Glory: lost and found

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 11:47 PM

Soul-curry. Inspirational and mesmerizing. That’s AR Rehman’s music for you. After a string of popular songs (Vande Mataram - 1997 being my favourite), his efforts were finally recognized on the global platform in this year’s Academy Awards that were announced in Kodak Theatre today. So what if it took an English director for him to find his path of glory, the legend had already been recognized on home turf a long time back.

Gulzar, who gave us some of the most beautiful lyrics in Bollywood, rightfully shared the honour for Best Original Song with Rehman. The media channels, spiraling in a tizzy, gave little space to the modest lyricist who missed the ceremony. From home, he congratulated Rehman and said he was happier for him than he had ever been for himself.

Awards for Best Lead, male and female, went to Sean Penn (Milk) and Kate Winslet (The Reader). Having seen both movies, I have no qualms admitting that both their performances were ground breaking. After multiple non-converted nominations, it was about time that Kate won the gold statuette too!

Fact-of-the-matter: After 26/11, this was Mumbai’s chance at redeeming itself. The eight awards that Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire bagged gave the crestfallen city some reason to cheer. While the debate rages on about Slumdog’s depiction of Indian poverty, there’s no doubt that the team deserves the honours it has received. Resul Pookutty won the big O for Best Sound Mixing and almost broke down while accepting the award. Danny Boyle ended the dream run on a positive note by thanking Mumbai for giving him his story and characters. Indeed a big day for the city. Congratulations to all the winners.

Post-script:Smile Pinki’ won Best Documentary (short subject) as well.


I was clicked!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 4:05 PM in , ,
So the day was Valentines Day and I was on my way to Khan Market for lunch. Like most times, I was traveling by the delhi metro. Due to a recent expansion, the metro was full when I boarded. As a result I had to stand by a glass separator that disjoins the seat from the door. While I stood by the door on one side of the glass… a funny looking, 30 year old-something, fidgety man sat at the other side. He seemed deeply engrossed in his cellphone and through the glass separator I saw that he was playing a mobile game. At Kashmere Gate station (a major stop where a lot of shuffling of crowd happens), he suddenly got up and offered me his seat to sit. In my mind, I thought ‘what a sweet guy to vacate his seat for a lady!’ and sat down. Two more women came in to fill the adjacent seats that had just been vacated by people getting down at the stop.

All was well until I noticed that the 30-something old man’s phone camera was conspicuously pointed in my direction while he stood there in front of me. Although the thought that he might be clicking a picture did strike me once, I quickly dismissed it assuming he must still be playing his game. And there is indeed little room for maneuvering in a crowded train. So I decided to let it be.

After a while he turned, went and stood at another spot a few feet away from me. It was then that a 20-something year old college student, wearing a red sweatshirt, came to me and whispered gently in my ear “He just clicked your picture”. I was baffled and asked him to repeat. “He just clicked your picture. I was standing behind him and I saw”, he said. A little shaken, I poked the 30-something old man who was now standing with his back to me. He obviously didn’t respond and I had to call out to him and poke him a little harder to make him turn. I asked him if he had clicked any picture and he blatantly said he hadn’t. The 20-something guy was still standing there and affirmed that he had seen him click it. The 30-something man offered me his phone and said I could go through his gallery if I had any doubts. I looked at him a little apprehensively trying to see the truth in his face, and reluctantly declined saying I’ll take his word for it. But the 20-something boy insisted that I go through his phone because he was positive a picture had been clicked. On my refusal, he grabbed the phone himself from the 30-something’s outstretched hand and started sifting through his gallery.

Correctly indeed, there it was a picture of me saved at the top of his archives. The 20-something red sweatshirt guy looked at me and said “See! I told you he clicked it!” Wow. I was shocked at the pervert-mindedness and reached for the intercom that would’ve connected me to the metro driver. Before I could press the button, the 30-something guy immediately said sorry and promised that he would delete it. While he was talking, I saw that the 20-something samaritan had already deleted the picture and was checking the gallery for more shots. On finding none, he handed him back his phone with a disapproving look on his face. Both of them got down at the next station. The 30-something guy got down because everybody was looking at him and murmuring, and the 20-something collegian because I assume his station had come. I slipped him a quick ‘Thank You’ before he disembarked.

Post-script: For the next twenty minutes until the train terminated, the women next to me couldn’t stop discussing what a weird place the world had become. They kept asking me if he had deleted the picture and what he would have possibly achieved by pulling off a sly act like that. As if in a response to their own question, they went on to mull how many inappropriate uses were possible of such shots. They also kept reminding me that the sincere looking, red sweatshirt guy had saved the day for me. I kept nodding in agreement and continued shaking my head in disbelief.

Epilogue: Just when you start thinking that the world is devoid of all good people, incidents like these remind you that we still have a few good men left. On giving it some thought, we deduce that the college guy wasn’t going to get anything out of the whole incident. But he still stepped up to raise his voice against something that he felt was morally incorrect. I still think I hadn’t thanked him enough. If by some dumb stroke of luck he happens to read this some day, I would like to tell him that it is because of men like him (and a few others) that women nurture the hope of having a equal, safe society for them one day. A big Thank you once again.

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