Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Howrah Bridge

I am a big fan of old Hindi movies. I think they are classy, have better songs and also because some of them show the old city of Bombay.

So today I got the DVD of Howrah Bridge. This is a story of a young guy who comes to Calcutta first in search of his brother and then his murderers. In the flow of the story, he falls for a dancer in a local hotel/club. So this story has romance, suspense, mystery, crime, foot tapping songs and dance numbers. The whole nine yards.

This movie was made in 1958. That makes it 50 years old. But still, the plot is quite refreshing, the stunts and filming is quite good. And acting is surely above par today's Hindi movies.

Ashok Kumar is young Prem Kumar alias Rakesh. Madhubala, arguably the most beautiful woman in Indian film history is young and sensational Edna. Madhubala has a class and a divine smile. When the air flirts with her hair or when she speaks in broken hindi and english, you are amazed by her looks and her innocence at the same time. Her song "Aaiye Meherbaan" is sensual and elegant. It is quite interesting to see the different phases of love between her and Rakesh; indifference, attraction, affection, liking, suspicion, argument, trust and commitment.

Helen, the dance queen of Hindi cinema comes in the all time hit "Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu" or "My name is Chin Chin Chu". This song must have played a big role in making the movie a great hit.

Then there are the bad guys and among them Madan Puri does a good job as Mr. Chang. Of course, you also have the great KN a.k.a. Khal Nayak (villain) Singh as Mr. Pyarelal. I will not tell the entire story. But rest assured, that this movie will entertain you for good two hours and more.

If you want to watch some of the songs, they are available on YouTube.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

A party, lots of fun and some guitar

This Saturday I had been to the housewarming party of my friend Sid and his wife Datta. Sid was also my roommate during my M.S. They recently moved to Gaithersburg and invited me and other friends to celebrate their new residence.

I enjoy socializing and going to parties. It gives you a good excuse to skip away from the routine weekend chores and forget some serious work and have plain, simple fun with your friends. Of course, I do not forget nice wine and good food, in that order :).

So there were Sangeeta and Giri, our friends from University of Maryland and always a fun couple to listen to. Giri's and Sangeeta's stories make any party a delightful get together. My good friend Arindam added some spice to the conversation with his wits and funny anecdotes and experiences. I also met Som, Shraddha and Chirag.

The food was delicious and kudos to Datta for that. We had some roasted paneer and veggies on skewers. Then there were dahi-wadas. I had Undhiyo for the first time yesterday. All the arrangement was just too good and classy. To add to this Sid also had some nice Sutter Home and Cavit wines. My most favourite part was the strawberry top ice-cream.

After the dinner we settled down. I had promised Sid that I will play guitar at the party. Although I have been learning guitar since last two years, this was my first experience to play in front of some audience. I had practised the songs and arranged them in a sequence. But I was pretty nervous and partly because I had forgotten to take my music sheet stand. So I used the books as a music stand. The good part was that folks identified the songs I played. I was particularly happy because I could play my favourite song "Mere Rang Mein" from the Hindi film, "Maine Pyaar Kiya". After so many years, finally I was playing the song I had always liked. Some things are indeed priceless.

Soon it was time to bid adieu to our hosts for their wonderful hospitality. So we began to disperse as the midnight was entering, with promises to keep in touch for more such joyous occasions.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

I have always wished to be a global citizen. I like to visit places, know different cultures, try cuisines from different continents. So when a colleague of mine, JianRao Wang invited me to the Chinese New Year party, I was quite excited about it.

This year is the year of pig. And Chinese calendar is lunar, like in India. So the new year day will fall on different dates in the Gregorian or English calendar each year.

The weather was not very friendly and it was snowing while I was walking to our hosts' place. But the incentive of eating good food and learning new things overcame the brazen weather. I reached the place at about 4 PM. I was the last one to arrive. Other folks, including my colleagues Mausam and Bancha were already there. Everyone was busy making 'dumplings'. I also joined the gang and got a hands on experience in rolling the dough and making small circles of it. The important part was to make circular shape without letting the 'skin' stick to your roller pin. I learnt that you need to apply some flour to the 'skin' to avoid the sticking. After that, you put the dumpling mixture on the center of the circular 'skin'. It is quite interesting to use chopsticks to put the mixture on it and adjusting. JianRao and her husband Chao explained to me the process. Their friend Chen taught me how to close the dumpling in simple steps. He was a good tutor and soon I was making dumplings. Agreed, they were not state of the art. But hey, this was my first time and I think I made some good progress. Chen told me that you should close the dumplings so that water will not go inside when they are boiled.

Soon the food was ready and we were at the nicely arranged dinner table chatting with our new friends. Apart from dumplings we also had spring rolls, chicken, salad and fruits. The delicious food was accompanied by lively and jolly conversation. I also met other friends of our hosts, Ying, Xiaoning and Shaojie.

Chao works as a post doctorate scientist in University of Maryland in Chemical Engineering department. I also studied in University of Maryland. Chen used to work in Infosys in China. Yeah, it is the same dear old 'Infy' from Bangalore. Isn't this is a really small world?

Desserts followed dinner. I also tried to play a little bit of Chinese card game, Mahjong. I was not able to understand much. But JianRao and Chao were kind to explain how it is played. So after some observation I think that it is similar to the card game Rummy, but much more complex than that. Another thing, the pieces or tiles used in the game showed fine Chinese craftsmanship. I was very impressed by the detailed design of the game pieces.

Soon it was time to say good bye or "Zài jiàn" and take leave of our hosts. We wished everyone a very happy new year and left for our homes. The new year has started. May it bring everyone luck and happiness.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

मिळेल तुला व्हॅलेंटाईन

मिळेल तुला व्हॅलेंटाईन

वेळ काळ स्थळाने कधी थांबवले मनाला
व्हॅलेंटाईनसाठी पापण्यांमध्ये पकड एका क्षणाला

अभ्यासात लक्ष देऊनसुदधा प्रेम करता येते
परीक्षेत पहिले येऊनसुदधा मन गुंतत जाते
मन हेच व्हेरीएबल समिकरणांमध्ये, सुत्रांमध्ये
अव्यक्त भाषेतील अस्पष्ट इतिहासामध्ये

तीने रुबाब दाखवला म्हणून खट्टु थोडंच व्हायचं?
अरे एक फुल कोमेजंल तर, दुसरं अाणून द्यायचं
वर्षभर वाट पाहून काय मुहुर्त शोधणार का?
अरे तू झोपून राहिलास, म्हणून सुर्य नाही उगवणार का?

प्रेमाच्या भाषेत व्याकरण नेहमीपेक्षा वेगळं असतं
'ईश्श' काय अाणि 'इलू' काय, हे प्रकरणंच अागळं असतं
पत्र कसलं लिहितोस लेका? मोबाईल नाही वापरत?
रिंगटोनवरून ह्रदयाची धडधड तिला नाही सांगत?

मित्रांना काय सांगतोस, बावळटपणा करू नकोस
प्रेम तु करतोयस ना? , मग त्यांचं मत विचारू नकोस
अरे प्रेमच सगळ्यात फेअर असतं, प्रेमच सगळ्यात फाईन
थोडा कमी रडलास तर मिळेल तुझी व्हॅलेंटाईन

अामीर अाणि जुही सारखं फक्त पिक्चर मध्येच होतं
'पारो नाहीतर चंद्रमुखी' हे प्रेमात थोडंच चालतं?
द्राक्षांपासून वाईन बनायला लागतो थोडा वेळ
खरं प्रेम असेल तर धैर्य धर, हा नाही भातुकलिचा खेळ

बाप्पाला साकडं घालून हा प्रश्न सुटणार कसा?
शिवधनुष्य उचललंच नाहीस, तर तु बाण चालवणार कसा?
हिंमत कर, अाणि विचार एकदा तिला
फार तर फार नाही म्हणेल, कसला शिकवा आणि कसला गीला?

खरं प्रेम शोधायचं असतं, काट्याकुट्यांतून वादळवाटांतून
चालायचं असतं अापल्याच मनाच्या विखुरलेल्या तुकड्यांवरून
येईल बघ ती तुला बघून, सगळी दुनिया टाकून मागे
व्हाल व्हॅलेंटाईन एकमेकांचे, अायुष्याभरासाठी तुम्ही दोघे!

--- सुमोद
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