll be worth all the imperfection it carries. If only everyone starts owning up to that knowing or even waking up to the call that it’s needed (maybe it’s not there yet!), then a lot of people will save themselves the heartache and trauma of landing up with partners that are not their co-passengers in this journey of life. Marriages breaking or decisions taking a U-turn is not pretty for anyone involved, but sometimes manning up to that gut/intuition is always paramount.

Well, it’s rainy and the love gods should also be lurking around somewhere. May they hear the pearlish sounds of these heavy words and grant all their true partners.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Exuberance of 'Zumba' : My journey in my words

“The girl picks  up her water bottle, finds a spot and rests in on the floor, then she takes her hair, twirls them around to set them up in a bun, and gets ready for it. She then takes a deep breath in and breathes out slowly. She then extends both are arms, stretching them front wards and side wards, and then bends a little as she decides to quickly go through her little ’happy’ warm up. She then jogs up and down almost in the anticipation of the lovely one hour that awaits her.

She adjusts her gym wear, ensures her bun sits pretty and signals to the instructor - let’s start.”

Ok wait...Nothing fancy about the description of a girl’s one hour of zumba dancing, so you’ll be thinking. Correct. Well almost.

Agreed that there’s no fanciness to sketch out about what the seer sees in this but also important to know what goes on beyond the mundane. Maybe there’s something going on more if a girl/woman is tempted to write about her journey 6 weeks into her Zumba dancing classes.

Read on to know and feel more..:-)

“So she gets ready. Away from the world of Perceptions. Assumptions. Malice and Expectations. She is ready to dive in her own indulgence in the hour that awaits her. She takes her spot - the one that she enjoys being at and gets ready to explore the moments as she gets set to dance her way to fitness and easiness. The music starts - the instructor starts moving her body. It seems like an epidemic - the moment the music starts to roll, the instructor’s face breaks into a smile that defines fashion, style and happiness. We can’t help but catch it on. Seconds into our first beat and rhythm, we’re all smiling that happening, sensual smile. As we get more intense with our steps, the mood starts to get more self-indulgent and within seconds the girl (let’s talk about her here!) is lifted from the mundane surrounding into her own world - he own happy place and the place where she feels valued and preserved.

She sways, and bends, and moves and turns. She jumps, she gallops, she hops, she rollicks. Her hair comes out swaying loose as she finishes her first two songs. She claps in gaity - it’s the feel-good hormones at work. She now gets her hair up in a ponytail and is ready to dive in the exuberance of her Zumba now. Play it on..

She finds no time to stop now. She is full into her workout-cum-dancing and she finds herself easing out as the body gets tense and busy. She feels happiness pouring out of her every cell and pore and is ready to swing some more..

She now takes a breather, bends down, stays there with her eyes shut. Comes up and extends her hand towards her water bottte, gulps down a few sips and is raring to go again.

She now is in the epic journey of not just her body dancing, but her soul swaying to the beat.. The beat within which tells her that she is beautiful. And talking of beauty, let’s start with the outer layer first - she feels her skin get pink with the rush of blood, she feels some sweat dabbing her cheeks, her lips feel pink and the skin reflects a glow that is owned not by compact and foundation but is a work of inner factory mechanics. She feels pretty as she lets loose and makes her own mark in the big room, that is currently her abode.  But she is a hungry girl - she doesn’t stop at the outer layer and wants to delve deeper. She then decides to decode what happens inside - she goes within to realize that her body and mind are almost tossing signals that are in a rhythm- she finds her system in total sych and knows that there is nothing to know, nothing to rue over, nothing to think about and nothing to ask for as she is at it. She stops only to pick the beat once again - and before she knows it, she’s smiling once again and she realizes it only when the instructor makes eye contact with her to signal that she’s doing great. She then twirls in her own happiness, and almost bumps into another friend, she makes amends and goes on with her dance as if everything’s rosy and happy.

It’s not over yet. Her sensuality, her finery and her rosiness is at the peak - has to be. After all, she is dancing for herself and no other. She is dancing in gay abandon and is moving to the rhythm that her soul is hearing, and not just her ears. She is crafting  and sculpting not just her body but her spirit because she knows her happiness is the key, her own smile sets her heart aflutter. She knows she’s lovely and precious.

Her one hour’s over. She drops on the floor, resting against both her hands - body tired but mind and spirit renewed. She sits up, on her calves and claps with a sense of team spirit and achievement. She feels new and leafy green. The face shines and the spirit glows.

You know why? Because she danced like no one’s watching and no one cares.

She gets up to leave. Picks her water, wristwatch , mobile and wallet. She drives off in her car and leaves behind a rhythmic trail of gratitude and warmth."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

When in Phillaur, love as the 'Phillauri's do - This fair of spirits lacks spirit!

So Phillauri released yesterday and I managed to catch it on the first day itself! I am used to writing movie reviews but is this one special and unique?? - Yes, it is.

Phillauri’s been a ‘household’ name at home for over 7-8 months now, considering Sunil uncle (Sunil Mehra, my mom’s childhood friend from Jaipur) had landed a role in Anushka Sharma’s second home production and was busy shooting for this in Punjab in July/August last year.. So we all were actually waiting to catch him on the silver screen all this while, and catch we did, and floor he did with his ever-charming demeanor :-)

Anushka Sharma and her brother, Karnesh Sharma co-produced this  sweet movie - a great concept (must say!) to tell a story that is supposed to carry humour, love undercurrent and some historic drama to keep you at the edge of your seats and handkerchief box  equally though it can’t be said that this movie is a masterpiece. Its languid pace sucks a lot of shine from the could-have-been-a-brilliant movie.

So the plot first - Kanan (played by Suraj Sharma of the ‘Life if Pi’ fame) is a Canada-returned munda who returns to Punjab (Phillaur precisely, a small town in Punjab) to marry his childhood sweetheart  Anu ( played by Mehreen Peerzada) who he’s been dating since Class 10. The more confused, bewildered and less excited lad finds himself lost in front of his fiancee’s love and feels trapped at the thought of marriage at the age of 26. To make matters complicated, Kanan is a ‘manglik’ and needs to marry a tree now (seriously!!) to rid himself of the ill caused by his stars and horoscope. So Anu’s dad (Oh! The  classy dad’s  been played by Sunil uncle) ensures Kanan marries the tree and that’s where the problem - the tree was possessed by a good soul/spirit called Shashi (played by Anushka Sharma). Shashi starts tailing kanan involuntarily all the time since the ritual and that’s where the hilarious drama begins.

Diljit Dosanjh  who plays the ( the ethereal mix of innocence and feel-goodness) does full justice to his role of a raanjha singer in Punjab of the early 1900s as part of Shashi’s flashback, when she was alive. The love story between Anushka and Diljit shines and sparkles in spurts and just when it peaks to become the high point of an otherwise lacklustre narrative, that’s when the movie changes track to a dramatic twist and climax.

The movie does have its winning points - Kana’s dadi who is a whisky -holding grandmother who wants her grandchildren to chill and doesn’t mind holding a drink at 1 in the night. The little cute child who’s shown as a house help in Anu’s home is cute as a button and how he mistakes Kanan to be gay and after young boys (hilarious scene!). The flowing poetry between Diljit and Anushka (Anushka’s a closet poetess!) leaves so much to be absorbed and cherished. Lots of subtle highs there…

What makes the movie dip is the lack of crackle in the narrative, the chemistry between today’s couple Kanan and Anu (sleepy romance is what they share, a far cry from today’s high bass romance) and the confusion that Anushka carries as a friendly ghost. Anushka is a pleasant actor to watch and she is more comfortable as the peppy Shashi from 1919 days. She doesn’t know what to do in the ghost avatar.  

This move has some lovely musical renditions that you should not miss - more so if you understand punjabi :-). One time watch for sure but don’t expect some magic back home with you when you walk out.

Rating - 3/5

And That's What It's Been!!

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