February 27, 2009

Ladies tailor


He is perhaps the most important man in a woman’s life; that is, apart from the man in her life.


A woman and her tailor have an affair going, on a continuous basis. It is a love-hate relationship. Love him when he does a good job. Hate him when he doesn’t. Love him when he gives the clothes on time. Hate him when he delays and your planning goes awry, and you feel you have ‘nothing to wear’. Love him when he agrees to do alterations, hate him when he doesn’t…


As a child, on the way to school in a cycle rickshaw with 4-5 other children, we used to pass by a tailor shop, and one of the girls would shout, ‘frocks, frocks’, and we would all look admiringly at the row of colourful frocks in the shop window. We would then discuss the prints, the patterns and sometimes planned on asking our mothers to get similar frocks made for us.


As I grew up, there were many men…oops! tailors in my life. As a child, on birthdays, they made me feel smart and special in the dresses they tailored for me; as a teenager, they helped boost confidence levels; as a prospective employee, those special ‘confidence dresses’ helped me get jobs; as a bride, I once again depended on him---it was almost a matter of life and death! Thus, on my tailor’s expertise, and whims, depended the success of ever so many events in my life.


There were many frustrating moments, of course. Clothes made too tight, clothes made too loose, kapda not shrunk, instructions forgotten, notes ignored, quiet anger expressed nevertheless, and then forgive, forget…after all, this is not the last dress I am going to get tailored! Always preferring the humble and friendly to the snooty and snobbish, I invariably went to some unknown chap close to my house, preferring him to the ‘famous’ ones who charged the sky.


Now suddenly, it seems difficult to find a good tailor. I have changed five tailors in five years. Two, who I liked very much, closed shop because it was too difficult to keep skilled workers. One was too far away; another gave way too much importance to NRIs, and the last made a salwar out of the cloth meant for the kurta, and vice versa.


And so the search is on, despite all those ready-made garments available, to find my ‘type’ of tailor--- the humble, friendly guy who stitches well, gives clothes on time, does alterations if something is not okay, obliges if told that something was really urgent, does not have an ‘NRI season’, and has a shop close to my house.


Is that a tall order?

February 20, 2009

Films for all times

Some films are rivetting, and you can watch them any number of times, from beginning to end, or any scene in between, or just the beginning or just the end, or just one song, or a dialogue.

In my list of films that fit this description are: Dil chahta hai, Mr and Mrs Iyer, Parineeta, Speed, Sound of music, Forrest Gump, Guru, Main hoon na (yes!), Sholay, Iqbal, Zubeida and some others.

Now I add one more delightful film to this list.

It took Slumdog Millionnaire out of my head!

February 08, 2009

Great job, NDTV!

From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the 24-hr Greenathon organised by NDTV 24 x 7, TERI and sponsored by Toyota. It is the first time I have seen something like this being done by a television channel in India. Check out the link below, and you'll know what I am talking about.

http://green.ndtv.com

Better still, take the green pledge; donate something, however small.

We need many more such gestures. I wish to believe that things can change.

February 03, 2009

My spontaneous reaction to Slumdog Millionaire

I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night and want to write about it before I read anything about it that could change the way I am thinking about it.

1. Through the movie, my insides were taking a roller-coaster ride.
2. It was way too dark for me.
3. Photography was excellent.
4. The shit scene was disgusting and unnecessary.
5. Among the actors, the children were good. Jamal and Salim were good but seemed too sophisticated to be slum dwellers.
6. The dialogue "But for Ram and Rahim, I would have had a mother today" is a classic.
7. I loved the format where the story unfolds with Jamal going back and forth about how he knew the answers, but credit for that to Vikas Swarup, I guess (I need to read the novel).
8. Some questions: why is the quiz master so nasty? What has he to lose?
9. Why the torture in a police station? By the time a contestant wins 1 crore, he is already a hero...a TV interview would have been more like it.
10. The biggest disappointment for me was that because I was so disturbed, I did not even notice Rahman's music. Or did Rahman's music play a big role in making me feel disturbed in the first place? I need to listen to only the audio track once more.

Im my opinion, Slumdog (I don't like that word too) is not a complete film.

It was written that it should win so many awards! :)

And now, I will read all the reviews...

PS: No, the showcasing of squalor, poverty, violence, et al. didn't bother me...for it is just one of a billion images of India!

February 01, 2009

Farewells...

Among all milestones in one's life, school leaving is perhaps the toughest one. I still remember mine...sigh!

Ragini had her farewell party in school, and these words, from the very first book I edited after I started BluePencil, ring in my ears:

'Guzra hua zamana, aata nahi dubara...'

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...