The Ascent


He stood at the gates of Heaven. He was happy. He had lived a  contented life till the age of seventy-eight. It was then that one day during the shooting of his movie “Kahin Toh Mera Pyar Hoga” opposite the granddaughter of yesteryear actress Madhuri Dixit, that his heart missed one too many beats during the song  “Yeh dil kyon dhak dhak dhadakta hain”.

The nation had gone into mourning, Times of India blackened out its front-page and Dev Anand and Hangal had spoken touchingly, to the cameras, about what a great man he had been.

He turned around. Standing behind him were a bunch of farmers who had committed suicide a few decades ago but were still there, looking forlorn lost and desolate, outside the gates.

‘God probably doesnt know they are there’, he thought. ‘After all he only reads Mid-Day.’

Continue Reading »


Prince—the Review


Prince wakes up in a strange room. He panics. He cannot remember how he got there. Last time he remembers he was one of India’s most dynamic batsmen, a panther in the covers and slated to become a permanent member of the Test side middle-order. And yet he now finds himself with a paunch that would put a mithaiwala to shame , a double chin, a dodgy knee,  fielding reflexes slower than Angshuman Gaekwad’s , his place in the Test side gone for good and the franchise, of which he is a icon player, desperate to wash their hands off him after kicking him out of captaincy.

“What in heaven has happened to me?” wonders Prince. Perplexed, he stumbles along till he is contacted by three women all claiming to his partner—–Pee-Ayush Chawla, Potty Zinta and Assa Siddique who in addition claims that Prince married her over the telephone. Needless to say, Prince does not know which of them is actually his woman because his sense of shot-selection is totally shot. From their disjointed stories however, he pieces together that they are all after the most magical and precious thing in the world,  Sauron ka One ring ka baap, jo ” Ravan ka rakt se nikla tha”——the Prince’s batting form, his cricketing mo-jo also referred to as “The Coin”.

Continue Reading »

The "Invisible" Civil War


We have been in the middle of an invisible civil war for many years now. Civil war because it is an armed struggle by a section of the people against the democratic administration of the country, a war that has spiraled so out of control that representatives of law enforcement accept that there are large swathes of country where they cannot enter. Invisible because it rarely captures national attention, confined as it is to largely rural backward areas for which it is pushed to the rear of the news by other things more important to our national life—like IPL, Shoaib-Sania and Kites.

That is unless more than seventy-six CRPF personnel are brutally massacred at which point of time we are forced to deal with the issue. At least for a few news cycles.

Continue Reading »

A Personal Perspective on Kolkata Today


In 2005, when I went to Kolkata I had been pleasantly surprised by the optimism in the air.  Growing up, Kolkata was a city of processions with people carrying placards saying “I am an educated unemployed. Give me work.” , a city where when parents told children “Be the best in class. Else you will starve” kids took their parents more seriously than their contemporaries in other parts of the country, a city of closed jute mills, haunted in their desolateness, with the red flags dotting the perimeters resembling raw, festering wounds inflicted by the proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” of CITU trade-unionism. In a surprising turn-around I could not have foreseen, that same city seemed to have gotten rid itself of the despondency and stagnation that had characterized it for decades. Buddhadeb was being considered to be a transformative figure responsible for this change, determined to roll back the darkness of the Jyoti-Basu era, with his genuine focus on capitalist evils like investment. Sector V was bustling with IT majors lining up to open offices. The manufacturing and heavy industry sectors were looking to take off, with ambitious projects not seen in Bengal for decades being inked. A new township was coming up in Rajarhat. Change was everywhere and one could not but feel heady with all the feel-good.

Continue Reading »

Pakistan Round Up


Today’s Pakistan round up.

In days of yore, warring nations like the Rajputs and the Mughals would bring peace in their times as well as opportunities for making crappy historical dramas for directors hundreds of years down the line with matrimonial alliances. In that spirit of love conquers war, this week saw the announcing of the baap of all Aman-Asha initiatives—-the proposed marriage between the spokesman of “all Muslims of the world” Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik (banned) and the over-rated hottie tennis queen Sania Mirza.

Continue Reading »