A beginning!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


For trekking, Pune presents lots of alternatives. Natives might argue that there aren’t tall hill ranges or hills in this region lack the luster of snowy Himalayas, however, for someone who hails from Nashik, it presents an exciting prospect. Add to that 5 days a week working culture and there is ample opportunity for organizing a trek!

Last Sunday, it was first time we visited Sinhgadh. I reached our meeting place early morning only to find that I am the only one to make it on time (an experience not alien to me : - ) ). In the early hours of morning, one can drive the bike in full throttle. I relished the opportunity as busy streets in Pune rarely present chance to harness the true power of Pulsar.

The road is straight and fairly smooth. It travels through small villages, greenery and last but not the least it goes by Khadakwasla dam. The dam provides excellent site. We stopped to take a few snaps; but hurried off to Sinhgadh – We didn’t want to climb while sweating under sun rays!

One can either climb the hill using stone steps or one can drive straight to top using the tar road. Like all trekking enthusiasts, we chose the stone steps. We parked bikes at bottom and started climbing the hill. It gets steep. One has to be careful as rubble pieces make the road slippery. If you are really excited about trekking and want to be little adventurous, you can go for steeper climbs which, of course, are short cuts to stone steps.

Villagers living nearby have done their bit in developing the place for tourist attraction. They serve you ‘limbu sarbat’, ‘dahi’, ‘tak’ etc. Dahi is served in special pots.

You see all types of people there. School boys who run there way up in 30 minutes, young people - determined to enjoy but usually lacking stamina (!), few regulars who climb at ease, elderly people who take their own time and frequent breaks…

We occasionally stopped, appreciating the greenery and the view that the altitude provided. Took few snaps and proceeded. 90 minutes for ascending (not bad for first attempt!).

Once you reach the top all the tiredness just fades. There is hardly anything left of the ancient fort (Formerly known as Kondhana). Hoteliers there tell you about where Udaybhanu’s Wada was and eagerly show you the places from where Tanaji and Suryaji climbed up on that historic night.

I was surprised to find out that there is a bungalow at the top. It was owned by famous freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak. It has a special significance as meeting between Lokmanya and Mahatma Gandhi took place there.

If you are pure vegetarian, you get ‘Zunka-bhakri’ and ‘pithala’ in the hotels. It is their specialty. Perhaps, the term hotel is misnomer; they are actually shops in small huts run by villagers nearby. Lunching in the shade of trees is an experience by itself!

We started descending at around 12 and nearly took same time as for ascending.

It was exhilarating experience. Away from daily drudgery, away from pollution and traffic….At the end of the day, it just makes one wonder what we bargained for on the way to our ‘civilization’.

I don’t question our existence, I question our modern needs.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Point...

...the point is ... there is no point!

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do(Luke 23:34).

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Mind n Matter

Take a piece of wood. Try to stretch it. Apply as much force as you can muster, still, you can't. It might crack, it might break, but you can’t stretch it.

Take a piece of rubber. Stretch it. It’s easy. Apply more force, you can stretch it further. Keep increasing the force and finally it will break.

A Mind made up of wood. A Mind made up of rubber.

Wood - not flexible. Rubber - flexible. But wood never misleads you by getting stretched for a while before giving away to pressure. It denies; but it is consistent with its choice!

Just when I knew all of life's answers, they changed the questions.

Friday, January 07, 2005

We, the people!

I had been planning to watch Swades for quite sometime and at last I managed to find time and occasion this week!

The movie is about a NASA project manager: Mohan Bhargav (Shahrukh Khan). He travels back to India and searches his ‘Dai’ - Kaveriamma with the intention to take her back with him to US. That lands him in a village. Kaveriamma is now living with a school teacher Geeta (Gayatri Joshi) and her younger brother. Geeta, who has modern education, prefers to teach in school in village and fulfill her late parents’ dream.

The village has all sorts of problems! There is cast disparity. There are illiterate people. Furthermore, people refuse to send their children to school. There is no electricity. There is water scarcity. You name the problem they seem to have it! Enter Mohan and bingo he has solution for everything. Are you wondering, why on earth will he try to solve their problems? Touched by their grief? Hmm… well, it begins this way: Kaveriamma is not going to leave the village till Geeta is married and her(Geeta's) school established (or that’s what Mohan thinks). So our hero is busy getting people to attend school and all. That gets him in touch with the people in the village and then he realizes their true problems.

With his ingenious skills (and willingness to spend :-) ), he manages to change the course of water and actually gets the turbine rotating to produce electricity!!!

If that is not enough, digest this: One song (ye tara wo tara) and people forget about cast differences. Oh, I forgot – but no prizes for guessing, the chemistry between Mohan and Geeta develops in the midst of all this!

He keeps stretching his leave, but alas he has to leave sometime and Geeta refuses to accompany him abroad. In the end all is well, Mohan returns back to India and the village and of course gets Geeta…

Got bored? Well, this whole thing takes 3 and ½ hours to unfold! But the direction is good. You don’t really feel the ‘length’ of the movie. A. R. Rehman scores again with his music. Javed Akhtar is at his usual best writing songs befitting the situation. Ashutosh Govarikar fails to reproduce a gem like Lagaan, but still you feel the presence of his direction throughout the movie. There are no villains. The movie isn’t comedy.

As for the performances, the villagers are convincing. No “good looking but dumb” actors are picked for roles. They really make you feel that you are in village. Shahrukh Khan carries the movie on his shoulders. Alas, he gives the glimpses of old Shahrukh. He just seemed lost in Kal Ho Na Ho, Devdas … and the list can go on!

Finally, for the debutant Gayatri Joshi: She looks good (well, she surely has people going ga ga over her looks!), dresses in simple traditional Indian attire (and shows it is still possible to catch attention). Ashutosh has also done justice to her character by giving her dialogues and songs. In general, she does not disappoint, though, she fails to score in highly emotional scenes. But definitlely not bad for start!

Special mention: the ‘Dasara’ scene. There is a song ‘pal pal hai’. The song has been particularly directed and presented well. You can real feel to be part of the whole festival in the village while watching the song!

Yea, people criticize saying that the movie is like ‘documentary’. It does get akin to that at times But, the overall effect of the movie is good. I would recommend the movie for watching (the movie, I will say, actually shines, on the background of some of the movies released off late!).

The secret of being boring is to say everything.

P. S. I got a forward with Gayatri's pictures with subject line arguing that a movie cannot be documentary with heroine like this ;-), and well I must say I don't disagree :D.