When my children were much younger, they believed ( and still do!), that Ganpati was their BFF. Their pet names for the deity varied from 'Gannu' to 'Ganpu'. Well, later this afternoon, I'll be visiting the mighty Lalbaug Chha Raja with two of them, and praying for all of them.... and several other people I love dearly. I'll also be praying equally fervently for Mumbai itself. And India.... the world. What can I say? In the limited time one gets for the darshan, one tries sincerely to fit everybody and everything into the prayer.
After that spiritually uplifting experience, I shall watch " Quick Gun Murugan, " and share my reactions with all of you in the next post. Till then ... mind it.... the rascalla has already captured my heart.
Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya…
Just a few days off from D-Day (Ganpati visarjan), and I am filled with anxiety. We are coming closer and closer to the dreaded 26\11 anniversary, and our city continues to be on red alert. Twelve long months have gone by, and what have we done to further secure our city and reassure its people? It is such a strange thing about us Mumbaikars – either we are far too fatalistic to bother about our own safety, or we are suicidal. There is such a puzzling nonchalance about our indifference to key issues ( evident in the disturbingly low turnout at the polls earlier this year), that I wonder sometimes whether we ask for it – on multiple levels. The state government’s utter apathy in most matters, be it civic affairs, mismanagement of crises and related lapses, we are all too ready to forgive and forget. But there is some hope – at least a few vigilant and concerned citizens continue to soldier on, braving the odds and keeping awareness campaigns going….at least in areas that concern our polluted environment . Kirti Oza is one such relentless person. I remember being introduced to her more than a decade ago as Mumbai’s ‘Kachra Lady.” Perhaps the man who described her thus was trying to be funny. But Kunti had no problems with the tag – she was a woman on a mission. It was her commitment to ‘kachra’ ( separating wet from dry ) and its disposal that made a lot of building societies sit up and follow the sensible practice. Today, it has become mandatory to do so all over the city. Did Kunti get any recognition for her initiative?? If she did, I am not aware of it. Well, she is still at it. This year she has roped in dabbawallas and other groups to try and ensure the Visarjan is conducted in as eco-friendly a manner as possible. Following the same principle of sifting through the puja ka saaman that is disposed off in the sea when the deity is immersed, the Nirmalaya group is trying to get various sarvajanik mandals to co-operate and sort out the flowers, garlands, leaves and other such material, from whatever else that has been used during the 10 days of worship. Colour coded bags will be provided, and all citizens have to do is use the gigantic bins at various immersion points , following simple instructions that will enable the BMC to do its clear up job more effectively. Is that too much to ask?
Mumbai needs many more ‘Kachra Ladies’, who work tirelessly for the causes they believe in… with zero acknowledgement. Often when I see the lists released by various social service organizations giving awards to pretty undeserving candidates , only because they happen to be pushy and well connected, I feel like recommending more deserving people like Kunti . And to think not so long ago, some of these same award givers would run in the opposite direction at the sight of Kunti, knowing she’d collar them and demand more civic responsibility! I ran into her the other night at one of those art events that attracts the same old kadka crowd evening after evening. There she was sitting quietly at Priyashri Patodia’s auction, watching other aggressive women hustling mediawallas and grandly hogging the credit for the initiative even though they had very little to do with it. And there were the talented kids from the Dr. Ambedkar School, largely left out of the frame, all on account of these preening, pretentious ladies walking around dishing out empty, self- promoting quotes. Priyashri herself was caught in a bind, since the whole idea was to generate sufficient interest in the works of these kids from under privileged backgrounds, so has to replicate the model and include several other municipal schools where kids do not get the exposure to art or the chance to explore their own creative potential in different ways. I hope Priyashri doesn’t get discouraged and goes after corporates and persuades them to come forward and support this movement in a more meaningful manner. Meanwhile, it is a pity, our mediawallas report such events so superficially and carelessly, preferring to focus on the same old vacuous attendees who go from one art show to the next mainly for the free wine, superior snacks,and those infernal photo-ops.
When I wrote about ‘Kaminey’ on my blog and voiced my utter disappointment, I received so much hate mail, it made me wonder why we create these sacred cows in the first place. There were those who posted comments comparing Bharadwaj to Tarantino and asking me cheekily if I’d heard of him ( Tarantino, that is). Of course, I didn’t bother to respond ( I never do), but being a Bharadwaj fan, alarm bells did go off inside my head. The day people put these sort of original and powerful directors on a pedestal, it spells the end of their creativity – they join the Bollywood bandwagon and start believing in their own mythology. I hope that never happens to Bharadwaj ( he has another film coming up), but I am not at all surprised ‘Kaminey’ didn’t set the box office on fire, nor the fact that audiences came away puzzled - had they’d watched a spoof or an action thriller? No such confusion with the uber clever ‘Quick Gun Murugun”, though. The rascalla has hit bull’s eye!