Thursday, 9 March 2023

Beware of Entanglement- Either this way or that way!

Something you don't like

something you don't want

someone you don't care for

some idea, ideology, that repulses you. 

All these are best handled

by not engaging with them

not thinking, reading or talking about them 

Even if you are thinking, negatively

of what you don't want

they're still the focus of your mind!  

Just keep away, ignore 

and not get entangled with

what you don't want 

entanglement, this way or the other way 

equals hobnobing with what you don't want 

and engaging with them in your thoughts

For keeping the spirits up

for peace of mind 

keep away from the unwanted

beware of entanglements!  

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Cinema over the Years

25th day of #Blogchatter daily write challenge 

It happened to Hollywood. The movie industry enjoyed prestige and mass appeal during the golden era (Late 1920s to early 1960s) when production was controlled by reputed studios like MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. During this period the movies had great story telling ably supported by bankable stars like Cary Grant, James Stewart, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Grace Kelley, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Heburn and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few. The period saw stories based on solid screen play to which the viewers could relate to . From such an enviable position, the industry later moved away to big projects with the focus being on technology led, spectacular spectacles with an overdose of violence and sex. 

Sadly, Hindi cinema followed in its footsteps and in turn regional cinema, seems to have aped Hindi cinema. Although formula ridden commercial cinema existed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, they were still rooted to the Indian context, to which the cine goers could relate. The heroines still had important parts in the movies of that period, executed with elan by talented artists like Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rehman, Nargis and Vyjayanthimala. Cut to the present times and you have heroines in Hindi movies whose presence is merely ornamental .Their role is often limited to appearing in two or three provocative dance or duet sequences 

As against this sad state of affairs today, during the golden era, even the heroines who mostly did commercial films had a few iconic roles which they could be proud of - Like, Sharmila Tagore in "Aradhana", Mumtaz in "Khilona" or Hema Malini in "Seetha aur Geetha",  movies in which they essayed the central character. Mindless violence, excessive show of skin and extravagant use of technology mark today's films. An insider was heard remarking that the scripts of Hindi films today are written in English as many actors do not know how to read Hindi properly. In fact, many come to know of the lines to be rendered, only at the time of prompting during the shoot.   

It is necessary to have life experiences in order to effectively portray the dynamics of various characters. Unlike their parents who had seen poverty and hardships at close quarters before they made it big, the star sons have no exposure to life other than their privileged environment. No wonder, there are unable to get under the skin of the characters and deliver lines with the appropriate feeling like the stars of yesteryear.

A person without acting skills can aspire to be a hero in Hindi movies if good in dancing, able to do fight sequences and looks good in romantic song scenes. However, of late the same trash repeated film after film under the stewardship of unimaginative directors have resulted in steady decline in the viewership, even rejection of mainstream Hindi films by viewers. Only a few actors who have chosen to be different from the prevailing trend like Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurana, Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar are able to retain viewer's interest in their work. 

Most of the regional cinema have also gone the 'Hindi cinema' way, focusing on large, expensive productions, banking on the super stars and explosive action (heavy doze of violence and bloodshed). Malayalam and Marathi cinema, however, have come out with films outside the typical commercial formula of the day. These films are increasingly gaining the interest of international audiences and viewers from  states other than their own  who are watching them on the OTT platform. 

If Indian cinema is to regain its past glory, 'content' should once again be king. Actual production of cinema should return to the hands of 'Real producers' and directors who are totally involved in the process and all aspects of decision making at each stage - Producers like B.R. Chopra, Rajkapoor, Tarachand Barjatya, J. Om Prakash in Hindi or like S.S.Vasan and AVMeyyappa Chettiar in the south. 

The actors, no matter what their market value, should not be allowed to call the shorts but asked to restrict themselves to the roles assigned. Today the 'Super star' decides the director, co-artists, music director, technicians etal. Although, this method appeared for some time to work effectively, the industry has realized the hard way that handing over total power to these so called 'super stars' has in fact cut at the very roots of the well- being of the film industry. 

The corporates who have entered the fray in a big way have proved that they are ill equipped to handle matters of creativity. The lie to their erroneous belief that merely signing a saleable hero, heroine and spending a lot of money on technology and exotic locales hits the jackpot, stand exposed. The industry is finding out the hard way that the primary step in film making, is to have a good story and script that is capable of engaging the viewers. You simply can't put the cart before the horse! You do so at your own peril.

Friday, 24 February 2023


End of daylight, end of another day 

the birds back in their nests

the dusk has quietly set in... 

yet in cities, the night is still young 

artificial  lights keep the activities going 

delaying rest, sleeping time, for many...

Another day has come to an end

it's time to introspect, take stock,

were opportunities used  by you today?

or was it a day of missed opportunities ? 

did you make money or make new friends today? 

Did you go through the day auto pilot?

reacting to things spontaneously, giving in

to anger, annoyance, irritation without thinking? 

or did you respond to situations deliberately,

fully aware of  what you were doing? 

Ah, time has come to retire for the day 

time to remember all good things from the day

to lump, all the negative events  

and throw them out of mind, before sleep 

Then, tomorrow appears as a new day 

with no hangovers or carry overs

a fresh one, offering new hopes and  possibilities 

Nightfall has its place, providing a closure

and enabling fresh beginning, confidence 

to meet the challenges of another day! 

NB:  This poem was composed on a prompt  for the Seniors Today poetry meet , I recited it online on 24th February 2023 

Thursday, 23 February 2023

The Future of Marriage

23rd day of #Blogchatter daily write challenge  

The other day I was chatting with an  octogenarian doctor who had briefly served for a few years in the UK and finally settled in Bangalore. However, his daughter and son in law are doctors practising in UK and therefore, the doctor and his wife shuttle between England and Bangalore. The topic of our discussion was marriage. According to him, the children of many of his friends settled in the UK, be it a son or a daughter did not wish to get married. Some of these 'children' are in their forties and remain unmarried.

The prospect of a marriage is not appealing to them. They are concerned about losing their independence, particularly women who presently enjoy financial and social freedom. The discussion thus far, reminded me of a poem I myself had written on 20th March 2015 titled " Crumbling Institution"( Link). The doctor was wondering aloud as to whether this is happening in UK because of the cultural differences that the next generation immigrants had to confront, making them apprehensive  and fearful of marriages. 

I told the doctor that the situation is not very different in respect of the educated, financially stable, eligible bachelors living in the urban areas/ big cities in India as well. There is a general reluctance to embrace the uncertainties associated with marriage. Being educated and financially independent, women do not feel the need to say 'yes' to these uncertainties. In big cities, in the modern times, biological needs can be satisfied even without getting married. Therefore, the motto seems to be "Don't get married; at least postpone it to as late a date as possible. Even if you marry, avoid the burden of motherhood which not only involves labour pains but also puts spokes to your promising career." 

Some time back, I was watching a talk show titled "Neeya Naana" on Tamil Vijay TV where girls debated for and against marriage or rather stiff conditions that must be ensured before a marriage can happen. Some of the participants who were well educated and in good jobs felt that there is no need to 'hurry' into a marriage. If not anything, the groom should be well educated with a professional degree and be earning more than the bride. He should also be owning an apartment before venturing out to marry. Girls are no longer willing to marry boys older than themselves; it must be the same age or at most couple of years older. The priorities have changed over a period of time.

The fight for equality has taken forms of confrontation. So much so, it leads to arguments like "I did the dishes on Tuesday. There is no way I will do it on a Wednesday! After all, we have the days clearly defined and demarcated." Couples are more worried about marking and defending their territory rather than engaging in developing a platform of mutual love and respect. If the problem of sharp differences was believed to be more in western countries, it is increasingly seen in countries like India that have been looking to the west for guidance on what is 'modern' and 'up to date'. It is reported that men from the US are increasingly going in search of brides to Asian countries like the Philippines in order to wed wives who are less aggressive and more 'family oriented'. 

Will the institution of 'Marriage' survive and reinvigorate or crumble and fade away in the years to come? Is it a bane, that is best done without, given situations like 'Dowry deaths' that frequently happen in our country? To my mind, the institution can revive and thrive not in a scenario of confrontation but when both partners begin appreciating the needs and motivations of each other. Women do not become equal or powerful by becoming more "masculine" but by bringing their own unique feminine nature to the table. After all, John Gray had called his book "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus". 

Coming back to the question in the first line of the previous para. It all depends on the players in the drama. Time alone can tell...   

Monday, 20 February 2023

Act Now Before it's Too Late

20 th day of #Blogchatter daily write challenge  

Dr Mathew, the Chief  Trainer  of  a  Manager Development institute based out of Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam District, Kerala, has facilitated a few training programs for BEML during 1998-2000.  One of his flagship programs was for employees who were due for retirement in the next five years. The program sought to acknowledge their long service to the company and also give them inputs on psychological, physical, social and financial matters to enable them to handle the post retirement phase effectively. The programs were well received and appreciated by the participants.

At that time as Head of the Department of Training and Development, I used to sit in on major programs to see the impact of the programs and also get inspired myself from the content of some ace trainers. An absorbing, yet very touching story Dr Mathew used to relate was of his mother as she lay in the coffin after death. His father, a person not known to outwardly demonstrate his love or tender side, suddenly burst out crying " Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth you have been a wonderful wife and mother! You sacrificed so much for us whole through your life. Yet, I couldn't tell you even once how much you meant to me, to all of us!" He kept weeping repeating similar lines. 

Mathew then looked at the participants and said "Don't wait till the death of people. Tell them you care, when they are alive." It is very sound advice. Yet most of us find it, difficult to follow. For one thing, we tend to believe that our deaths or that of our dear ones will not happen in the near future. Further, In India, culturally we tend to take things for granted and are reluctant to openly acknowledge the good deeds and gestures of near and dear ones . While going through the ups and downs of life, one tends to look at the faults of others rather than their plus points and it is only in their absence that the good things about them and how much we miss them  hits us in the face. 

As I pondered over the subject of discussion, it struck me that it is not just about appreciating/acknowledging a dear one but spending sufficient time with the people you care for or look up to is equally important. We tend to postpone things to a later date and then it can be too late. Some things of course happen unexpectedly and are beyond our control. As for example V. Bimal my colleague in Hyundai Motor India Ltd worked in sales. He was very effective in his work and was instrumental in creating some high levels of customer delight which I have recorded in an earlier blog. (Can Read here ) It is also included in my book " Straight from the Heart- Thoughts and Experiences of an HR Professional". 

Apart from being great as an executive in his chosen field, Bimal had a special place in my heart also for the kindness and regards he extended when I was serving in Chennai. As I was living alone, (my family stayed back in Bangalore) Bimal invited me to his house for dinner and I had met his wife and school going daughter two to three times. Whenever he went abroad on personal or official trip, he would invariably bring for me a little memento as a remembrance of the occasion. 

When I retired and left Chennai for Bangalore,  I invited Bimal and his family to come and visit us in Bangalore. Destiny did not allow this to happen though. It was with deep shock that I came to learn of his demise due to covid complications in June 2021. As a person a lot younger than me, the last thing one would have expected is for him to leave us so early. A friendly, ever helpful personality Bimal is missed a lot by many friends and family. His friends circle was far and wide. Condolences had poured in from Bulgaria where he had done his engineering.   

Mr Brahmadathan, retired chief engineer, Kerala State Electricity Board had made a mark not only in his profession but in a number of other areas like sports, yoga and education. He represented his electricity board in the National Badminton championships of the electricity boards. He was instrumental in starting free yoga coaching centres in Thrissur to encourage and develop the practice of of yoga in his city. 

He was the Founder Executive Director of Vidya Academy of Science and Technology, Thrissur which has today grown in to a big, reputed institution in the state. The impact he has made on society can be seen by the fact that even after 12 years since his crossing over, every year on 17th September, Brahma Smriti is observed by the Vidya Academy remembering K.R. Brahmadathan as the philosopher and guiding light that made all this possible. (Can read here )

Mr Brahmadathan also took the initiative to develop a township in Poomala, Thrissur district with the concept of independent houses owned by senior citizens with all back up facilities so that they can stay there with the like minded, in camaraderie and peace of mind. They could visit children and stay with them for short periods and return when they wished to do so. He was also a lot into spirituality which stood him in good stead during the trials and tribulations of life. I was fortunate to have access to the noble soul (married to his wife's  elder sister's daughter) and enjoyed discussions with him on spirituality and yoga. 

Whenever, we visited his house for a couple of days, he would invite me to his yoga center to practice yoga. I would decline saying I would take leave, come for a week or two and learn it properly. However, this never happened as the matter kept getting postponed during my hectic corporate tenure. Before, we knew it, he had left for his heavenly abode. One thing I will always regret is not having spent more time in discussions and interactions with this multifaceted, inspiring personality.    

So, there you have it readers, the message is loud and clear. Do take the initiative in respect of those important people in your life and "Act now, before it's too late..."     

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Challenges of the Elderly


16 th day of #Blogchatter daily write challenge  

At a time when everyone is in a rush 

not enough time to eat, even sleep properly

to converse leisurely with family or friends 

where does it leave the elderly?   

No one wants to listen to grandma's storytelling, anymore

or to grandpa's rant, about his exploits in the past 

in the army, at work or in his old social circles

the youngster's expression conveys "When will the bore stop?" 

Already removed from the 'family' in feature films 

of Indian cinema, be it Hindi or regional cinema

the grandmas and grandpas have no place 

perhaps because in 'real life' they no longer 

have much interaction with younger generation

Focus being solely on the hero, shero - the ones 

carrying film on their shoulders! 

Longevity and loneliness, big challenges for elderly

a time when immunity is low and illness walks in easily 

a time when lethargy, complacency has set in....

Only way out for the elderly, is to take responsibility 

for own health and wellbeing- find time for exercise

have restraints on food, beat lonliness by activity 

engaging in what you love, interacting with the like minded 

and stop wallowing in self pity! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Perils of a Short Fuse

15 th day of #Blogchatter daily write challenge  

We all know that anger is better eschewed and it can put us to a lot of trouble if not kept in check. However, in the times we are presently living in, it is all the more important to be cool and calm as more and more people are getting stressed up and the number of persons with a short fuse is rising rapidly.Take for example, the instances of road rage.There is a lot more impatience all around and  a tendency "to teach the other guy a lesson". We find eventually that in the process of teaching him/her a lesson, the balance in our own lives could go for a toss. 

We have seen the case of Navjoth Singh Sidhu, an accomplished cricketeer who could not contain his road rage during an incident on 27th December 1988 at his home town, Patiala.  A 65 year old Gurnam Singh had asked  Sidhu to  move his parked car and give way to him, Sidhu along with his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu had heated arguments with the senior citizen. It ended with Sidhu beating up Singh and fleeing from the scene. Gurnam Singh  was declared as "Brought dead" when he was taken to hospital. It is after years of legal battle and the accompanying mental stress that Sidhu has been finally handed over a sentence of one year imprisonment. 

There are cases of honour killings which stems from anger over a family member's decision to marry in line with her/his own will and against the wishes of the family. A spurned lover 's anger provokes him to kill or throw acid on the girl. It was again, anger that prompted retired 55 year old Lt Colonel Ramraj to shoot dead a 13 year old boy, Dickson on 3rd July 2011 in Chennai. The boys living nearby, had the habit of entering the army officers' quarters enclave to pluck fruits in spite of warning. The officer was sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Supreme court reduced the punishment to 10 years imprisonment and Rs 2 Lakh fine which was to be handed over to the boy's parents as compensation. 

Supreme court observed " There was no calculated intention or premeditation on his part to commit the murder of the deceased". It was a case of losing self control over a sudden provocation by the children. A former domestic help of the officer testified that " Ramraj was short tempered and had chased the boys in the past." It is clear that short fuse is the cause of many hardships for everyone involved. 

In the light of what we have discussed, I would like to go back to the first para of this post to reiterate that being calm and cool is the need of the hour. A few years back, I had got down at the Bangalore city railway station, early in the morning at around 6 AM. When I got into the auto, I noticed that the driver looked like a teenager. I was wondering whether he was old enough and whether he had a licence. These fears multiplied when he started driving.

 He was very rash as he drove speedily jumping red signals. I told him not to do it but he ignored me. When he drove past the red signal for the third time, I tapped him on the shoulder and said "Easy brother, drive slowly following the rules." The boy turned back swiftly. From the ferocious expression on his face, it seemed he would hit me. He said "Hey, I know what is to be done. It is my auto and I know how to drive it without getting in to trouble. Just shut up." 

He had not even given allowance for my age or to the fact that I was a customer.  I immediately told myself that it was a mistake to tap him on his shoulder. For all you know, he could be a drug addict and what he may have consumed the previous night may still be working on him. That brings us to the understanding that not only should we not have a short fuse but also be very careful dealing with those who do!