Thursday, December 31, 2009


I am not a film critic.

I am a teacher, with a decade's experience in dealing with students who just want to 'pass'. Rare is the student who loves the subject passionately, but when I do find such gems, the whole teaching-learning process gets transformed into a vital and uplifting exchange.

I was a student, who got 'good marks' in all subjects but always wanted to study 'only English Literature' since I was six-seven years old. I had to face a lot of flak when I abandoned science altogether after my I.C.S.E and chose a 'pure arts' option. At least, my Maa and Baba never questioned my choice. Thank God I was a girl, the pressure to conform is much more for boys (as in the Spouse's case - he spent two unhappy years studying science for his plus-two before coming back to his passion - Literature).

I am a mother, and I deeply, desperately want my daughters to study any subject they really really like and do some work that they enjoy. I am scared of the pressure to perform they will inevitably face and the comparisons that will challenge their individualities, and the race for money-car-club-jet-status that can so easily trip their free souls.

So, when I saw 3 Idiots, I kept feeling, "Yes! This is exactly how I feel. This is exactly what I always wanted to say about our quote-by-rote, madam-please-give-us-notes, madam-please-tell-us-the-IMP-questions, madam-will-this-help-me-to-get-35%, education system.

Thank you, Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, for showing us who the idiots really are.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So, it's already mid-December here in Mumbai, and the shops are selling green tinsel Christmas trees and red Santa caps and rich dark plum cakes.

The colourful woollies newly-knitted by my mother are waiting eagerly in the cupboard. Where they are in the competitive company of a stack of other colourful woollies, all knitted by my mother down the years. Enough to warm the cockles of an army, if they felt any cold.

My elder daughter, Lil Cat, has taken out her monogrammed navy-blue school cardigan and has worn it to school for a couple of days, just because it is DECEMBER. Defeated by the clamminess and the sweatiness, she's keeping it off for now.

Her sister, the Copy Kitten, threw a tantrum and managed to get me to buy her a similar-but-smaller monogrammed school cardigan. Which is lying pristine, waiting to be inaugurated.

Our maid has gifted them two lovely bright batik scarves, and even these are hanging forlorn in the cupboard.

And the superpowers and the wannabe-superpowers and the movers and shakers have all hot-footed over to Copenhagen, interfacing and OD-ing on Global Warming and Carbon Footprints, and the Kyoto Protocol, some trying to slip in sly measures, some trying to pull a fast one, some trying to bully the weaker ones, all for their own short-term advantage. I mean, in the long term, it is like cutting off the branch on which we all are sitting, is it not?

And here in muggy Mumbai, we - all the small fry - are still waiting for winter to turn up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The Copy-Kitten's first experience at the movies proved to be rather traumatic.
For me.
The movie was the tear-jerking TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, the moment was the heart-wrenching 'Maa' song when the little boy is about to be separated from his mother and admitted to the hostel. The Copy-Kitten, who was around two years, woke up from her sleep, sensed the tears in the air and decided to join in at full volume.
I missed most of the rest of the movie, pacing outside the auditorium with my daughter on one shoulder, wishing for a hostel.

Now that the Copy-Kitten is nearly four, I tried again. A few weeks back, we went to see the rom-com AJAB PREM KI GAZAB KAHANI, and the Copy-Kitten behaved impeccably. She sipped her soft-drink (do they spike it with sedatives? I am NOT complaining.), munched her pop-corn, fell asleep before the interval, and woke up at the end to ask, "Maa, Jenny aar Prem ki biye korechhey?" (Maa, did Jenny and Prem get married?). Although the question was asked in a voice loud enough for the rest of the audience to turn and stare at us, I cannot deny that she had arrived straight at the heart of the matter.

And today we watched PAA at the theatre, and again the Copy-Kitten enjoyed herself. Piping up questions in a Dolby-Surround Sound kind of voice and scattering popcorn under her seat and over the silently-suffering gentleman in front of her. But she cried when Auro died. Along with me, the spouse, my elder daughter, my maid, and the rest of the audience. I cannot deny that she has her heart in the right place.