What’s my Caste

“आप कौनसी जाती के हो ??”

This was the second question a farmer asked me when I happen to visit a lake in his village to catch a glimpse of the migratory birds that arrive each winter. Well the first one was where I was from!!

I was at a loss of words, who asks a complete stranger in first meeting about his caste? Or does which caste I belong to define who I am? Or he wanted to make sure whether I was worth having a conversation with?

For the first 2 decades of my life I wasn’t too aware of the caste structures, its intricacies and the prejudices that followed it. It wasn’t something that needed answers while growing up.

Was it because of the privileged background that I came from or was it for the fact that I carried a surname that stood out ?? I am sure the answer to both the above is definitely a YES!!

At home no one discussed it and at my school no one bothered about caste. It was only the Mandal Agitation that bought it out but again it was in the margins only.

It was only after I moved back to Udaipur in 2000 that the caste, sub-caste and the practiced hierarchy was revealed.

I am glad that this factor seldom crossed my mind then and even now. I personally do not want to fit myself into these brackets. As a political worker I keep getting these suggestions to play up my caste equation, for it will ensure that I get a minimum assured support from my ‘community’.

Lucky are those who can play it up for their advantage, I would much rather attach with all the possible identities that the God has blessed me with and not confine myself to one sub-set !!

And till the time I keep doing this, I will always be at a loss to answer a question on my ‘जाती’. Let others imagine my identity, for in my head I will be no different from the one I am standing next to.

BTW the farmer at the end of our conversation offered us some fresh मूली and गन्ने from his farm to take back to the answer of his first question i.e. our home in Udaipur.

GOOD NEWWZ

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The new age Hindi Film makers are unafraid to take the risk and touch subjects that not many would be comfortable in discussing openly. So now we have movies that talks about Erectile Dysfunction, Sperm Donor, LGBT and the latest being the one on Infertility and IVF!!

Good Newwz is a about two couple: one is ultra-swish played by Kareena Kapoor Khan and Akshay Kumar who are both career driven and now on their pursuit to have that elusive pregnancy and then there is another couple Diljeet Dosanj and Kiara Advani who play this naïve, out and loud couple from the land of the Bhangara i.e. Chandigarh.  There is also a third couple who run the IVF Centre played by Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra.

The couples land at the same IVF Centre and the wife’s are finally able to conceive albeit with the sperm of the other’s husband. So we have Kareena impregnated with Diljeet Dosanj’s spam and Kiara with the sperm of Akshay Kumar and the confusion that follows.

There are some really funny moments about couples timing their copulation with that of the ovulation cycle and trying to make the best of the short interval that they have. Some of the dialogues are crackling and leave you in splits. The confusion after the sperm exchange is fun in bits and pieces.

In all the plot is pretty wafer thin and we know where it’s going to lead. The lead couples are in top form. Kareena and Diljeet can we see you more often, Akshay please get out of your patriotic phase and act in some out and out comedy and Kiara keep doing what you are doing because you are fabulous.

While watching this film I couldn’t help but wonder how a manager at an automobile showroom with a journalist wife manages to have the flat that they have in Mumbai and the lifestyle that they live. This I am talking about Akshay and Kareena and then I realised it’s a Karan Johar film; no one is ever poor and not dressed to the hilt.

Despite some great scenes and funny first half the second half turns a little dramatic although luckily melodrama isn’t there but kind of drags a little longer than is required. The songs too seemed forced with the overplaying of the Punjabi music.

While you take a call on the above film, do remember to visit INDIRA IVF in case of any fertility related issues and not suffer goof-up bcoz they are the only lab in India with #RIWITNESS Technology !!

2020

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In some few hours we enter a new year : 2020

2020 is the year where the Mayan’s Calendar was ending; supposedly bringing an end to the world.

2020 is the world where the climate change was supposed to kill us all – information courtesy Hollywood.

2020 is the year of The Metal Rat according to the Chinese. It’s going to be a strong, prosperous, and lucky year. Everyone will show determination regarding their goals, aspirations, and even their hobbies.

2020 is a 4 Universal Year in Numerology, because 2+0+2+0 = 4. 4 represents order, responsibility, stability, family, home, manifestation, conservation, peace, physical reality, and practical solutions.

In short we have nothing to worry this year and continue to do whatever we have been doing this year. For someone it means spreading happiness, for some it means continuing being their meanest best and for some it means living a life of an Ostrich i.e. to just bury their heads in the sand to act oblivious to their surroundings.

While there are some who all are all set to spend doles of cash to user in the New Year and there are some who wants to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like reading or watching a movie or catching up on series and thus for the latter here is my list of favourite of the above three categories that they may care to consider:

Book: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. This is a Booker Prize winning book and perhaps the only book that I have read more than once. I have all the possible versions of this book: Hardback, Paperback and an e-book.

Movie : Schindler’s List. This is a little macabre to user in the New Year but it shows what lengths some of us i.e. humans are willing to go to bring out the evil side and some bring out the goodness even in the face of such evil.

TV Series : Succession. The series centers on a dysfunctional family who are fighting for control amidst uncertainty about the health of the family’s patriarch. This one is available of Hotstar.

Take a call, usher in the year and play your part in 2020 !!

GOD BLESS

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

RIP – Durga Nursery Road

More than 50 years back my grandparents bought an agricultural land on the College Road – an area that was on the outskirts of the walled city. They christened this farmland as Durga Nursery named after our family’s ruling deity Durga Mata. This farm eventually turned out to be our family’s permanent abode and also a place for my grandmother to test her agricultural acumen by growing varied crops such as sugarcane, wheat, corn, cotton and grapes.

This farmland was the very place where my grandfather was cremated and where a memorial stands in his name and over time even my grandmother was cremated here and here lies her Samadhi Sthal.

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A quaint lane with minimum thoroughfare: on one side was our home besides 2-3 others and on the other University’s residential quarters. As children we were not allowed to venture outside our homes after sunset as there were jackals in the vicinity that would scare us late at nights with their cry. Monsoon was a season where we had company of the reptiles: घर के अन्दर, घर के बाहर. इतनी आदत सी हो गयी थी की जब कोई गेस्ट से सापों का वाबस्ता होता तो brag करते की यह हमारा पालतू है और कुछ नाम भी दे दिया करते थे.

I think it was in the early nineties that this road was no longer being called ‘College Road’ but started being addressed as ‘Durga Nursery Road’. I do not know was it the commercialization of the road that bought about the name change or it was the other way round. It had seized to be a quite anymore.

This road not only faced the ire of rampant commercialization but also the fact that it’s one of the major roads that connects the sectors with the city. We no longer see peacocks dancing on rooftops during the rains, snakes rarely give us company and the temperatures too do not dip as you turn towards this road.

We have buildings with basement but no parking facility in them; high rises with absolute zero compliance with the norms. Coaching Institutes with no parking provision, for their students in their premises.

Last nail in the coffin has been the recent decision by the administration to have a divider running the length of the road. A 60 ft road now gets divided into two, with footpaths and cars being parked on either side of the road and Voila!! We have a road with a pliable width of only 20 ft on each side. This has actually made it a single lane road now.

Looking at the condition of the area and over-commercialization over the past few years, some of my well-wishers have been suggesting that it is no more a livable option and we move out to a quieter neighborhood but have always negated this option क्यूंकि अब जीना यहाँ और मरना यहाँ!!

Or maybe I am saying it too soon!!

 

AYODHYA – FINAL JUDGEMENT

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आदरणीय मर्यादा पुरषोत्तम राम,

आप सर्वज्ञानी, सर्वभूत और सर्वव्यापी हैं !!

जैसे की आपको ज्ञात है भारत के सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय ने आपके अयोध्या में जन्मस्थल को लेकर पक्ष और विपक्ष की सारी दलीलें सुन ली हैं और शायद एक महीने के भीतर अपना फैसला सुनायेंगे.

आप जानते ही हैं की क्या फैसला होने वाला है, जो की अधिकारिक रूप से आने के बाद महीनों तक चर्चा का विषय रहेगा और निश्चित ही मील का पत्थर साबित होगा.

मेरा आपसे बस यह निम्नलिखित निवेदन है की :

  • दो सदी से भी ज्यादा पुराने इस विवाद का अब हमेशा के लिए सुलटारा हो जाना चाहिए.
  • मंदिर – मस्जिद के नाम से अब लोगों का क़त्लेआम बंद होना चाहिए.
  • आपके नाम पर लोगों ने बहुत वोट मांग लिए अब भाईचारे के नाम पर वोट पढने चाहिए.
  • क्या यह मुमकिन हो सकता की इस फैसले से सब पक्ष संतुष्ट हो जायें.
  • इस फैसले के बाद दुसरे और विवादित स्थलों पर राजनैतिक दल अपनी राजनैतिक रोटियां ना सेक सकें.

आप हमारी आस्था में बसते हो, आप हमारे रोम-रोम में बसते हैं. अब यह कठिन फैसला सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय के पांच न्यायाधीश सुनायेंगे की क्या आप त्रेता युग में इसी निश्चित स्थान पर रावण वध के लिए अवतरित हुए थे !!

भविष्य के गर्भ में क्या छिपा है वह हम मनुष्यों को नहीं मालूम और न ही यह की इस फैसले की हम किस तरह प्रतिक्रिया देंगे. आप से प्रार्थना है की हम सब को विवेक दें और देशहित में, आने वाले इस फैसले को शान्ति और बिना किसी हिंसा से स्वीकारने की शक्ति प्रदान करें !!

आपका अनुयायी,

दीपक

GAVRI

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After years had the chance to watch and enjoy ‘GAVRI’ yesterday at the residence of Shri Raghuveer Singh ji Meena – Ex MP from Udaipur.

I remember as a kid an entire trope of Gavri performers from the nearby village of Badi would perform at our residence. If my memory doesn’t fail me Kuka, Chapliya were the names of some of these local Folk Artists. What really amused us kids then was these men dressed to the hilt as women !!thumbnail (9).jpg

Times flew by, did manage to get a glimpse of Gavri performances being played here or there and yesterday was really up, close and personal.

For the uninitiated Gavri, is a 40-day long festival celebrated in July and September of each year in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. It starts from Rakhi and concludes 9 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. It is an ode to Goddess Gauri – the wife of Lord Shiva thus the name GAVRI, her blessings are invoked at each such enactments.

Only men perform so they even play the characters of women. This is performed by the Tribal community of Mewar – an area that compromises of South Rajasthan.

 

During the 40-day Gavari season, all players IMG_20190912_131901-01.jpegpractice strict austerities to maintain reverent contact with the living earth and the immanent spirit. They avoid not only sex, alcohol and meat, but also shoes, beds, bathing, and eating greens (which might harm insect life). They eat only a single meal each day during the season. They also cannot go back to their homes during these 40 days no matter what the situation demands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavari 

 

I am sharing some of the pictures of yesterday’s performance.

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The government or for that matter even us, need to share some responsibility to protect and promote these local traditions or it will be matter of time our new generation will only read about them in their textbooks and newspapers.

University Elections

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छात्रसंघ चुनावों के नतीजे २ दिन पहले आ गए. जीत का जश्न और हार का गम अभी जारी है. दोनों ही जाते से ही जायेंगे.

लेकिन एक सवाल जो हर साल होने वाले इन चुनावों में मेरे मन में आता है की इन चुनावों में छात्र हित में क्या काम किया जाता है? एक साल बहुत कम है कुछ बदलाव लाने ले लिए, लेकिन फिर भी जो ज्ञापन, आंदोलन चुनावों से पहले होते हैं और वोह छात्र हित की बातें बाद में नज़र क्यूँ नहीं आती.

हमारा निवास उदयपुर के उस रोड पर स्थित है जहाँ शायद छात्रसंघ चुनावों की सबसे ज्यादा गहमागहमी नज़र आती है. मेरे स्कूल के दिनों में चुनाव के वक़्त तो घर से बहार निकलना मुश्किल हो जाता था यहाँ तक की लोग अपनी दुकानें भी बंद ही रखते थे. नामांकन रैली, वोटिंग डे और विजय जुलस ऐसे दिन तो जो इस एरिया में रहने वालों की दिनचर्या में बदलाव ला देते थे.

मैंने कॉलेज मुंबई से किया जहाँ इस तरह के डायरेक्ट चुनाव पर पाबन्दी थी. कैंपस में शान्ति थी. 7 साल के कॉलेज में (ग्यारवीं से पोस्ट ग्रेजुएशन तक) सिर्फ दो बार ही वोट पड़े वोह भी एक प्रयोग के रूप में और शुक्र है की वोह भी बाद में कंटिन्यू नहीं करे गए.

लेकिन हमारे यहाँ यानि राजस्थान में स्थिति सुधरी लिन्दोह कमेटी की सिफारिशों के बाद, पहले जैसा हुडदंग नज़र नहीं आता था, थोड़े नियमों का पालन होने लगा, थोड़ी सख्ती दिखने लगी. फिर भी एक आदर्श छात्र चुनाव प्रक्रिया आने में अभी और वक़्त लगेगा !!

आशा है आने वाले समय में हमारे छात्र संघ चुनावों में धनबल, बाहुबल और जातिवाद से निकल करे ऐसे नेताओं की फौज तैयार करें जिनको देख कर युवा और खासकर युवतियाँ राजनीती से जुड़ना चाहें देशहित के लिए.

जब तक यह हो क्या यह संभव है की अब हर साल होने वालों चुनावों में पिछले बार वाला अपना लेखा-जोखा प्रस्तुत करे?

MISSION MANGAL

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Mission Mangal is part fact-part fiction film about India’s mission to Mars. This success achieved in miniscule budget and by the team of underdogs!!

Following are the reasons why you should watch the film:

  • First and foremost is to celebrate the success and achievements of ISRO. When some people were stuck in cattle there was a leader like Nehru and Scientist like Vikram Sarabhai who dared to dream. It was for their vision and nurturing talent and scientific temper that this mission was managed in a budget of around Rs. 450 crores, less than the budget of the Hollywood Film AVATAAR
  • For Akshay Kumar : For he is the new age Manoj Kumar. SRK and Bhai can have their Eid and Diwali but Mr. Khiladi rules the box-office thru 15th August and patriotism.
  • For the team of underdogs who come together to achieve greatness and proving everyone wrong.
  • To have great back stories about the lead actors tackling themes such as Infertility, Casteism, Astrology, children abandonments of aged parents and most importantly maintaining the home-office equation by working women.
  • For making sure that these back stories never deviate from the main plot.
  • Luckily there are no melodramatic patriotic movements, no forced love angle and no jabardasti ke songs (well they could have had one less)
  • For the great ensemble cast who seemed secure in their roles and didn’t seem to undercut anyone.
  • For Vidya Balan who is in top form, btw when is she not? She is plays it perfectly as a women follows her passion without any guilt of compromising on her domestic front. For me she is the Lady Aamir Khan who can play any role with élan but again that may be unfair she is her own without any comparison.
  • We Udaipurites have to watch this one as our very own INDIRA IVF as they are the brand partner for this film. Watching our home grown enterprise making a mark on the Silver Screen and internationally too is a proud-proud moment.
  • For not making space jargon and science too complicated, by catering to the lowest common denominator.
  • Every story has a hero and a villain and this one too has one. He is the devil’ advocate, American returned , NASA trained Scientist Dalip Tahil. लेकिन थोडा ज्यादा ही negative हो गए.

So you see I have gushed and gushed about this film and you too must  do that by watching MISSION MANGAL !!

JUDGEMENTALL HAI KYA

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The title of this film initially was Mental Hai Kya before they changed it to Judgementall Hai Kya. This was done to pacify and be political correct after the Psychiatrists took offence.  So I shall follow the latter title and be Judgy as hell, which I am usually is!!

This film is about a little girl Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) who loses her parents to freak accident and thereby develops a mental condition, so I am made to infer by the filmmakers. She grows up to become a dubbing artist, a wannabe actress with her own mental issues. A pair of young couple comes to live with as tenants in her house and in which eventually the wife is burned and killed. The suspect is both the Bobby and the victims husband (Rajkumar Rao) and they both accuse each other for this crime, however both eventually gets the clean chit from the cops.

Post interval Bobby meets this guy again who is now married to her cousin living in London and what follows is the doubts and accusations towards each other. They both are wary of each other and try gathering dirt from each ones past to strengthen their case. This being a murder and a Psychological thriller I am not going to reveal anything more.

So being Judgemental AF this is what I think:

What Works:

  • The Brilliant Kangana Ranaut, she aces at playing these roles. Unhinged and unafraid to play such a character.
  • Some of the jokes and the characters work in the first half, especially the cops and her doormat of a boyfriend.
  • Rajkumar Rao is again someone who always lifts up any character he plays.
  • I like the take on Sita ji and the use of chaupai from Ramcharita Manas.

What Fails:

  • Despite it being just 121 minutes long, it feels long which means sometimes it is not going anywhere.
  • The second half is such a slog just wanted to fast-forward to the end.
  • The climax is overlong and it takes forever to come.
  • I do not really understand the symptoms of Bobby’s mental illness wish they could have elaborated that to, maybe know her better.

To deliver my closing remarks in the Judgement of this film: The Ayes get drowned in the din of the Nos.

समझे ?? नहीं ??

400 शब्दों की एक बात इस को आप मेरे हिसाब से skip कर सकते हैं !!

KABIR SINGH

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Finally saw the film Kabir Singh after weeks of dillydallying.  With not so flattering reviews from one of my favourite movie critic, I had made up my mind of letting this one pass however as the days progressed and with that its box office collections and a strong word of mouth, I was left with no option but to cede to the popular demand.

Three weeks have passed since its release so this one is not going to be a conventional review, I mean अगर तीन हफ्ते बाद भी फिल्म रिव्यु देख कर movie जानी पड़े  तो आप से गुजारिश है की आप इसका online stream होने तक का इंतज़ार करें.

I have a confession to make I did enjoy the movie!! Was it because my expectations were low initially?? Hell, No!! It served its purpose of being an escapist entertaining cinema. The songs since the day I saw the film has been playing on a loop.

The whole brouhaha about it being a misogynist film and its portrayal of bully of a hero is true.

To justify the actions of a bully just because he happens to excel in the medical profession is too much. A flunky graduate with such anger issues would have counted amongst the neighborhood louts, but in this he is someone who is tolerated by all.

To have a girl marked as one’s own by the bully without her consent is straight out of the 1980’s, I mean which girl allows that?? Bcoz I passed colleges in the late 90’s and I am still looking for answers.

How long do friends and family tolerate and keep standing for a bully who puts his own interests and anger issues in the forefront? He is an alcoholic, ready to pick a fight and snorts cocaine (BTW an aunty sitting behind me does tchh, tchh when he does that) at the drop of a hat. To each his own in dealing with the heartbreak and Devdas too took to bottle in early part of the last century, didn’t he??

Yes Shahid Kapoor is the bully , Kiara Advani is the girl that gets marked and it is their love story that sets the screen ablaze.

Despite all the above I did enjoy this film, because there are some movies like Article 15 that we enjoy and want to emulate and there are some like this one that eulogies imperfections that we lap up.

Is there a dichotomy to this? I do not know?

Me enjoying this film make me a misogynist too? I do not know?

Do I justify violence against women, an emphatic NO !!

Can the vagaries of the heart ever be understood and questioned? I do now know.

Somehow all this reminds me of a Punjabi movie scene that went viral on social media some time back: https://youtu.be/EwpdMobhlp4

What I know is Shahid Kapoor excelled as Kabir Singh a character I wouldn’t want to know or deal with in real life but isn’t Cinema also about showing the character we abhor.  Kiara Advani brings out the vulnerable side of Preeti. For Preeti is the calm that douses Kabir’s angst and fire. It’s the classic cases of opposites attract.

So to conclude it did make for a good watch and if u plan to watch it then please book the ticket in advance as even after 3 weeks they aren’t easy to get.