GHARE BAIRE- A Review

What happens when one Master takes a masterpiece of another Master and presents it to the world? It results in the immortalisation of the already immortal!

That is what the prolific film-maker Ray did to the Nobel Laureate Tagore’s ‘Ghare Baire’ ( the Home and the World).

Ray attempts to recreate the magic of the novella. Though he remarks-” No filmmaker could possibly achieve what Tagore did.”- one has to laud the director and artist in Ray.

Ray had prepared a screenplay of the movie back in the 1940s. But the movie never materialised. Ray, in retrospect, discarded the screenplay as “pitifully superficial and Hollywoodish.”

Ray started anew in the 1980s. A new screenplay was prepared. The wait and toil paid-off.

The story is set during the tension of the Bengal Division brought forth by Lord Curzon in 1905.

The movie is quintessentially a romantic drama with an undercurrent of Nationalistic sentiments. It revolves around Bimala (Swatilekha Sengupta). Though educated and opinionated, she finds it hard to chose between advocating Social Reforms, of which her husband, Nikhilesh Chowdhary ( Victor Bannerjee) is a supporter; or Radical Nationalism, which is supported by Sandip Mukherjee (Soumitra Chatterjee).

Nilkhilesh, a well-meaning British noble wants India to be reformed. He helps poor merchants and traders even by incurring loses upon himself. He wants his own wife Bimala to partake in all the affairs, that of the home as well as outside, and thus become “Sampoorna Swadheen”.

Their lives take an unpleasant turn when Sandip, Nikhilesh’s friend and an extreme supporter of the Swadeshi Movement, comes to stay in their house.

Nikhilesh a well-wisher of the poor, does not want to involve himself in the acts Swadeshi Movement, much to the indignation of Sandip. Nikhilesh knows that this would cause irreparable losses to poor, who cannot afford expensive and poor quality indigenous goods. He says- “To worship my country as a God is to bring curse upon it.”

The movie brilliantly showcases the predicaments of a woman’s heart. Bimala, the devout wife of Nikhilesh, is swayed by the rhetoric, powerful and domineering speeches of Sandip (most of which are held in Nikhilesh’s courtyard itself!) so much so that she develops and enraged passion for him.

Sandip too enchants her by singing for her and praising her beauty. He calls her ‘Mukkhi’ (Queen Bee). He gets her involvement by hiding his malicious intents behind the garb of the slogan- “Bande Mataram”.

Nikhilesh is visibily agonised on seeing Bimala’s change of heart. However, he does not question her for he wanted his wife to be free and have her own will. His pains are felt only by his Master-Moshai and Mejorani ( the widowed wife of his brother).

However, tables do turn; Bimala’s conscience does awaken; She realises her folly; but, is it too late?

The film not only made a mark nationally- bagging the Best Feature Film in Bengali, Best Supporting Actor, Best Costume Design- but also was well-received around the globe -Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of 1985 by the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

Watch the movie for the wonderful portrayal of human emotional subtleties and outbursts; for delving a bit deeper into the women’s psyche; and above all- for the celebration of literature.

P.S. – What is a cinema at all if it is unable to transcend the barriers of language? In the words of Ray himself-

“The truth is that every story has two aspects- its underlying message, and its language… This language used in cinema is a language of images. A director must learn it and master its grammar.”

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A TEA THAT WAS NOT

The long borne wish was going to be fulfilled today (early) morning. Finally, after years of longing and laziness, I was to visit that one tea stall which had been everyone’s recommendation. The ‘Let-us-not-name-it’ Tea Stall spoiled it for me(as it would for any other chai-lover as well)

What you see here is Disappointment objectified.
What the tea-sellers there were were Disdain personified.

After battling the restless crowd, 20-30 minutes of never-ending wait, rounds of calling out “Bhaiya, Bhaiya…(with my voice rising in a crescendo)”, sweating profusely, what I get is this…

This might look like any other ‘chai’ but if only there was some way to convey its taste!

First taste is certainly the last taste!

And the ‘band makkhan’ and ‘samosa’…
Let me put it this way- The sole motivation to finish it up was that we paid 60 rupees for them!!!

When something reaches its peak of popularity, the quality is bound to go down. There is no other way, no evasion.

To avoid degradation, the solution is to be the best, but, in isolation.

Found a commendable tea stall? Do not tell it to everyone! ‘SAVE’ IT FROM BEING POPULAR AND HENCE RUINED. As Kahlil Gibran puts it-

“Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.”

 

LAUGHING OUT LOUD

PROS AND CONS OF LAUGHING OUT LOUD- Part I

WHILE IN A CLASS

Scene- You happen to guffaw in your class(alone or with your friend). All eyes turn to you.

●CONS
Whatever be the reason of your laugh, the poor professor will attribute the reason to herself. This will result in the bulging out of her eyes and a deathly stare (comparable with the expression your mother would give when you refuse to eat ‘karela’), followed by the age-old clichéd remark- “ What is so funny? Care to share it with the entire class? Come, tell; we all will have a jolly time…” (It is time that these professors look for some creativity and novelty.)

Next up, you have to come up with an immediate excuse for the teacher to let go off you and to order you to sit(though reluctantly). Now you can go on to sit and resume your chuckling, giggling and tittering, though as silently as possible this time.

Heavens forbid that you have to sit right under the nose of the professor in the class while a funny memory or observation hits you. You have to grapple with a register or a book to hide your reddened face and teared up eyes. You can, also, simply ‘hang your face in laughter’. Also, you have to devise a technique to curb the sound of your giggle.

 

●PROS
Your friends and classmates would envy you seeing you happy in an otherwise sleep-inducing lecture.

You yourself would be happy in an otherwise sleep-inducing lecture.

A win-win!

You can apologise before the professor starts off with – “What is so funny…’cliché cliché’…” and escape an upbraiding and continue relishing over your happy moments.

A yawn induces yawn(in a boring lecture). Likewise, laughter induces laughter. It is contagious. Thereby, you can make the ambience of the class a little lighter.

You can escape death( by not choking yourself by curbing your laughter)

 

●CONCLUSION
Since, clearly, the given pros outnumber the cons- LAUGH OUT LOUD LIKE NO ONE IS HEARING.

Footnote 1- The best laugh is the laugh in which is there is no sound but ‘only’ gasping of air, red face, welled-up eyes and bodily tremors. Only!

You are laughing and not laughing at the same time!

Footnote 2- Remember to “ laugh like parrots at a bag-piper” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)

Happy Laughing!

[To be continued]

Of the lazy Sundays

A lazy Sunday morning, as usual.

Our alarms start theirt crackle since 7:00 am. After all the snoozing and further dozing, 9:30 am it is when we actually rise up. We have just half an hour for us to manage to get ourselves our breakfast; breakfast for which we wait since the last Sunday- Chhole Bhature…

9:50 am, we reach our ‘dinning hall’. It is both a relief and a mild concern to see other people clamouring for food as well. Relief- the realization that we are not the sole late risers. Concern – we will have to tarry a little before our turn for ‘bhatura’ finally comes.

To while away the time, I head to the tea container. As I pick up the steel cup and pour some tea in it, I think my usual thought- Can it be called tea at all? I prefer to call it ‘sugary water’; for it is nothing but sugar and water! I take two sips and leave the rest and then curse myself for having expected the tea to be better this time. Then too, hope is a never dying thing! I know, my stupid self will come back to this tea container again hoping that some day(one fine day…) these cooks will have pity on us and prepare tea that can actually be called tea.

We get our ‘bhaturas’ shortly later. Ghosh takes two; Sneha also two; I take three. We proceed get our share of ‘chhola’.

As I hold the ladle and churn the ‘Chhola’, I exclaim- ” Chhole mein chhola kahan hai?!”

Ghosh- “Aur kitna patla patla bhi hai!”

Sneha- “Ab dus baje aoge tumlog to aur kya milega?!”

Sneha is right. However, I wonder if logic is required at all while complaining! We just smile.

We take our plates to the table and eat. Shortly we hear that there is no more ‘chhola’ left for the rest of the people; not even the diluted ‘chhola’. I am happy that though late, we are not ‘thaaaat’ late.

Huh! The oil in the ‘bhaturas’ is enough to induce deeeeep slumber in me again.

A loooong lazy day awaits…

(How long and lazy?
I started writing this post around 10:45 am and see the time I am posting it!
*sigh*)

TEA LOVE

Oh, you have half an hour for the next lecture. Come with us.”

 

“Lecture completed? So, come join us…”

 

“Waiting for someone? Wait here.”

 

“You topped the test? Treat, treat!”

 

“Whose turn is it today for…?”

 

“Where are we going?”

“You know!”

 

The place in subject is one.

 

From at a distance it might look like an ordinary shack, but lo and behold; advance nearer, grab a tea- 5 rupees for the normal one, or the ‘special’ one costing just a rupee more- sit cosily on the stony seat and look around soaking in the ambience.

 

The person behind this all, the gratified owner of the stall, sells not just tea(lemon tea, samosa, gulab jamun, launglatta…) but a catalyst for the stimulation of ideas.

 

Gather some friends, grab a glass, or the ‘kulhadd‘, of tea and let your mind go for a swirl. Talks ranging from how the professor from the previous lecture dressed up today to the deepest deliberations on the Bacon’s essays, everything is ‘served’ here.

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That esteemed stall

 

You can boast your generosity, or show some pity, by paying up for your friends’ tea as well(of course after a lot of debate as to who would end up paying for it- something which is hardly thought of beforehand).

 

Or with supreme efficacy, evade from paying up for the tea this one time by reminding them how you once paid in the past or by promising to do so in the near future.

 

Moreover, even if you have no one to chat to/discuss with/ share your tea with, you can indulge in even engaging an activity- EAVESDROPPING!

 

Yes.
Again, grab a tea, sit cosily on the stony seat and look around and overhear all the conversations within your earshot.

You will, as per my recollection and experience, hear talks ranging from how Rahul should have batted the other day to the nuances of running the government; from Socrates to Shankaracharya ; from Marx to Manto; from Premchand to Paulo Coehlo; from Basketball to Badminton; from concerns over almost flunking a test to strategies for topping the exams…

 

If Heavens be more magnanimous, you might even spot a professor or two or even more approaching towards the stall. You can pounce upon the opportunity to initiate a discourse with them on any of the intellectual topics(or even the trending ones like Padmaavat); and, as a bonus, might(rather, definitely) save your money, as the big-hearted professors would promptly offer to pay for it.

 

If none of these- no friends to fret over the payment, eavesdropping on random conversations, fortunate guest appearances by professors- you can just sit back, with the tea in hand, and marvel at how some water, milk, tea leaves, sugar, and ginger mixed in a divine proportion create the most ethereal potion of all time…

FREE LOVE

Our customary vegetable vendor pulls up right in front of our house…

My mother, already awaiting him, names out the vegetables and their desired measure to be popped into the basket one after the other…

As Mumma picks up a vegetable, scrutinises it heavily, upbraids the vendor if it is found unhealthy, rotten, undernourished or whatever, proceeds on until her basket brims with shiny, well-shaped, well-grown vegetables,

my frivolous mind wanders over the lush green herbs, corriander and mint, ( and a few more) laid down in neatly tied-up bundles, each costing 5 rupees.

The lustre and density of their leaves gave me a sense of richness and abundance of our natural vegetation and, in my mind, I reiterate the immortal lines by Kavi Sumitranandan Pant-

ओह, समय पर उनमें कितनी फलियाँ फूटी!
कितनी सारी फलियाँ, कितनी प्यारी फलियाँ,-

यह धरती कितना देती है! धरती माता
कितना देती है अपने प्यारे पुत्रों को!

हम जैसा बोयेंगे वैसा ही पायेंगे।

And while I stand there, contemplating that no matter how much we ‘pay’ for these vegetables, it would never be able to equal the love our Mother Earth showers upon us, my mother, done with her successful negotiations with the vendor, hands him the money, takes the change back and concludes-

“Thodi dhaniya aise hi daal do…”

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This is the very corriander I am talking about…

The vendor obliges.

For, why not?!

From one Mother to my mother- Free Love.

RAJA, RASOI AUR EK KAHAANI

Disclaimer – The following post is written in collaboration with my friend Aayush Jha. Follow his lovely blog TheCommonBoy .

In India, its food is the celebration of its diversity, culture and rich history. It is a thread that connects the multi-cultured people of India; and though the food and eating habits change region by region, the love, joy and spirit of sharing behind cooking throughout the country remains constant.

When we talk about Nawabi cuisine, the first thing that strikes my mind is meat, “Waise bhi Yaar non-veg hi toh asli khana hai baki sab toh ghaas phoos hai”. Talking about Nawabi Cuisine, Lucknow, the Capital of ‘Awadh’, cannot be missed.

Lucknow, one of most beautiful and historically rich towns of North India, famous for its grandiose architecture and eclectic sumptuous delicacies, like Moti Pulao, Tunday Kebab, Lucknowi Dum Pukht Biryani, Arvi ka salan etc. is a direct trip to paradise for all the connoisseurs of food.

One delicacy that beats all the others both, in taste and popularity, is Kebab. They have their own importance, throughout Lucknow, and the saying “Lucknow ke Nawab aur wahan ke Kebab”, which symbolizes the importance of Nawabs and evolution of Kebabs during their reign, proves this.

It is worth-noting that the Nawabs of Lucknow were not as much famed for conquests and expansions as they were for being patrons of art, architecture and food. The Nawabs had a great sense for food and greatly relished eating meaty delicacies.

There is one kebab that is widely known for uniqueness, The Galouti Kebab; it’s the first of its kind of Kebabs. Until 16th century AD, the Kebabs used to be quite chewy and hard in texture. This trend changed with the arrival of Asa-ud-Daula, the successor of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula. He significantly contributed in culinary and architecture of Lucknow. He brought about a ‘Renaissance’ in the cuisines of that era. It’s during this time that the Galouti Kebab came into existence.

According to historians, Nawab Asa-ud-Daula, had lost all his teeth due to his lavish lifestyle; but this did not deter his craving for Kebabs. He asked his ‘Khansamas’, the royal chefs, to prepare such a kebab which was soft and could be easily dissolved in mouth, unlike the earlier Kebabs that required a great deal of functioning of teeth.

The name ‘Galouti’ itself self suggests “soft”. It is said that Mohammed Fakr-e-Alam was the first one who made Galouti Kebabs, he his said have also invented the Moti Pulao.

Galouti Kebab is prepared by finely mincing the lamb meat and then marinating it in an extraordinary variety of spices, precisely 150 different spices, that enhances its taste, it is deep fried in ‘Shuddh Desi Ghee’. These patty shaped Kebabs take your taste buds on a heavenly journey. Galouti Kebabs have placed Lucknow on the culinary world map. If you ever happen to be in lucknow, then now you know what you should do…..

“Lucknow aye aur kebab na khaya, to kiya kya? Aaiye jaanab, kebab ka lutf uthaien…” Aadab…

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Hello? Hello!

“Hellllllooooo!!!” I say.

“Hello?” my very dear school friend answers.

Why that question mark, I wonder.

Not more than a couple of days ago did we have a long hearty talk, just like our other usual talks, wherein we detail out our respective lives, elaborating vividly what all happened with us, around us in the days we did not talk; wherein we feel as if we are talking vis-à-vis with liveliness so unparalleled that even the dust around us assumes life, unmindful of the people around, instead of over our dead mobile phone; wherein we know the very expressions and gestures the other person is making use of.

” Hello, who’s it?” The voice from the other end of the phone continues.

I still stand pondering.

People change‘, so I had heard; but ‘this quickly‘, I had never known.

Even the closest pal would someday desert you‘, so the elders had warned me; but ‘out of the blue, with no apparent reason in sight‘, I had never even remotely imagined.

Yes, we are in different colleges, pursuing different streams, but that does not justify the change of “Hello!” into “Hello?” within no time, does it?

“Hello? Hello?” The voice now sounds exasperated.

“Hey, hello, it is me…” I painstainkingly utter.

“Hellllllooooo!!! Whose phone are you using?”

And even before she asks further, the foolish me realises that I have called her using a new number. Thanks to the network providers offering unlimited free calls!

I clarify. She laughs. We laugh.

The long hearty talk follows.

Huh! After suffering the puny heartache on hearing “Hello?” I can only wish that may you always be greated by the same old familiar ‘Hello’ or rather
‘Hellllllooooo!!!’, come what may.

WHEN THE CORRECT ISN’T TOTALLY CORRECT

” Ma’am, I clearly deserve full marks here! I’ve written the correct definition.”

” No, that’s not the exact definition. ”

” But ma’am, this is exactly the definition of ‘Ecosystem’ given in our E.V.S. book.”

” Do I teach you E.V.S.? I teach Geography! Is this the definition given in your Geography textbook?”

” No ma’am, but Ecosystem means the same everywhere. Is it given wrong in the E.V.S. book then?”

” Stop arguing! Listen to what I say! Write this definition in your E.V.S. exam not Geography! Go to your seat now.”

That day, one fine day in class 3rd, I understood what rote learning actually is by the virtue of a teacher who, maybe, herself had been it’s(rote learning’s) victim.

Though I understood it, I quite didn’t imbibe it, which cost me a lot of marks in all my subjects in the later classes as well.

I lost marks when on differentiating between ‘animal cell’ and ‘plant cell’ I did not write the ‘important’ points my  teacher made the students mark in their textbooks; for apparently the rest of the differences were not really differences but just some arbitrary information!

I lost marks when instead of giving a long(5 marks long!) explanation of the temperature zones of the earth, I gave a short explanation with a suitable, and self-explanatory, diagram.

I lost marks when I arriculated the ‘Causes of the Revolt of 1857’ in three-fourths of a page when the teacher expected a one full page long answer. I wish I had written the same in a bigger hand-writing!

I lost marks even on correctly evaluating the area enclosed by the given curve because I missed a step in ‘showing’ that it was really me who solved the question!

Sadly Gladly, I was never the class topper. Gladly, I was never a parrot. Gladly, what others roted in two hours, I understood in one. Gladly, I always scored less.

But I sincerely look forward to the day in near future when someone would ask me- ” What do you understand by Ecosystem?”

And I would say-

“Ahem, precisely, it’s the inter-dependent  relation between organisms and their environment, but don’t believe me! My class 3rd E.V.S. textbook said ‘this’ and my Geography textbook said ‘that’…”

Or

” You prefer E.V.S. or Geography?”

IN LOVE

You walk with me to the farthest of lands.

I’ll be with you for each step, holding hands.

 

In this expanse, you be and let me be.

Though two yet one, we’ll ride infinity.

 

I’ll rule the earth, and soar like a dove above,

And while people fall, I will fly in love…

 

A/N: So, I was trying something new! Poetry is not exactly my forte, but when i want to write it, I want to write it well. 

So I experimented with ‘Iambic Pentameter’ , a beautiful form of poetry. Do tell me how you found it…