Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh God, not again

I was merrily shopping in a mall in Delhi when my friend got an SMS.
"Terror attack in Mumbai. Red alert in Delhi".

At first I didn't comprehend what she said. Terror attack? TERROR ATTACK? That too in Mumbai. Not again, I thought. It's so unfair. I mean haven't the people there suffered enough? And moreover, this time the target hit close to home. What was once home. Dadar.

I was furious. I ran home and switched on the TV for more news, and soon turned it off. Rajdeep Sardesai totally turned me off. TV reporting is so terrible at times like these. Moreover I was disgusted to see some people on the streets smiling into the cameras. No shame. That is the mantra, it seems.

The last time it happened, I wasn't acquainted with Mumbai at all. I watched the news about 26/11 and went off to sleep after a while. After having stayed in Mumbai for over a year, it has become a part of me. The rush, the madness, the race to catch a local, reach on time, brave the humidity, all with people just like you. The city pulsates with life, at every moment, whether you are awake or asleep.

And yet again, somebody tried to break Mumbai's spirit. I am pained by this repeated attempt to kill the spirit which is so cherished and valued by people all over the world.

Though these attacks bring people together, on some level I think they make them more suspicious of each other. My cousin told me how people were panicking while traveling in the train over unattended luggage.
We have security checks in malls, but what's the point of it all if someone blows up a bomb right in the middle of a crowded street. What's the solution? Here are some, which gave me a tiny ray of hope

While much has been said about Mumbai's resilience, I think this is an insult more than anything. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster took place, many foreign journalists commended the Japanese spirit of resilience, but thought they took it too far, as hardly any blame was placed on the government. The Japanese people silently bore it all, without once demanding better security from the government, I think the same is happening here.

Seeing Mumbai locals crowded the very next day, we think "Ah Mumbai can take it". No, it can't. And here's praying, it won't have to..

Friday, July 8, 2011

White Lily - an inspiration

I don't expect many of my readers to recognize this woman. She has mostly played bit parts in Bhool Bhulaiya, Billu and a few other movies. Some might recognize her as Tara Fui from the serial Bandini. I rarely paid any attention to her myself, since I always saw her in typical roles with a stern expression.

My ignorance was given a kick in its butt when my friend told me that she is a veteran Marathi theater actress. He dragged me to watch her play, White Lily N Knight Rider. I was amazed at the transformation.

In this play, she plays a 36 year old woman looking for love. It's a bold role with the character wanting to explore "sexual compatibility" before confirming any alliance with her 39 year old "date". The plot has a contemporary feel as the two protagonists meet online. In fact, White Lily and Knight Rider are their chat IDs.

This was the first time I saw a professional Marathi play and I loved the experience. I especially enjoyed the sets, music and most importantly the acting. I was pleasantly surprised to see Rasika Joshi portray a role which I could relate to so easily. For a moment I wondered, why doesn't Bollywood ever give her a chance to strut her stuff? And then I found out it was too late.

I feel truly blessed that I got to see her perform live before she passed away. She was battling cancer since the last few months and I saw the play just a few weeks ago. Looking at her, nobody would've guessed what she was going through. According to media reports, she continued shooting despite her illness, and showed a remarkable degree of professionalism. I laugh now as I remember how she momentarily dropped her character, walked to the front of the stage and chastised a man for speaking on the phone during her performance.

On a Marathi chat show, she said that she'd put her play on hold for ten minutes when a dignitary sitting in the front row refused to hang up his cell phone. That was the attention she commanded. And why shouldn't she? When she can stand there despite being so close to death and give her 100% I think the least she would expect is undivided attention.

Even if I'm suffering from a mild case of stomach upset, I hang up my boots and take an off. Here is a lady who never said no, despite suffering from an illness that kills your spirit first, and then your body. White Lily is an inspiration, a lesson in perseverance and dedication to your work.