Friday, June 22, 2012

The Great Indian Alliance

The most important or rather most talked about topic in our country after cricket, is Marriage. And there comes a juncture in life when its importance supersedes that of cricket. Being standing at this crossroads, I would like to put here my perspective towards marriages in our country. It is said marriages are made in heaven. But after seeing the recent commercials on heavenly apps for one of the mobile operators on television, I seriously doubt its credibility. And in case it is still made in heaven, it has to go though some stringent quality checks before it is acceptable for general use.
In our country once the boy or girl attains marriageable age, which is not a fixed number; parents get anxious to get their children married off to the most suitable bride or groom available on the planet. Usually the process starts off with fixing the criterias for the partner. Its begins with the looks, complexion, education, profession, age and goes upto family background, number of siblings and their education, profession etc. etc. The list sometimes gets endless when number of people giving their opinion are plenty. Though fully aware of the fact that there is no living species on earth which can satisfy all the above mentioned criterias, the search for the unknown goes on for a while. Now when the sense prevails and search for the God particle bears no fruit, the list of criterias get compromised a bit. With each passing year of the search, the degree of compromise gets stronger and stronger.
A major aspect of marriages in India is the caste and religion. As per the ground rule, a boy and a girl can't get married unless both of them belong to the same religion and caste. But once a suitable match is found after crossing these initial hurdles, there comes into picture the all-powerful source of match known as the horoscope. It acts as the Oracle which foresees the future of the alliance in all possible aspects. The major input to this prophecy is usually the date and time of your birth. Now the question that arises here is, does it really take into account the factors which fixed the day or time of birth. It may so happen that the doctor was having a bad day and he turned for the surgery 15 minutes late from the pre-scheduled time. Or it may be the case that the nurse forgot to wear her watch in a hurry and asked for the time to the attendant whose watch is set to a different time zone. These are just few possibilities whose probabilities have not been seriously looked into. And the consequences being, your ideal partner for life changes with each position of the second hand of the clock. So it leaves us with an astronomical figure of 3600 distinct matches per hour. But the irony is that our country doesn't have a sex ratio to match up to this statistics.
Now the most important aspect of marriages in India is the choice between love and arranged marriage. Though love marriages are increasingly getting accepted in the society, arranged marriages still holds the fort. But it’s basically two sides of the same coin. While one of them is about arranging the love, the other one is about loving the arrangement. So when they say marriages are made in heaven, the arrangement has to be done down on the earth. Coming to the first option, arranging the love is not everyone's cup of tea. It requires considerable investment of time, money and emotions. And in case you end of successfully investing in all of these, it doesn't necessarily end up in a marriage. What starts with the boy loving the girl or vice versa, has to end up in their families loving each other. The situation gets more chaotic when the two people differ in their caste, religion or region. All the praises about national integration goes for a toss when it comes to marriage. The whole country support and cheer for the batsman who hits a last ball boundary to win the match for India, even if he belongs to a different religion, caste or region. But when it comes to finding an alliance for their children, it has to be from their backyard.
The second option which is about loving the arrangement is a bit straight-forward compared to the first one. Here the arrangements are done in the beginning taking into account all the criterias mentioned previously. The love plays the second fiddle. After all the necessary negotiations, partners are given the choice to give their opinion about the arrangements. And if you are not so lucky, you don't even get the privilege of availing that option after a few unsuccessful attempts. This option has a higher probability of ending up in a marriage and the investment on time, money and emotions follows afterwards. Unlike the first option, where the partners previously know each other, in this case they have to start from being complete strangers to becoming partners for life.
Let’s end this topic by sharing my own take on this sensitive matter. There can be instances where both these arrangements can coexist. But the probability of such a scenario can be equated to the probability of Sachin Tendulkar retiring from cricket before the next World Cup. But whatever might be the arrangement, it is irrelevant as long as the person discovers a friend in his/her partner. With the start of the new innings in life, there comes a whole set of challenges, and the success in tackling those depends on the strength of the partnership. As it is said, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”, it requires some intergalactic force to find a suitable match in a lifetime. So those of you who have found their friend for life, you should be thanking your stars. And for me, the search still continues…

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Diary Of a Moviefreak

After giving it a thought for some time, I realized that I will not be doing justice to my blog if I don't write something about Movies, my second love. It's a different thing that I am yet to find my first love. And being the self-declared freak, I had to write it out of compulsion from some of my not-so-freak friends. But hold on, I will not be writing here about the history of cinemas or some run-of-the-mill movie reviews. There are a lot more people sitting out there for the same job and some of them in fact get paid for it. But instead I thought of sharing some of the aspects from my past and present experiences related to movies.
My earliest remembrance of the movies dates back to the time of video cassettes when the compact discs had not seen the light of the day. The sight of the VCR with black colored cassettes in my father's hand on a Saturday afternoon used to bring in a sense of joy which is very hard to replicate. The movies used to be a mix of my regional and Hindi language. And the icing on the cake would be the horror flick from Ramsay Brothers which would be kept at the end to be played after dinner. I can still visualize myself sitting literally at the edge of my father’s seat anticipating the ghost to come out of the VCR. Perhaps this was the thought process which went on to be made as the Ring Series of movies. The first movie I saw at the theatres sans my family members was after I entered into my college. Soon after, there was no looking back and the passion grew stronger and stronger.
The movie audience in India can be broadly divided onto three categories. The first lots are those who absolutely love movies and don't want to miss out on any. They follow their instinct for choosing a movie to be watched at the theatre or not. The second category consists of people who think twice before watching a movie at the theatre. They usually go by the reviews in newspaper, internet as well as from the people in the first category before arriving at a decision. Their probability of watching a movie at the theatre can be deduced from a complex polynomial equation with a lot of variables. Now we are left with the third category of people who actually never give a damn about movies. They are least concerned about the abs of the heroes or the hot bods of the heroines. But being related to the first two groups in some way or the other compels them to experience the reel life once in a while. 
Movies on their part have undergone a sea of transformation in the last two decades. But given a choice I would put them into three different genres. The first ones are those which are best enjoyed with friends. There is no dearth of such movies nowadays. The second are the ones which are best enjoyed with someone special beside you. Such movies from the house of Johars and Yash Raj banners create a sense of urge to experience the reel life in real life, being fully aware of the fact that, it would never be the same. The last category are the ones which you can enjoy with your family. This variety has become a rare species during recent times. The probability of such a movie at the theatre can be equated to the probability of Advani being the Prime Minister of India. But any attempts to mix or switch between genres can lead to irrecoverable damages. It can leave such bad taste which is very difficult to wipe out from the memory.
Another aspect of the story is the movie viewing experience in the Multiplexes which are spreading like mushrooms in every nook and corner of the town. Compared to the single screen theatres, the multiplexes leave the movie-going audience spoilt for choice. But the irony being sometimes none of the choices is worth going for. Still the movie freaks manage to find their way into one of the screens. Now inside the theatre the seats are symmetrically arranged like a matrix with numbered rows and columns. But the people still fail to solve the regular matrix and end up in a different row. The situation gets more chaotic when the mistake is realized after the movie has started. But the tragedy doesn't end up there. Once into their designated seats, the mathematics of settling into the final positions goes for a toss when the person next to you is of opposite sex. Here comes into action the theory of permutations and combinations with the prime condition that two persons of opposite sex can sit together to watch a movie, provided that they are related in some biological way. Now I will not be going into the deeper chemistry of this and leave it for you to decipher.
Once everybody settles down and the light slowly fades away, the next sequence of events is fully governed by the turn of events on the movie screen. In case the plot is interesting, the people stay glued to their seats with some occasional cheers and claps. But if the movie fails to tickle their bones, the smartphones and BBMs come to the rescue. The events on the giant screen get superseded by the ones on the mobile screen. The half-time reviews, the current GPS location, the identity of the companion sitting next etc. etc. gets flashed across all social networking sites. And in case some freak happen to read and comment on the post in real time, the chain of conversation goes on till the end of the on-screen events. And if the situation gets quite unbearable, some of them take the bold step to walk out of the exit door. They keep on cursing the movie and the amount of time and money on it till they end up at the theatre for a fresh movie in the very next week.
Now to sum it up, the movies have been a part and parcel of my life in some way or the other. It has become such an integral part that I manage to relate any real life situation to some movie dialogue or song sequence. Perhaps that’s what it takes to qualify as a freak. The urge has become so strong that a week without movies seems like a void. Missing a movie at the theatre feels like missing a train at the station. Now this is what I meant about relating reel life to the real life. Though some people find it as an amazing talent, it has become quite natural to me.  It’s like you can take me out of the movies, but not the movies out of me. Ok it seems like I should stop here before it gets too filmy. Hope to see you all at the Movies....