The puffed rice seller was tall and gaunt, with a wispy stubble on his chin. He was aged roughly about forty five. He’d sing as he went about the neighborhood with his sack! And the song he would always sing was ‘Hawaa Hawaa Aye Hawaa’, a Pakistani song, quite a hit during those times in India. His name was Amjad. Bool Sheet was then in his early teens and he along with his friends would play gully cricket on the streets or lagori – a game involving a tower of stones and throwing a ball around hitting each other with the ball and all that junk. It was a welcome distraction as Amjad passed by always singing!
The year was 1996 and it was the month of December, Bool Sheet and his friends would as usual get back from school and then the games would begin on the streets in the evening, loud noise and shouts rang in the air. It was routine and yet it was fun and around 5:30 in the evening regularly the sound of the song ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ would come floating in. Bool Sheet and his friends would often taunt Amjad with loud shouts of ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ sometimes singing more of the song along with Amjad mixed with general tomfoolery!
Something happened in the second week that December and all schools were shut down in the neighborhood. There was some sort of panic, and Bool Sheet and his friends were not allowed to even play on the streets by their parents lest something untoward happened. It was something about Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi that Bool Sheet didn’t care about but had learnt about when the TV blared on and his dad sat rapt, catching the news.
For a few days the school and games on the street routine was disrupted. And the kids got restless at homes. Playing cards and chess or carom (which Bool hated) became the norm. There was news that there had been violent clashes near the market which was less than half a kilometer down the main road. Clashes among people of the main religious communities - Hindus and Muslims but it had come under control as no one wanted disruption in business and all this would only lead to losses as Bool heard some wise man tell his dad!
One winter evening Bool Sheet sat thinking about the unexpected holidays he had got from school – it was fun and not so fun too. However one sudden observation he had was that Amjad had not been seen after that period of turmoil. The schools had resumed after a week or two and so had their games on the streets, but what about Amjad? A chilling thought came to Bool Sheet’s mind as he was prone to thinking extremes. Had Amjad…? There had been some news of burning of shacks and shanties on the other side of the temple. Is that where Amjad lived? Had something happened to him? Next day Bool Sheet asked his best friend Wimp Keed. Keed also noticed that Amjad would no longer come in the evenings, singing ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ and that was quite unusual he agreed. Probably people had stopped eating puffed rice he hypothesized. “Bullshit”, thought Bool Sheet but he was scared, he even asked his mom and she couldn’t give a satisfactory answer either.
That night as he slept he dreamt that he had reached heaven and there as he was entering the portals of Jom’s world he saw a single, lonely person seated on a chair among the rows and rows of empty chairs. A familiar tune was being played out in a slow symphony in the background. The person was seated with his head held in his hands and face down. As Bool went towards the man and touched him on his arm, he raised his head. It was Amjad and in the background as if the slow symphony started playing louder it was the same tune “Hawaa Hawaa”.
He narrated this to Wimp Keed and Keed couldn’t stop laughing for the next one full minute as Bool’s cheeks went red in anger and he left Keed in a huff, still laughing. Keed was usually silent and listened carefully to Bool but on this occasion he was so terribly insensitive! What Bool Sheet I say thought Keed in turn. The problem with Bool was he’d often go off on stupid, imaginary worlds like this – quite usual for him.
It was about a month later when they were in an intense game of cricket and Bool’s LBW decision was being heatedly debated that they heard the familiar tune of that gruff voice singing and Bool just forgot all about the cricket match and ran towards that sound. As Amjad came towards them hunched forward, with his grimy off-white plastic sack lugged over his shoulder, Bool stood still in front of him but could say nothing.
“Kaisa hain Bool babua?”, “How are you Mr Bool?” said Amjad touching Bool on his cheek.
But Bool wouldn’t move and continued to block Amjad’s path and stood there staring at his face.
It was as if some sort of a human bond of familiarity had formed between them and Amjad could sense it.
“Arre main badhiya hoon, no peeroblem”, he said as he gave a toothy smile. He meant ‘I am fine no problems whatsoever’.
After a while Bool held Amjad’s hand and squeezed it to see if it were really Amjad. Amjad patted his hand and Bool ran back to his buddies to argue out the LBW decision suddenly aware he had been given out unfairly.
In an instant again his doubt surfaced and he wanted to really, really make sure that whom he was seeing was really Amjad! Then he did an even more bizarre thing - he actually went back, held up Amjad’s arm from behind as he turned around and bit him.
I wanted to sing but no one would listen,
Or there was no occasion except a few!
So I now use Muziboo - www.muziboo.com
I wanted to act but no theatre group that I ever joined
And longingly I sat looking at the actors on stage.
So now I play different parts: of victim, expert and joker on Facebook - www.facebook.com
I wanted to write and I did
And then one day the urge died!
But I still blog at http://shamitb.blogspot.com/
I wanted to read but the books strained my eye.
So I now use audio books man - WTF!
I wanted to travel around the world - the mountains, the seas...
But it was too costly and I was too comfortably seated to move!
So I now have virtual tours on the net and read Lonely Planet/
I wanted to help but ...
Now you can use kiva - www.kiva.com
And I wanted to draw/paint, create art and wanted people to appreciate it!
So I created Dhonuk - www.dhonuk.com
I wanted to sing but no one would listen, Or there was no occasion except a few! I wanted to act but no theatre group that I ever joined And longingly I sat looking at the actors on stage. I wanted to write and I did And then one day the urge died! I wanted to read but the books strained my eye. I wanted to travel around the world - the mountains, the seas... But it was too costly and I was too comfortably seated to move! I wanted to help but ...
But sing I will in the bathroom or my house! No occasion needed all right. Act I shall everyday - action!! Lights, camera or not. And I write... what the f*** do you think I am doing now? Read I will have to - the voracious reader demands and yells within! Travel I will some day... Right now I am traversing my mental landscape!
The will is weak, the perception vivid. Imagination at a peak, but inertia gets us frigid. So finally I have acted! And here, I give you a poem. In the name of whatever. A help and a thought, An inspired lot That you all are What else do you need from me?
Sometimes I see no reason for doing anything in particular and find most of the causes for which, people are prepared to act and suffer, profoundly uninteresting. I can't be bothered with them, for the good reason that I have better things to 'think' about. (Adapted)
My mind was very disturbed yesterday at the time I went to sleep. Late at night around 3 AM or so I woke up for some reason and then tried meditation as I lay down. Focusing on my breath as I meditated - I went into a deep peaceful state within 10 minutes and as if all the impressions from the day were washed out... Later I slept peacefully too!
This is like the most fantastic movie I have ever seen, mind-blowing stuff, no exaggerations. Period.
Oh! Well, I have to write some bit about it, I have to. Natalie Portman deserved the Oscar like no one else ever did. I am shocked and in awe of what I just saw as the movie concluded. She has been able to perform in the movie Black Swan to perfection. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
The docile ballerina, a perfectionist whom the company's choreographer keeps taunting by saying, you are too weak and frigid and you need to let go, it is not about perfection and control etc etc. The transformation from the White Swan to the Black Swan is what the movie is about. In this process she takes another person as her imagined arch enemy and to reach that ultimate perfection on stage you get to see what happens to her personal life.
Even if I have spoilers from the movie here it does not matter –you would have to see it to believe it. You would not believe what you see in that movie though. This beats all levels of acting, raving about it would be a mild term.
The last part is not just riveting it is spell binding. I was left completely spell bound and shaking like I haven’t been in any other movie till date. This IS undoubtedly in my memory the best movie I have watched till date simply because of what the brilliance of acting from the lead actordoes to you as a viewer. It draws you in – near complete!
The climax is set up to resemble some superlative crescendo. The power of the medium has been harnessed well in the screenplay too – and I saw this on my laptop and yet this effect – on big screen it would be quite extraordinary!
As the very end of the movie nears, a series of events just pump up the adrenaline and your mind goes into a tizzy (my mind did) and you figure that she has been delusional at one point yet has performed in her first and final act with such expression that you cannot forget it for a long time.
First of all you know the actor has done a marvelous role when she makes you feel for her, as if anything untoward that may befall her you don’t want it to happen. She makes you become a part of the narrative – the acting has this sense almost of the tactile. Touching is the word.
It was an ultimate connect to the character not just the character in the movie but as if the reality of that character and you start panicking or sweating alongside the actor.
During the last few scenes of the movie, we see a series of occurrences in the film, some disconnected yet very engaging, passionate scenes and that is when the mental machinery of the viewer goes into a thumping overdrive. It is not like the cool and chilling Anthony Hopkins of ‘Hannibal Lecter’ fame in the Silence of the Lambs – this is intensely dramatic, superbly artistic, and powerfully seductive! The final Black Swan act is absolutely mesmerizing as when you see Portman you just can’t believe it is the same actress, the transformation is so complete! The accompanying music and sound effects does justice too.
It is like a buildup that is quite unseen - the true meaning of the word ‘climax’ in any movie if there can be this defines it!
It is not surreal or fuzzy, but taunt like the string of a bow and equally hammer-like.
And the whole thing especially her acting is anything but natural and exhausts all superlative adjectives. I kind of realize now that the movie portrays that she remains a White Swan until the end!
‘Getting Out, Getting in’ or Prof Ongko & Telepathy
“It is like this”, Professor Ongko Bannujjay, was showing it, waving his hand to show the n-dimensions. Then he started moving both his hands like an orchestra player. Prof O we will call him - the mathematical wizard or just O.
Bool raised his hand, his skinny arm didn’t even register in O’s n-dimensional far sight of a vision. He continued on drawing 3 matrices simultaneously on the board, bored the students started jotting down the tableaux.
“Taabloo”, yelled O suddenly animated and then went on to blabber more. “Do you get it? The fact that multiple such planes intersect and each of them are convex, yes what?”, he asked Bool in between repeating his previous point. He had spotted Bool – his arm intersecting one of his imaginary planes – and interrupting his train of thoughts - disgusting.
Bool felt trepidation and the area around his bladder tightened, constricting any chance of liquid flow. It was a strange sensation, he felt he had to run to the toilet yet the body took an autonomous decision as if as a counter measure!
O’s jowls were as fiery and red as a raging bull’s. “Yes what is it?” he yelled out again.
Bool started to speak, when his mobile rang. A ringtone that was of some Bengali Rabindra Sangeet, written by the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore and unknowingly set as a ringtone by one of his stupid cousins yesterday when he had gone to their place. These next gen kids were ‘pod pakaas’ – sharp ass, as in overzealous! Bool felt as if the ghost of the poet with the white flowing beard had kicked Bool in his backside. He fumbled to shut off the mobile, but the sound subsided – it was only an SMS – Shit Messaging Service.
Ongko was now livid. He made a caustic remark, “How callous are you fools”, he said addressing all in general but Bool in particular. “First of all it takes you hours to understand the simplest of concepts that I understood back in secondary school - calculus”. “And then you don’t even turn off your mobiles in class – how did you morons get into this prestigious institute?” So callous and calculus registered as words in Bool’s mind as nodes of an associative map tightly entwined that he would never forget!
“Sorry Sir”, Bool managed heads down ashamed and that’s when he happened to glance at his mobile screen. It read “Take me in”. He was shocked, Ashok it was who had messaged him. What did he mean?
Bool now stood up and with great courage managed to ask “Sir you mentioned multiple planes intersecting and all of them being convex, but what if they are concave?”
Prof O thought for a minute and started scratching his head! He suddenly ducked and then paced back and forth on the elevated platform for almost thirty full seconds. By now Bool had forgotten his question and was busy reading the SMS from Ashok trying to fathom its meaning!
Also by then Toothy Shashank had peeped into his neighbour’s mobile and seen the SMS and giggled!
Coming out of his deep thoughts, Prof O shot back a look of anger at the class, who dared giggle at him, he would answer the question all right! He started pointing his right hand’s index finger at his head an almost reflex action, as if commanding his mind to throw out an answer. But the answer eluded him. And this got him even more animated and his speed of pacing around quickened.
The message had spread in the class like wild ants; the students were flabbergasted by two equally comic happenings. Ashok sending Bool a message saying “Take me in”, for extra kicks someone had spiced up the SMS as “Take me in tonight” – and the way Prof O had reacted to Bool’s question. The lanky and muscled Peter even whispered into the ears of Sriram ‘Tilak’ Iyer that he thought Bool was a gay, he had always thought so!
All of a sudden something quite extraordinary happened. Prof O raised both his hands and sighed loudly, “You’ll have to give me five minutes”.
He jumped down to the door, unlatched it and stormed out. As soon as he had stormed out Ashok stormed into the class.
He was five minutes late to the class and Prof O was so strict (finicky most students thought) that he would lock the door, latch it from inside two minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin. Then he’d dust his hand as if he had just punished some criminal who was left outside and smile at himself for a moment and then get back to being a tough professor!
“Dude please take me in, ask the professor to open the door, I got delayed by a minute” read the next message from Ashok that reached Bool a little late… And by then he had actually managed to do exactly that. Bool later boastfully claimed it was: Telepathy.
Plus several toppers including Sriram ‘Tilak’ Iyer congratulated Bool on his near-impossible feat that semester more so than the genuine question Bool had raised and Prof O had answered in the subsequent class!
Incessant taunts for Bool on the message from Ashok and its distortions died out after a while. And so did the incessant praises for having sent Prof O out of the class with his mind blowing question.