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Makar Sankrant Special: Wish The Kite Had Strong Wings

"Noni, noni, where are you?"

The voice gushed through the corridor but fell deaf on her ears. She sat on the parapet of the roof, watching the colorful kites in the sky. It is the Makar Sakrant, the popular winter solstice in India. The festival marked the sun's transit into Capricorn. It is a very popular festival in India and people from different religion celebrate it. The festival signifies the joy of togetherness peace and joyfulness, despite the uniqueness and differences between them. 

She threw a glance around and saw many happy faces. Children, youngsters, couples, and families were decked up in new clothes, sharing the joy, the laughter and celebrating the festival. The sky was full of colorful and creative kites. She watched them closely. A distinct red kite held her attention. It was a beautiful red striped kite with yellow polka dots, flying strong from quite sometime. She observed closely, it was manned from one of the neighborhood roofs. She followed the kite's line of sight and saw a little girl holding the roller and a middle-aged man helping her to fly the kite. She was wearing a cute white frock and screaming in her feeble voice "Mama-mama" with joy and excitement. She reminded her of her own childhood as to how she with her eldest mama [uncle- mother's brother] used to fly kite on their huge roof. 

Her eyes were soon filled with nostalgia. She went back thinking about her childhood and all the memories associated with the kite flying, festivals in general, and all that togetherness that was attached to it. 

Like kites, her memories started soaring in the sky. She reminsced from one event to another. her heart was filled with nostalgia and it progressed from past to present. sweet, salty and bitter. As she touched her present, she felt a gush of nausea and a lump at her throat. It was like she was holding a kite but harsh winds took better of her. She could see the kite flying down to the floor.

She opened her eyes and found her all alone. The sunset and it was dark. It is one of the darkest night of the year, she thought. She spent hours on the roof, all alone, lost in her nostalgia. She threw a glance around and saw a lovely couple lighting a festive potpourri in their man-made roof pond. They looked at each other and smiled lovingly. 

She looked at her watch and wondered if it is late and she must leave. She had no one waiting for her and hence she was in hurry nor any contemplation. She gathered herself, wiped a tear and walked down the floor. She could no longer hear the fervent calls for Noni. It seems they found her.

The calls for "Noni" at the corridor were stopped. As she was walked, she saw the little Noni hiding under a bed, holding her dog too close. She looked at her and said- "Shhh do not tell them that I am here. They want to take my dog away but I do not want to part ways with him. Will you please?".

She could not help but smile at the innocence of the little Noni and said- "No, I won't, never let anyone let your pup take away" and walked away.

Its Makar Sakrant and she saw some beautiful splendid kites. Deeply attached to their thread, threatening to slit the fingers that may try to pull it apart. Wish if only her kite had strong wings. 


Image Courtesy: decathlon UK

 ‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Film Review: Mukkabaz Packs a Good Punch

I missed watching the movie Mukkabaz during the ongoing MAMI Film Festival. So when I was called to attend the special pre-release screening, I could not say no to watch a film based on boxing, based in the UP hinterland.

Let tell you that the movie is better than the theatrical trailer and if you are someone who enjoys good cinema, do check out this movie and add it to your list of "next movie to watch". Because Mukkabaaz is as good as it gets, from the able shoulders of Phantom and Color Yellow Films. 

The Story: Mukkabaaz is a story of passionate wannabe boxer, Shravan who accidentally falls in love with a girl, Sunaina who is the niece of an egoistic local kingpin, Bhagwan Das Mishra or you may call BDM. There starts a sweet-tangy love story that runs in parallel to the actor's lifelong aspiration to become a boxer in spite of severe discouragement.

If you think the story is just that, I suggest not think but go ahead and watch this story. Why you should watch this movie? Well here is why.

Why You Should Watch Mukkabaz

1) A not so regular story with a fresh treatment: It may look like a regular-  a boy meets a girl, vice versa, fall in love, fights adversities to unite and then boy plays an iconic boxing match where he knocks his opponent down in the boxing ring and becomes a champion extra, et cetera. The film may look like that but it is actually a lot more than that. Watch it know better. 

2) A Good Sports based Film on Boxing: Let us accept that there are very few good sports films in India and hardly any on boxing. Mukkabaaz, a story conceptualized and primarily written by the lead actor Vineet Singh who apparently had invested his all in getting this film made, will go up in echelons of well-made, well entertaining sports film in India. 

3) Pitch Perfect cast with Superb performances: Mukkabaz is the film where actors are the characters and the characters are the heroes. There is a spectrum of talent and acting range that can be seen in the leading characters of the film. Whether it is the Shravan played by Vineet Singh, Zoya's Sunaina, Ravi Kishan's Sanjay Kumar, the actor who played Shravan's father's role, Gopal [the friend], everyone looked a perfect fit, without cliches, or any traces of superimposed stardom. You will watch each of them. 

I have not mentioned Jimmy Shergill here as I see him too idealist to play such an anti-hero kind of role and would rather watch him enacting the kind of roles he did in Tanu Weds Manu or even Happy Bhaag Jayegi. 

4) Catchy Songs: I liked the songs like Priye [written by popular poet Sanjay jogi], Bahut Hua Samman, Paitra among others. 
Oh yes, there is a reprised version of the famous Dilip Kumar Song- Jara pairo mein ghoongroo baandh toh phir meri chaal dekh le.

However, the male item song featuring Nawajuddin Siddiqui playing the remix version of Priye song felt unnecessary but nevertheless provides some quirky relief to the film.

5) Well-written dialogues waiting to trend: The movie ha some wonderful dialogues that adds to the wholesome narration, gives a local fervor and will entertain you thoroughly.

6) Realistic Approach: The movie well portrays the realist politics in sports scenario wherein local dons dominates the game and give leverage to their egos, greed, and impotence over merit.

7) The undying spirit of "Love against all odds": He is a low caste, yet to be established sportsman who had already offended the head of her family. She is a mute girl who can hear but cannot speak. The way Shravan beautifully describes her "inconsequential to love" disability, his acceptance towards it and the way he stands by her side, is truly aspirational. 

What Could have been better

The climax was a hurried one and looked as if the makers wanted to seal the envelope with whatever they could think of the low hanging fruit. Or wait since it had a "based on a real-life story" touch to it, that may be the case with the real story.

The length of the movie makes it a bit of the drag towards the second half

In a nutshell, Mukkabaaz is a well-written, well-made film that is far more engaging than its dull trailer. What a comeback Anurag Kashyap. The movie though a bit long at certain places has all the ingredients to bag some coveted recognitions including National Awards.

Numerounity Rating: 4/5

What Happened When I Tried to Sell My Phone

Mobile Reselling: Mission Impossible

Have you ever tried selling your phone? Well, I did. Quite a tedious procedure and almost impossible. No matter how simple your intentions are, or the extremely good condition of your handset, you are bound to have some bitter-sweet experience while selling your phone.

The agony is not associated with a refurbished handset but also with a brand new handset, if any.

No, no I am not here to discuss the agonies but laugh over them. I have compiled some of my real experience with some fiction and Bollywood celeb, to compile a funny [at least intended to] video.

Watch what happened when I tried to sell my mobile phone.

This is not a paid post but I have plugged a bit of Cashify, a website that claims to help you sell your electronics including a mobile phone. No, I have never used this website and hence it is just a reference.

Neither it is a paid gig. So, I do not endorse anything here except my pure, coincidental humor.

So, watch what happened-

When I tried to Sell My Mobile

So, I went to few celebs like Nana Patekar, Akshay Kumar and erstwhile YouTube viral sensation- Dhinchak Pooja. Did they buy my phone? Watch my full video here or on YouTube

I hope you liked my video. If yes, do subscribe to me on YouTube and do hit the bell notification so you can get alert when I post a new video.

Have Fun,

Happy New Year 2018

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What's In The Surname?

Married V/s Maiden Name: Conflicted Masculinity?

I was browsing through TOI newspaper and landed on an article wherein the author suggested that "men who let their wife use their maiden surnames even after marriage are more feminine and have less control in the marriage". 

I went like- WTF! like really? Just cause a cultured man who magnanimously let his wife keep her identity becomes a henpecked?

On the contrary, I believe that the men who amicably let their wife have a choice of the surname are rather more masculine and mature. After all, a man's masculinity and power is not in dominating a woman over her surname. Any matured man, who worth his salt would understand the struggle and the efforts that a woman would have taken to carve a niche for herself, or make a name of self. Such man would understand, empathize and respect but not enforce one-sided, regressive patriarchy on the person he calls life partner and aim to spend his entire life with her. I dunno the falling structure of the society but marriages [and not weddings] are still the sacred association and cannot be mitigated over concerns as tiny as this.

A woman is a living entity and not a house whose ownership can be transferred from the existing owner's name [her father] technically to the new owner's name [husband's] name. Give her a right to choose, right to co-exist, right to maintain her entity that she accepted from her birth till date. 

Woman and Surname Game

We are circa 2017, a world where we talk about gender equality. While am certainly not a feminist but it is undeniable that no matter how we have developed, in a country like India, women, at larger pockets are still considered as the weaker sex and often dominated in a repressive patriarchal society. I am not in favor of or against the patriarch or matriarchal society, for me, both tend to loom to a distant extreme and may lead perpetration of either sex. The man who wears a pant or the woman who wears a pant is such a cliche to me. Let me clarify when I say regressive or repressive patriarchal society, I clearly indicate the nonequality over the right of education, right of career, right of remarriage, right to freedom and life included.

Besides, there is no harm or feminity defamed in embracing your husband's surname, as long as it is an open choice and not an enforced culture.

Forget Surname, I have seen many women made [forcibly] to change their name post marriage. However, in Hindu law, so far as I know, that a woman has a right to continue with his name, a couple has a right to change their children's surname, the way they want to [including or excluding their family name, while creating a whole new surname]

Whether you accept or not, man or woman, our full name often acts as a unique identifier, irrespective of the fact whether it is a famous surname or the common one. 

Do we expect a man to change his surname his post marriage to a woman? So why only a woman has to change her surname?

How Does Changing Surname Guarantees Commitment?

There was another study published in that suggested that women who do not change their surname post-marriage are less committed.

Are you telling me that the couples who have changed their names post marriage did not have any commitment issues or separated? How about the husband who cheats on his wife in spite of her change in her surname? Or how about the wife who happily changes her name and surname post the marriage to the one given by husband yet cheat on him?

Born with a Surname; Married with Another, I am the Change that is not called development!

Before you jump the guns, this is not a personal upheaval but a general observation. If I have to further share my personal opinion, I was born with a certain surname which was not chosen by me. For a larger [and formative] part of my life, I was called "Khetan Fan". Mockingly as well just in a light jeer. If I had my way, I would have changed my surname to my Nana/Nani's as they were the people who did my upbringing and I was very fond of them.

There came a point when surname did not matter to me but a larger chunk of the population know me with my full name wherein my surname acted as a unique identifier. I was propositioned by guys with some interesting and popular surnames including a famous cricketers' name, a business tycoon-ish kind of surname but dude I was looking for a life partner and not a surname. I am a human being and not a cattle who is distinguished by her master. Nor am I Aishwarya Rai, the most beautiful woman in this world who can take the liberty of selecting any name and still be identified, irrespectively.

Jokes apart, no pseudo or bra-burning feminism here. But a gentle plea, to let the name be. Let it be an equal choice to select the name/surname you want to keep. I understand that in India a man and a woman are not just married to each other but respective families. But stop equating a girl's love and respect for a family by virtue of her surname. 

Another shocking study published at Daily suggested that it highlights a man's inability to take care of his family. Really? now you are generalizing this to disempowering of a man? Hostile sexism I must say!

The WCWD Rule

In 2014, the Women and Child Welfare Department (WCWD) gave the women in Maharashtra the option of using either their fathers’ or husbands’ names in all official documents. Children can now mention names of both parents or remove the father’s completely if they choose to. 

Why just option to choose between one? A woman can keep/drop both the names or choose a new random one. However, it is a fresh change and can be a precursor to some effective changes.

The Tricky Issue of the Married/Vs Maiden Name

Let's cut short this long tail and understand a basic fundamental right. Changing names is not an easy task and far from practical. You are not a Rapunzel living in an isolated, ivory tower where you just change your name and sing a happy tune in your newfound identity over the abandoned one. It is a herculean task and needs balancing entries in your educational certificate, passport, bank documents, aadhar cards, pan cards and so on. Imagine if you have an online presence wherein your name is your keyword in the Google Algorithm?

And if done forcefully, be ready to bear the brunt of the forced identity crisis that your woman may undergo immediately or years to come. There are better ways to ascertain your partner's commitment towards you and your family. Ways above not just changing the surname or adding the trendy new, regal sounding yet excruciatingly clumsy, hyphenated long names. Let's keep everyone happy, even if we sound like Rum Pel Stilt Skin or those hallucinated characters from Indian Soap Opera- Raja Rawal Rudra Pratap Singh or Anna Marie Joseph McNally [Whole generation in one name]

Ever wondered what Rum pel Stilt Skin meant? I love the sound of it though.

Concluding A New Beginning: Married NOT SOLD!

A woman who has left her family to come live with you accepts you/your family with all your moles and wart, takes care of them. But hey you, you just cannot accept her with her choice of name?

Once again, let it be a choice, a choice just like that. Rather than making it an issue of ego or control. Life is tough, look at the beautiful things, look at harmony.

Culture is about sanctity and sanity. Do not equate it with surname legacy.

Giving up on a name that you have nurtured for 20+ years at least is complicated and does not guarantee anything unless collectively included.

So save us from the epiglottis of long, tongue-twisting name or gender flaring researches. Be the rose, distinguished by the fragrance you emulate. Name is identity and not the ego.


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