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Fragrance of the cactus


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Fragrance of the cactus;

Scent of love;

It was never meant to be;

Unfulfilled tale;

She was my cactus,

sparkling scent of longing, forever and undying vows;

Lost in translation;

Decades that made me turn away from love;

Unrequited in all its forms;

Witnessing upheavals and storms:

In the name of love;



Silly kisses and touching;


Moving ahead;


The cactus,

a powerful reminder;

Pricking the heart;

Memories disappearing in the thin veil of dust;




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BMC election 2017: Roti, Kapda aur Makaan and ‘Mumbai’ values

India and Asia’s richest corporation, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is a milch cow for our politicians and it comes as no stroke of genius that throughout the contest, it was under siege by political parties vying for the pot of gold. The secret ballot is out where Shiv Sena won by a tiny whisker with 84 seats, edging past BJP’s tally of 82.

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This time, BJP and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gamble paid out with the saffron party making a mark in the city with 82 legislators edging past the Grand old party, Congress, suffering yet another political hemorrhage.  It’s high time for the Congress Party to introspect on their complete washout, like the monsoons, in a city where they once stood tall. Perhaps, Raj Thackeray and his MNS should now see the crude reality that regional politics doesn’t pay off and their complete wipe off in Maharashtra is testament to that.

It makes political sense for Raj Bhau to merge his MNS with Shiv Sena. He stands a better chance as a political leader to dictate things and time to reinvent himself in embracing an all-inclusive ideology in the city. For the Marathi Manoos, it’s Roti, Kapda aur Makaan rather than picking on outsiders entering the state to eke a livelihood. Political goonda gardi will not work in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai.

To CM Fadnavis credit, he single-handedly played clean and tapped on issues faced by commoners every monsoon, be it potholes or promised transparency in the way Mumbai or Maharashtra, is administered. He played on anti-incumbency factors and in the award of tenders, allegations of scams or infrastructure ‘crippling the city’ that allegedly reign supreme at BMC level. The average middle-class Mumbaikars are tired of the same old story and it could be accounted for one of the reasons that the BJP was able to make a mark in the city.  It shouldn’t be viewed as a vote of confidence in favor of BJP though but more as the woes of commoners for a better administered Mumbai. It was a well-calculated move to tap on disenchanted voters by giving 53 tickets to Non-Marathas such as Gujratis and North Indians. The moved paid handsomely well.

Make no mistake, Mumbai is Shiv Sena’s forte and they performed decently well in the city, taking into account the anti-incumbency factor of ruling the city over two decades and the death of supremo, Bala Saheb Thackeray which left a void in their vote bank. A large chunk may have gone to the BJP who also gained Congress vote. The tiger may have been tamed and is not roaring like in the good old days but it will not sleep on its laurels. After all, the stakes are too high and there are areas in Mumbai who swear allegiance to the Sainiks. High time for young Turks like Aditya Thackeray who showed the promise of having a modern outlook, to practice an inclusive policy for political gains.

India’s financial capital, Mumbai, suffer from plaguing issues such as potholes, crumbling of buildings where FSI is violated and infrastructure taking its toll on citizens every Monsoon. It’s a city known for never sleeping and needs its nightlife unscathed. The young-Marathas and Non-Marathas-abhor enforcing the Hindutva agenda or all forms of bans, be it beef ban or shutting down nightlife, a time where life starts. It’s a huge opportunity for the Shiv Sena with fresh leaders like Aditya Thackeray to be inclusive and represent the face of Mumbai, taking a departure from its ideology of bandh or hoodlums to incarnate modernity and embolden the values that Mumbai always stood for.

Jai Maharashtra




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Film Review: Raees is sure shot ‘masala’ bonanza

Movie Review: Raees

Producer: Red Chillies Entertainment & Excel Entertainment

Director: Rahul Dholakia

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan, Atul Kulkarni and Sunny Leone

Music: Ram Sampath

Rating: Three and  a half

In recent times, Shah Rukh Khan is exploring all avenues and taking risks few actors would to shock his audience and treading on the less traveled path with films like Fan, Dear Zindagi and now Raees. The best part is that from a creative angle, his choice of films are ringing in benefits where he is experimenting big time and pushing himself to the next level as an actor.

Director Rahul Dholakia is the same man who gave us the hard-hitting and one of the best movies ever made in the history of Indian cinema, Parzania and when he teams up with SRK, there is bound to be novelty in the way the film is crafted. On the onset, I must confess my fascination for movies or novels that revolve around the life of gangsters and find them particularly sexy with the power play, conflict, and the old-age victory of good over evil, providing the director or narrator comes with a kickass story, paisa vasool pace and, of course, histrionic performances.

The film takes us back to the 80s where Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) want to succeed on his own terms as a bootlegger and shows his mighty power that makes his people love him to death and his foes loving to hate him. Shah Rukh incarnates the Robinhood of the reel in a modern fashion and incarnates material aspirations. It somehow reminds me of his role in Ram Jaane, one film that I loved but which was built more on the commercial premise. Alternately, Raees is one film that marries commercial and realism in varying degrees. In short, the film’s USP is built skilfully on the conflict between Raees and Jaideep Majumdar, brilliantly depicted by Nawaaz.

The dialogues are cleverly written and designed to tap the pulse of the masses, ‘Baniye Ka Dimaag Aur Miyanbhai Ki Daring’ and ‘Ammi Jaan Kehti Thi, Koi Dhanda Chota Nahi Hota Aur Dhande Se Bada Koi Dharam Nahi Hota’. It stands as the stuff that would garner seethis, taalis and coin throwing on the screen. Now, that’s what mass appeal is all about and makes us remember the heydays of masala in the 80s and 90s. Raees is very masaledar with all the box ingredients, whether it’s the sets recreating the 80s to give it an authentic feel or the cat-and-mouse game between SRK and Nawaaz.  The pace and the action sequence that leads to jumping from vintage car to flock of goats and slaughter-house and meat mandi in ‘Bombay’ ups the quotient and sends an adrenaline rush. The pace is swift and tautly helmed by Rahul Dholakia.

The movie belongs to Shah Rukh Khan, right from the word go and he carries the film entirely on his shoulders, delivering in raw intensity, showcasing his acting repertoire. King Khan gives depth to his character Raees and it’s something he hasn’t done in recent times. SRK showcases his mettle in the scene where he assaults the Chief Minister who takes the Rath Yatra out. It’s a huge gamble to play Raees and he does so with gusto. He is matched at every step by Nawaaz as the obstinate cop and his dialogues, for instance, Dhandha band kar le, Warna saans lena bhi mushkil kar dunga’, in the first half is a sure shot winner. Nawaaz is simply magnificent and sensational playing the cop and the clash with SRK is top-notch. Atul Kulkarni delivers a notable performance. Mahira Khan looks glamorous and performs decently.

On the flip side, the terrific pace in the first half slows down to post the interval and except few songs like the recreated Laila main Laila and Zaalima, the rest doesn’t live up to the expectations. However, the climax is sensational and unfurls in high-voltage entertainment where Rahul Dholakia packs a punch in the treatment meted out. It’s not the run-of-the-mill type but works wonders for the audience. The director is the real hero in extracting the best in SRK and Nawaaz that makes Raees a sure-shot bonanza for the audience. A rare gem that comes once in a while and something we haven’t been treated to in recent times. Sunny Leone deserves a mention for her sensational dance number where she scorches the scene. Raees is a sure shot winner. I love the dialogue, Dhande mein koi HinduMuslim nahi hota’ which says a lot on humans and makes a perfect pitch for unity in an age if intolerance. You cannot afford to miss Raees. Battery sala!




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Changing equation of friendship

Strange things are happening to me.  It’s been a few days that I am getting carried away by an emotional turmoil and today I felt the pang which compelled me to ping a friend on Gchat. I told her, ‘I need to vent things out’. It’s a guilt feeling inside. I dunno whether I am feeling better or not after uncorking the bottle of feeling.

In Dil Chahta Hai, the three best buddies Sid, Sameer and Akash head to Goa where the latter watch a ship at a looming distance which he equated to their lives and will disappear in a while. Sid says something about how the three of them will chart unique destinations and no one knows where life will take them. In ten years time, it will be almost impossible for them to meet once. Strangely, it is happening to me right now.

My best friend just got hitched in February to his childhood sweetheart and he came down from Australia to get married in India. Since we are in two different countries, I couldn’t fly to India to attend his wedding and it was something that I was so fucking sure to do. I am still feeling so bad about it. It came to my realization how in 10 years, it would be impossible for besties to meet and it was in 2006 that he left India and I moved out in 2008.

How time flies! We take our lives for granted, right from the time I and Adi spent the most wondrous moments in college, to playing silly pranks and fighting over mundane things. I never thought that we would be sitting on the opposite end of the fence and that life would make us sink in the humdrum of making money, shifting jobs and starting things all over again. I mean, we are so caught up with things and circumstances that sometimes we cannot take the time to be with those who have seen the best and worst of us. I am feeling very bad not to be with the bestie on one of the most special days of his life. Has friendship grown so thin as time flew!

It got me thinking about how the whole equation changes as someone ties the knot? Have you ever thought about it? There are friends with whom we make lifelong memories and hang out together or on Whatsapp, chat or phone if you are in different parts of the globe and suddenly he or she makes the announcement of getting hitched. Time suddenly takes its toll on friendship and life. Things will not remain the same as the person gets married and moves forward in life. It’s the changing equation of friendship. After all, they have to make their life or start a family. It matters. Friendship does matter.

It’s been bothering me for quite a while. I know that it can look stupid in places. After all, life never stays static. I mean, I am someone who was never close to family or relatives but my life always revolved around friends who means the most rather than the former. Technology is replacing relationships. Circumstances make relationships evolve over time and what remain are plain memories of crazy times spent together which gave us the impression at that time that things shall never fade away. The priceless moments keep playing in the head as if it was yesterday only you were meeting your friends in college, going bonker over your latest crush and your bestie ingenious way of devising a plan how to get introduced to that chick. Memories and life beyond that!

It’s true that you need to live with this fact of life that things change once you are settled. The phone calls would be less or may be, the communications would be restricted to Facebook, a once-in-a-blue-moon message on WhatsApp in exchange for a smiley.

How much we give to friendship without making the effort and we bond, getting attached to each other as human beings? Why it happens with some people and not the others? Such questions are plaguing me. I mean, it’s humanly impossible to run away to your closest friends after every single issue and you cannot obviously fly now and then. Like in my case, I was super confident that we would meet and was looking for a personal loan to travel but since I couldn’t pay the previous one on maturity time as a result of my earlier job where we were paid salary after two months since the company was facing losses, I stood disqualified.

Such is life, circumstances, and friendship. The equations change and not everything is in our hands. But, it taught me a lesson: Save for rainy days and take an insurance if one’s savings is zero. In friendship, I believe and memory treasured. One should make the most of life for we never know where that ship may leave us that it would be impossible to spot our own shadow in the stormy sea and crashing waves.

This post is also linked to #MondayMusings on Everyday Gyaan.





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Fading flicker of light

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I resemble,

an earthen lamp nestled in a dark corner.

Fading flicker of light;

Everything must come to an end.




It shall not always stay the same.

Equations change.

Realization dawns,

time is no bubble.

Counting my stars and tiny dots

on the sky.

Watching in silence as memory slips

is the peace that I make with the self.










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Friday Fiction: Maya

The music played in the mind of Omi. He wandered aimlessly in the night and hearing birds chirping from a distance. A feeble smile stroke his lip. The memories of the times spent with the best friend, the girl he crushed on and the blank calls made in the wee hours. The times that slipped is a powerful healer as he faced his destiny. The unexpected defeats and longing for miracles. It soothed his heart as he looked back at the wondrous times that seemed too good to be true. It felt like waking up from a beautiful dream composed of heavenly bliss.

He chucked his last cigarette and the smoke curled in the air. Last night, the dream dawned upon Omi that all is not lost. Perhaps, it’s a sign of the extraordinary times that will unfurl. The depression that he fought with and how he wanted his life to get back to normal. It wasn’t helping him. He was hanging with a tiny thread of hope. Omi lay in the hospital and the last pinch of blood was sucked from his body. He fainted. It’s all Maya, he told himself. She is the illusion that life is made of. He passed out.

The angel unfurled in front of him. His Maya is near perfect, svelte and bore no human flaw. Omi would breathe his last in peace. On his bedside, the shiny iPhone was decked under the white pillow and he held it with his finger. The tall nurse walked past him and gently place his head on the right position on the pillow and winked at him. She was his Maya. Omi made an effort and fumbled with his hand to click her picture. I can now die in peace, he reasoned with his illogical, stubborn and obsessed mind. He sold his kidney for the super expensive iPhone to capture her gaze. It was his biggest illusion, only if what love can do to faint hearted like Omi. He passed away into heavenly bliss during the night.




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Fiction: The devil casting its shadow

It poured heavily that night. Thunderstorm rocked the city like a time bomb. The crowded streets felt like a desert and everyone flocked to the confines of their four walls. The whole country watched in horror as the news unfurled live on the idiot box. The politician who indulges in rhetoric about patriotism has been nabbed to be in cahoots with terrorists and was conspiring for a terror attack to struck the country. The people were in a state of shocked and yelled betrayal in front of their TV set. It feels like the hand of the devil casting its shadow on the life of the average commoners.

After all, such kind of traitors always take the people and their followers for a ride, fooling them by using emotional gimmick while they ride on crores of gold. The country is slowly recovering from demonetization and the sudden death of a revered iconic woman politician in the south when it was struck with another sharp blow on the face.

The bomb has been diffused. The Indian army, NCG commanders, and the entire police force have barricaded the sea and port declaring curfew till the politician is not arrested. Helicopters are hovering below the sky and above the tall buildings in the city to ensure that no mayhem happen till this terrorist is not dragged out and handcuffed, to a secret location. The TV crew and journalists are having a field day, stationed in front of the sprawling bungalow of the neta-turned-villain airing live update. The entire country is on tenterhooks. It is the day when the commoners are winning against celebrities with shows like Big Boss and Kaun Banega Crorepati registering abysmally low TRP not exceeding two points. It’s judgment Day.


Cigarettes were stubbed in the ashtray inside the studio apartment. The wooden door was wide open that gave an aerial view of the city from the balcony. The television channels were flipped to get the latest news and, in particular, some bizarre news that would rage and boil inside his crazy mind. He confined himself inside his studio, not daring to move his feet past the door. After all, he was engulfed in fear.

The power of imagination halted after being a self-made prisoner for 360 days of writing his novel. Politician arrested for terror act, rain, thunder, and fall in TRP…the thread was missing. The author banged his head on the table with pen in hand after writing 359 pages for he couldn’t arrive at a breath-taking climax. After all, what will happen when the cop arrest the politician involved in terrorism! He suddenly went blank.

Loud fists were heard on his door and he turned around to see cops waiting for him. They thrust him with force on the floor and handcuffed his hands. The CBI officer winked, “Game over, son. You planted a false video in the house of the Minister and played a smart game to convince us that he is a terrorist.  We found out everything and how you’ve brought the whole country down, in chasing this man, barricade his house and bringing the city down.” The officer ordered to his junior, “Take his whole manuscript. After all, he will write the climax in jail.”