Monday, May 24, 2010

Write On Target!!

Lyricists have been one of the most important people in the Hindi Film Industry from Day 1. Be it RD Burman’s Masoom or Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya, their songs would not have enjoyed cult status had it not been for Gulzar saab’s pen, out of which words flowed like water from a fountain.

The insight and creativity of such lyricists and poets is worth applauding. Irshad Kamil’s ‘Aj Din Chadheya’ from Love Aj Kal, which incorporated beautiful lines like ‘Manga jo mera hai, jata kya tera hai, maine kaunsi tujhse jannat mang li, Kaisa khuda hai tu, kis kam ka hai tu, rabba jo teri itni si bhi na chali’ expressed the helplessness of the lover in taking his love story forward and at the same time his ecstasy of being in love.

There is hardly any topic that can be thought of, which doesn’t have a song to its name. Shantanu Moitra’s Aal Izz Well from 3 Idiots, stressed on the sheer unpredictability of the future with lines like ‘Bakra kya jane uski jaan ka kya hoga, seekh ghusegi ya saala keema hoga’ while Javed Akhtar’s Kal Ho Na Ho explored a similar philosophy of living in the moment in contrast to worrying for the next day.

Gulzar’s Chaiyya Chaiyya from Dil Se, with lines like Main uske roop ka shedai wo dhoop chhao sa harjai, wo shokh hai rang badalta hai, main rang roop ka saudai, remains one of the most popular songs of the Hindi film industry.

Sometimes, ordinary love songs are made extraordinary just because of the beauty of the words. Songs like Hum Tum’s title track or even Falak Tak from Tashan can be counted as examples.

Now, many people have their choice of writers but Gulzar saab remains my personal favorite. The guy can write Lakdi Ki Kathi, he can give you Is Mod Se Jate Hai Kuch Sust Kadam Raste, Naam Gum Jayega and also has songs like Dhan Te Nan to his name. The sheer variety is breathtaking for an amateur songwriter like me. Hats Off.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

God is an Atheist

I know I am no one to be writing about something about which I have limited or less understanding and knowledge. But what the hell.

God is an atheist. He knows no God to hold Him when He’s wrong. He has no one to bless him when things go wrong. You may be asking: What can go wrong for God? I say absolutely everything.

From the nooks and crannies of Kanpur to the busy traffic filled roads and highways of Delhi, every child that gets hit by a speeding vehicle is a thing gone wrong for God.

People who kill, citing Him the reason, are things gone wrong for God. When a man murders his fellow companion it’s a thing gone wrong for God. Five guys gang raping a woman are things gone wrong for God. Get my point?

But still, have you ever heard that God prays for the weak? Have you ever seen a picture of God bowing His head in respect? I don’t think there ever was such a picture.

Man, to assure himself that there will be someone to look after him even when he’s in the worst of situations, created the illusion of God. Not the other way around.

Call me an atheist. Break my bones for blasphemy. But I still would say the same thing. God was created by man to cover his shortcomings. To provide assurance that someone up there always has better things in store.

Now, I’m not telling anyone to try to break the illusion, but just be aware of it. There is no need on relying on God to make everything right. Learn from Him. Wonder at the thought that even with so many things gone wrong, He has the power to make everything right once again. He knows no God. He is the ultimate power. He will depend on no one to do what’s right. You shouldn’t too.

That is my only point.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kanpur in a Nutshell...

Chahe kar lo duniya tour

Aai gajab hai Kanpur

The two-liner above may not be the best in poetic history but Kanpurites associate themselves with it like a fish with water. Hometown of the wacky and sophisticated alike, Kanpur has always been the land of…. Pickpockets?? (Sorry, ‘dreams’ was already taken!)

That’s what I’m talking about. Be it Birhana Road, P. Road or even Chunniganj for that matter, you’ll always find the people smiling. Yes, we face power cuts but do we let it diminish the brightness of our face? No, we don’t. Yes, we have more of potholes in every road than gravel, but do we let the fact affect the dimples of our smiles? The answer is a big capital-lettered NO.

We, the people, have faced almost every crisis imaginable and have emerged shinier than ever! We have faced weeklong power shortages, water-shortages have become a way of life, the mercury has broken every record maintained in the MET but we do a thing that many fail to do. We accommodate.

We adjust our way of life according to every scenario. Power shortage? Play carom. Water-shortage? Chhod yar ek din nai nahaenge to mar jaenge kya?(Will we die if don’t bath for a day?) etc etc

So this one’s dedicated to all the wonderful Kanpurites (who’ll probably read this and then roll it up in a cone to hold their bhelpuri) Jai Ho Kanpur!

Love of The Game

‘Why do you play?’ ask this question to any sportsman and you’ll get the same, standard reply: Because they love playing. Period. Not one sportsperson would tell you they play for the money and the glamour. Similarly, the casanova doesn’t follow women around because he loves them, he does it because he loves the chase, the hunt of another beautiful woman to add to his list of conquests.

I quote Mae West, ‘The score never interested me, only the game’. So, what is it that people just can’t get enough of? Is it the adrenaline rush? The feeling of accomplishment as obstacles give way in front of their efforts? Surely not the sheer feeling of elation as they achieve what they expected? Who knows? I wouldn’t as yours truly has never played a sport in his life, let alone win it.

But in my defense, I’d say winning is good but does become boring if there’s no competition. If I bowled a ball to Sachin Tendulkar and he hits a six (the if isn’t required, I know), he probably wouldn’t feel the same satisfaction as he would have felt if he hit a six on Shoaib Akhtar’s ball.

It’s only natural. A hunter’s main purpose is to follow the hunt and devise ways and methods to trick it and finally kill it. Where would all that planning and plotting come to use if his prey stood in front of him and submitted to his will? Where would he get chances to improvise if his kill had a suicide wish in mind?

We say competition has increased in our lives. But if we just change the way we look at things. If we just saw our life as the ultimate game, I’m sure there’s nothing that’ll be able stop us from succeeding.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Boredom is the key to success.

No, your eyes are fine. The word above is actually ‘boredom’ not ‘hard work’.

I know the eyebrows of many readers would have risen to the point where they became part of their hairlines but after reading this, they would agree too that boredom really does help people.

What is boredom? ‘A state of mind when we are dissatisfied with our surroundings and wish for something more interesting and meaningful’ could be a good definition. Now, if a person is dissatisfied with his surroundings, the next logical step for him would be to involve himself in something more meaningful. Voila, you have growth!

Critics may say growth needn’t lead directly to success. I agree. Growth is just a part of it. The other part of success is called mental peace. When a person is at a point in his life where he’s peaceful with his surroundings, his family etc, I’d consider him successful. Your next question will predictably be ‘How does a man get mental peace in boredom?’ You are correct. He doesn’t. Therefore, he works towards obtaining it.

So you see, my friends, ‘hard work’ is just the tool used to get to success while ‘boredom’ is the cause of it. Next, you’ll be thinking what kind of a lunatic has written this but just think for a second, the lunatic in question wrote it to be read and it is being read.

Isn’t he successful? The answer is yes.

And this particular lunatic actually wrote this because he was bored.

I rest my case.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Simpler Than Thou

Writer's block - often experienced by writers, even the most experienced of them because it's not the experience that counts here rather it's the experience of not being able to experience that elusive experience of churning out an article that will provide the readers a good experience.

Confused? I am too. The whole point of the above paragraph was to explain the meaning of the phrase - 'Writer's Block', which could have been done in about 10 words, but since the majority of us believe that the talent of the author can be measured by how complicated he can make it sound, so a big 'Hurray!' for me.

Hundreds of people have come and gone trying to tell us that 'simplicity' is the need of the day but we, the higher mortals, turn a deaf ear to their fantastic ravings and go about our normal routines trying to make life more complex than it really is.

For example, a 17-year old, giving an exam comes across a question which he can answer in 3 steps, but thinking that the answer couldn't obviously be so simple, attempts the longer way of doing it and ends up doing it wrong. End of story.

How many times has it happened that we are looking for an answer but refuse to accept the one staring us in the face?

From people like Gandhi, Lennon to the superstars of today like Naseerudin Shah, Nana Patekar, all have found their peace and contentment in the simple so why not us? Why should we run races we don't have to run? Why should we look for reasons to add another problem to our already tension-ridden lives?

Think about it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Name Chronicles

"What's in a name?", William Shakespeare once wrote, "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." 
He should probably have spoken to one Akanksha(not Akansha not Akaanksha) though, before writing that one. 
Leave the girl alone and we have one of the most prevalent complaints of today's society. Especially in the countries which have specifically weird names that sound atrocious when pronounced wrong.
Take mine for example, Shibesh is pretty much decent-sounding but get me an imbecile and you'll know what's so atrocious about the pronunciation. ( Sibes )
Mine is still not as objectionable as a guy named Tomasz Kuzszczak might rightly object. (If you're wondering who that is, try checking out the Polish football team)
But if we set the weirdly named people aside, we get a lot of easy-named people who have a few problems of their own.
I remember a guy named Bangor, (for all you perverts out there no his first name wasn't Dick!) who faced a lot of problems here in India and went through all the variations that his name can probably go through.(From Bang-Oar to Bang-oor to Baang-Oar)
Moving on from people, we get to places with names which sound like poetry gone wrong when we try to pronounce them.
However hard it may to believe, there is actually a place in Wales called Pontrhydfendigaid. God bless its people!
Even the relatively easy ones like Loughborough get pronounced like Lurgerburger, so there isn't really a "weird-name" parameter that makes pronouncing difficult.
It's us who think it'll be offending to the other if we simply ask them how to say their names.
So, people, next time you meet me and i tell you my name, just ask me how it's pronounced before you try the same.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Preparation Time

March : The time of war!!
But before it begins, comes the crucial month of February : The time for the preparation for war!!
Really, it is a very crucial time, for in this time you get to see people like my friends run around from coaching to coaching, trying to gather the notes they did not make (or forgot to make, more specifically), during the whole year.
You also get to see people like me, who are least interested in matters of education and prefer spending their time in updating blogs and writing songs.
This is the time when the hard working put in all their efforts in trying to achieve that elusive 100% grade while the rest of us get depressed just by seeing them work so much because our efforts seem minuscule compared to theirs.
It's time I got going and got down to some serious studying (after a session of serious guitar playing and songwriting, of course!) so gotta go for now..
but will surely come back with a vengeance after March!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Day at HT Office!!!!!!!!

Ok I promise I'll start at the start and will surely end at the end.
I have absolutely no intentions to start in the middle and end somewhere else.
Since I'm blabbering now, I think I should start my story.
Well, here goes, yesterday I went to the Hindustan Times office to show them an interview I took.
Naturally, when I entered I was clueless about where to go so I asked the security guard sitting there the way to the editor's office.
He was a simple man and did tell me the way to the editor's office. Except that he pointed me towards the Hindi editor's cabin instead of the English one.
Unaware of this, I knocked, entered and stated my position. He took a look at my article and told me I'd brought an English piece to a Hindi newspaper.
Puzzled and befuddled, I was just about to head back home when he told me to wait coz the English editor would be arriving in a short while if I was ready to wait. I could have kissed the man there and then.
Looking back, he was a pretty nice man and the people sitting there were very supportive too. Then, he called one of the English journalists from outside and told him to look at my piece and get it published if possible!
He told me to keep up the good work and come to him if any help was required. Genuine nice guy.
Well, then I went with the reporter from English he had called and explained my situation to him. He read the piece and really advised me well as to what my career path should be if I wanted to join the news industry.
He pointed out the flaws but also added that I write well and should keep on doing this.
Okzzzzz, now we come to the part where the editor from English enters.
Mr. Haider Naqvi, first thing that came to my mind when I saw him was "Now I"m intimidated!". But then as I started talking to him and showed him what I had written, I realised how wrong a first impression can be.
He's nothing what he looks like, the guy's friendly, funny and helpful in every way that one can imagine. I shouldn't be saying this but I think he was impressed with the piece.
He told me that they could and they would publish it but after it had been edited.
Hm, edit a 1600 word piece to a 500 word one?
Sounds easy but actually took more time than I had actually taken in writing it!
Enter journalists Priyanka and Kratika.
Starting with Priyanka di, a very focussed woman who could, like, edit an elephant to fit the size of a mouse, if you get what I mean!!
Working with her, I learnt the ways and the tricks that could be used to separate the important things from the unimportant ones and the different ways in which a story can be presented.
We spent nearly 2 - 3 hours deleting words and adding new ones. Finally we reached 600 words. We just couldn't delete more!
Showed our work to Mr Naqvi and he brought down 25 words in just 5 minutes of looking at the piece!
Guess that's why he's editor.
He then told us that we don't really need to keep the original sentences as long as we can preserve the essence of what is being said.
Using that tip, we brought down almost a 100 words in 10 minutes. Piece of cake!
During all that work and editing, there was fun loving and talkative reporter sitting next to us and constantly coming up with new topics to start conversations.
I liked her instantly (partly coz of the fact that she kept referring to me as Bhagawan!)
All in all, I got a first hand experience to what a journalist's life is like. The constant buzz as latest pieces of news are being discussed and the non stop jokes and comments being passed around.
Didn't really feel like leaving but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. So, with a heavy heart and a lot of goodbyes later, I was back on the streets, heading home as my feet itched to go back.
Will always remember Saturday, 30th of January 2010 as the day when I took the first step towards the kind of life I've always dreamt about.
This is Neil, signing off.
Sayonara folks!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Blog

Hey everyone viewing this
Have started another blog with my poems on it
It's url is
Do visit it
Gotta go now

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birds n Bees

From the day I was born, I had a certain and unfound aversion to bees.
Don't know why but the yellow and black creatures scared me to death.
Every time there was a bee around, I was always found running in the opposite direction. But now when I look back on those days, I laugh at my naivety and my unawareness.
Even now, as I'm writing this blog, I see a couple of these harmless winged creatures enjoying the nectar of the flowers on my terrace.
Wow! Nature really makes you wonder at its beauty.
These bees will now take the pollen from these flowers to produce more such flowers, making the world a more beautiful place to live in.
What a beautiful thought!!!!
And silly me, I always thought these bees were nothing but a nuisance.
Ah, finally I am at peace with all the creatures of the world.
Now, I'm gazing at these bees sucking nectar peacefully,
one of them seems to have had enough and is flying towards the flowers behind me.
Wait, there are no flowers behind me...
So, it's probably flying towards me..
No big deal.
Bees fly towards people all the time. Not necessary they stiiiiiiAAAAHHHHHH.
IT STUNG ME!!!!!!!!!!
F*** THESE D*** CREATURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Photos, pictures, portraits....
By now, everyone should know what i'm talking about
Yup, this one is about photos,
black and white ones
coloured ones
passport sized
the list is endless
but still it makes one wonder if all of these are really necessary. Nowadays, wherever you happen to be, there's always a camera around to capture you. Be it a library or a school. And the most irritating part of this is that they're being used by the most dimwitted of people.
Ok, so they're just using to capture the beautiful moments of life, as many would describe it but let's face it, there is not one person on this earth who would like to see endless photos of the pundit when he's looking through the photos of a puja you attended!
It's probably in the list of treatable diseases of psychiatrists by now. Camera - craze.
People truly go berserk when they get their hands on a camera. They wanna click everything. From the historical monument they're visiting to the dog peeing outside it.
And guess what, they even photograph themselves photographing people. Real sophisticated, that.
On this note, this is another angry young man signing off.
Tata, happy clicking!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bye Bye 2000's

I know i'm a bit late doing this (15 days to be exact) but what the heck
This last decade has been the most defining one of my life (has to be coz i still am not old enough to say i've seen many of 'em ;) ).
To start with, I tried out new things, failed at some but excelled at others. I perfected some areas of my personality that were already good enough but not too much so.
I fell in love and out again more times than i can remember.
I made and broke friendships like sand castles.
But when I was doing all the above, I never realised that it would be making me the person that I am today and would probably remain this way for the rest of my life.
So for the good, bad or worse, Neil has changed in the 2000's and will always remember those 10 years as the time which shaped his life, his career, his being........