Friday, May 23, 2014

Watching Koffee with Karan? You are helping science!

- Salman Khan is a good person, but he doesn't choose the right company.
-  I know! He is always surrounded by these people that use him as a ladder in the film industry and then throw him away.
- Which is exactly why SRK chooses to keep in touch with only a select few and keeps to himself.
- Arey, SRK needs time to relax, reflect and rest after working almost 16 hours a day!

My wisdom and knowledge of Bollywood industry will have you convinced that I have made it big in Bollywood and hang out with the A-listers often.. 

But let me share a secret, it is a TV show called Koffee with Karan (KWK). It is a celebrity chat show hosted by Karan Johar who also makes Hindi movies for "Indians globally" (read NRI, Officially: non- resident Indians aka Not-required Indians).

K.Jo. Introducing me to his Talk show!
I used to be a binge watcher of this show in my younger days, when I didn't relaize the value of time and how time is money.. (Now I'm older and wiser!)

I knew I had a problem, so being the  sensible student I was, I always set limits on my self.
"Okay," I used to tell myself, "It is only 7 pm, I'm going to watch this ONE episode and then seriously buckle down and study for my test on Monday." Then this is how that plan went down:

 One episode comes to an end. YouTube, then gives you suggestions on what else you could watch--> related videos that is... Now, if YouTube is telling me that there is other things to watch, can I ignore the request? the answer is Obviously, No!

( See how social media is to be blamed for the wrong choices young adults make?)

Anyway, so I watch another and then another and another.. and then finally at around 12 am I glance at the watch shocked! Where did my 5 hours go???

I tell myself, calm down - student life is all about gaining knowledge about the world around you and all I did in the last 5 hours was immerse myself into Indian Cinema studies. This will be useful one day! My parents always told me that do something you like and then work will be enjoyable and you will be successful! I'm a good girl and I always have listened to my parents and why should this be an exception?

But other side of my brain wakes up and tell me..
 Umm ..that is all fine and dandy but the test on Monday is on Stats and your major is actually Neuroscience & Psychology so how is cinema study going to help you on Monday?

Well, First of all.. you have to look at the bigger picture and not just Monday.
 This is all linked you see.. I can always study the effect of Karan Johar's talk show on the brain and what kind of  neurotransmitters are released.. essentially an addiction study.

 I could be the sole subject a, get research grant to do this study and Bingo!! I get paid to watch Koffee with Karan!

.. I can clearly visualize, Karan Johar introducing me
" Our next guest tonight is a pioneer, linking Bollywood with Neuropschology, please welcome, the dashing, the ravishing, the talented beauty with brains, the none other than....  "
I start day dreaming some more... Then I can't help but imagine what the rapid fire round would look like

KJo shocked and surprised at my answers!
Very quickly then -
-Janelle LeBoutiller or Konstantine Zakzanis, which researcher would you collaborate with on your next project"
- Dr. Zakzanis! He is a genius and he is cute! Sorry Dr. LeBoutiller..
- Neuropsychology or Biological Psychology, where would you like to see your next paper published?
- Neuropshycology, hand down!

It wouldn't be so scandalist in Bollywood but you trust me it would be super scandalist in the scientific community and it would raise eye brows all around!

I glance at the clock again and it is 1 am! Now that I have convinced myself that I'm actually dedicating my life somehow to science and Hindi cinema, I feel very calm! It is very important to be honest to yourself.. and then I start watching the next episode.. all in the name of science.

Before you judge me remember I was an young adult back then, with an impressionable mind that could be easily molded by tv and Hindi cinema (Remember, I mentioned when in doubt blame Hindi movies to be the root cause of problems in a previous post? It always works!)

Anyway, Johar is now in his 4th season of his show. SRK has made about 10,000 appearances. K.Jo has gone from flip cards, to Samsaung tablet to Samsung phones for his rapid fire rounds and I just binge watched 4 hours of KWK!

Well this time I'm blaming it on Canadian media.. if only this show was telecast here on a regular basis I wouldn't have had to binge watch the show, my adult responsibilities would have been taken care of. My house would have been sparkling clean, I wouldn't have had  popcorn for lunch!! Just saying... am I wrong?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Letter to my 16 year old self

Dear Ms. Nayak

I am a much older self of yours from the future trying to tell you what life is going to be like in the next 10 years.

I know you are enjoying snow in Canada. The flurry you saw last weekend was amazing right? Enjoy while you can. In the future you will get sick of this snow and hope to hope to the warmest part of Canada. Believe it or not, you will be looking forward to summers and not winters!!

You go to school and you are actually pretty good in math here.. I know, you sucked at math in India, but here you love the teachers and the way it is taught and you actually think Geometry is interesting. You have 3 math courses in grade 12! You graduate from an amazing university.. So stop worrying!!!!

Yes.. Yes, you have a boyfriend ! God you couldn't wait to hear about this, huh?You date him for 5 years , fall madly in love and then get married at quite an young age... Can you guess who that person is?
  Remember that tall boy from Garfa who couldn't really play cricket, had a cute smile , sorta nerdy and tried to show you how to light fireworks during Kalipuja 
Yup you guessed right.. same chap! Nothing has changed much in 10 years --> he still can't play cricket, he still has a cute smile, still nerdy and still thinkshe knows how to light fire works better than you.

Your birthdays does get dull every year. You don't have Baba- Ma every year with you. You live in different cities. But wherever you are they still send you a card, with Baba' signature artistic handwriting and the year inside the card. The years that you are together you still get so many gifts you are overwhelmed and it reminds you of your younger days.  Ma makes you payesh every year, without fail.. 

Dida eventually stops writing a poem especially for you on your birthday because she decides to leave you and this world. In her last conversation with you, she actually tells you to prepare yourself to deal with her not being there. But you never can, so you strategize to think you had fight with her and you are not calling her. Lal dadu's calls you almost very year on your birthday and then eventually stops as well. You greatly miss them, especially on rainy days like this!

You finally have a friend who was born on the same day as you and you guys instantly become best friends. Your other best friend, is from the country whose poetry and language you always admired.. No they don't eat biriyani all day.. And no they don't all dress like Akhbar and write poetry all day long... They have a life!! You best friend from school is still the same.. Still an idiot and still Doesnt call you enough but you eventually grow up and learn how to deal with him. He starts living very close to you but still doesn't visit you.

You work. But you work in something that has nothing to do with what your degree was in! So stop worrying so much about your career and such... Everything is okay!

Enjoy Toronto you are not going to be therefor ever. Explore the city, get to know it...

You think now that it was silly that you were so worried about your career, education, having a boyfriend. You got all that!! But guess what you still worry about career, education  in a different aspect... Well you have a husband now!!! 

Dida and Dadu are gone, no matter how much you tried to hold on to them...

So what I'm saying is you will always worry about something, life will be transient and you will have to leave people behind as you move forward, no matter how hard you try to stop it, you can't. So enjoy today my dear, stop worrying so much about what will happen tomorrow! You can only put your best foot forward and then wait and watch the magic.

Your much older self!

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Bangla Pride

When I lived in Kolkata this whole Probashi Bangalis (Bengalis living outside of Bengal) didn't impress me much. To me they were wannabe Bengalis and not as cool as me!
Whenever someone uttered the word "probashi" images of my relatives living somewhere deep in MP/UP who only surfaced during biye season or durga puja season, came to my mind.
 The Mashi/ Pishi (s) generally had perfect Bangla but their kids or my cousin's Bangla used to be atrocious.
Phrases like "tui amar choto bon achish" or "tora duRRga pOOjyor somoy kotto ta anondo korish" - bengali with a Hindi accent were common which made me impatient.. it was like watching a movie with a subtitle.. finish your sentence already damn it!! Remember I was a Kid! Don't judge me.

I gave them props for trying though.. or at least I pretended to. You were not allowed to laugh at them or you will see you mom's big eyes getting even bigger singnally you to stop immidiately and if you continued.. "thash thash" kore chor!
However,  my "probashi" cousins were always considered "dudhe- bhathe"... and we didn't really take them super seriously especially if they were younger.

I didn't have any close relatives living in so called "Bidesh" so never really experienced North Americanzined Bengali. But one thing I was sure of was my Bangla language skills although I went to a English medium school.. go figure!

12 years later.. Here I am .. recounting my probashi experiences! Life I tell you can be a bitch! Or rather karma is .. What goes around comes around.

So when I go back to Kolkata/visit Kolkata  I am always afraid people will categorize me into the same Probashi Bangali category I hated so much! So my strategy to deal with it?? Over compensate by speaking in Suddho Bangla..  But in doing so I tend to go over board and alienate my own cousins.

Example :

Me to my Cousin : Shon,  amake durobhash shomapto karjer r dorkhasto joma dite hobe. Tui ki jabi amar shonge?
( Listen, I was to submit the application form to cancel our phone line. Did you want to come with me? in a very Bengali text book way)

My Cousin gives me a stunned look... as if I just time travelled from the medieval Bengal and burst into her drawing room.. and then says

" ki bolli, dorkhasto?? She abar ki?"
(Dorkhasto what is that??)

Okay,  time to reevaluate my linguistic skills... did I use it wrong?
Okay, too old fashioned?
That must be it! But obviously can't admit that in front of my younger cousin.. so I say,

" Dorkhasto mane application.. You kids these days.. have no respect for your your language and culture deshe r j ki hobe?"

Then I add in a very Dida/ Kakima / Jethima style :

" Toder moton boyeshe amader Bangla Bhasar kodor onek beshi chilo.. ei shob oi hindi chobi r dosh!

When in doubt blame Bollywood.. always works in typical Bengali household.. baje result? math e  kom nombor, khele dhuloye haar, kom boyeshe depomi kore prem?? whatever it is blame it on Hindi Cinema... works every time!

Also, who cares she is only two years younger than me and the fact that two years ago I didn't even live in India. Minor details, Minor details.. as long as you are super confident in what you are saying, people tend to believe you.

My fight for when in Kolkata only speak Bangla doesn't go that well with random strangers either.. Example??

So I went to South City Mall in Kolkata, and asked a security guard type of person..
-Dada, ekhane osudhu er dokhan kothaye pabo?
- Mam, if you go this way (blah blah) you will find it.
He replies back in English... 
Me replying back in Bangla again
- Achha, mane soja giye odike, tia to?
(oh you mean, I should go straight and then that way, right?)
- Yes man,
- Apni Bangla bolen ebong bojhen to?
(You understand and speak Bangla right?)
He smiles and nods and replies
-Yes mam..
 I glance quickly over to his name tag and yes, just what I thought.. the name was Subhendu Sil.

Did times change? Or did I change? Am I desperately trying to hold on to my Bengali identity and hoping to still be a member of a club where my membership might be expiring soon? Don't know exactly!

I don't speak English like North Americans.. I have an Indian Accent
I don't speak Hindi like non - Bengalis ... I have a Bengali accent
I can't speak in a Bangal Bhasha ... I have a Kolkata accent!

So I can't help but overcompensate when I'm in Kolkata.. no one can say I have a Hindi accent or a North American accent.. My bhasha.. spoken the way it should be..

Friday, May 16, 2014

Aami Sudhu Cheyechi Tomaye - A Preview

This movie was released today but unfortunately I was not able to catch the first day first show. Luckily, however, I was able to watch the HD quality trailer in YouTube. And below is my account of what I think the movie is about ...This movie is a joint venture between a Kolkata and a Bangladesh production house since they want to reach out to a broader audience. 

This seems to be an intense love story between Ankush and Subhasree. Or it could be a documentary on Subhasree's stalker. 

The story goes back to the protagonist's childhood  days. The boy had loved the girl from a very young age and kept yelling I love you to her. But unfortunately the girl didn't feel the same. So she kept yelling I hate you to the male protagonist. 

The guy is unable to deal with the rejection and becomes delusional. He keeps seeing her everywhere. Is the girl dead and her bhatakti hui atma is roaming around you say? No , she is alive.
 So the guy is determined that he HAS to win her heart by hook or by crook. So naturally he starts taking dancing and singing lessons hoping to catch her attention and impress her. He starts going to the same college as the girl and show cases his multi talents. He can slam dunk a basketball while not even facing the basketball court and is instantly popular. Obviously the girl is high maintenance and doesn't get impressed by this. So the boy has to hire backup dancers and start singing song the lyrics of which are directly from his heart. Here is a sneak peak:

Prem paise hayere
Monta tokei Chaye re
Prem er Kira kolje j Lafayere"

Let me attempt to translate this into English

" I want to love
I only want you
Love bugs in my liver are jumping"

He actually flies her to Thailand to present this song and dance routine to her. How do I know it is Thailand I'm guessing it is since there are interesting looking dragons dancing in the background to cheer on the guy.

But unfortunately the girl doesn't get wooed by this international production and show, setup just for her. Obviously the guy can't just give up. His friends are starting to sort of make fun of him now and a " true lubher " like him has to keep trying. 

So next he flies her to Bangladesh hoping that a song in Bangladeshi dialect will melt her heart. He pens another amazing song, the lyrics of which will give Salil Chowdhury or Gouri Prassan Majumdar a complex. The song goes like this: 

"Ore Bangladesher meye re tui
heila duila jaas.
Akbar jei ghuira takas,lage jhakkas.
Podda nodir Ilish khaiya,
Roop khana ki jhokjhoke banas."

I don't even know how to translate that into English. 

He changes t- shirts as well but the girls keeps giving him a very stern, go to hell look.

He is running out of means to try to woo her. In the mean time the girl has had enough. She meets him in an entirely empty library tells him off... She adds that she does not love him! I mean how could she?? All the guy is doing is stalking her, why would that be creepy?? 

The guys is super hurt  and turns badass! He decides to employ a different method to tug at her heart strings this time around. He tries to to make her jealous ... he starts rapping with other really 'hot' girls...Deal with that bitch! 

When ever that didn't work he tries to kiss her forcefully. Because that is right thing to do, when a girl clearly does not like you. No, that is not sexual harassment since it is coming from the "true lubher". When the boyfriend ( or could have been BF) of the girl asks him how did he have the courage to kiss her , he cooly replies, like a perfect badass...

 " ebar kiss korechi ee por love letter debo!" 

( I have kissed her this time, next time I'll give her a love letter)

 What a profound dialogue and what a threat!!!!! I had to pause my you tube video to fully understand the impact of this...

Okay, get this people even after such laborious efforts to woo her she has the gall to like wait, love someone else!! She says right on the guy's face that she LOVES someone else. This breaks our male protagonist... 

Reminds me of the Miley Cyrus's song .. Wrecking ball.. Especially the part breaaaaakkk mee...poor guy!

What happens after this??? 
Does the girl finally lose her mind completely and fall in love with the boy??
 Does the boy get psychiatric help? 

To know you have to watch this movie my dear folks.. It is out in the theaters near you (In Kolkata)... Ami sudhu sheyechi tomaye.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

9 things I learnt from Shah Rukh Khan :

1. Identify what people might thing is off about your upcoming film.

(Example : Romancing a 20 year younger actress and pretending to be same age as her)

2. Then be sure you address it in a humourous way, before anyone else can on national television.

3. Throw in a hint of arrogance and conceitedness here and there in your interviews. Adds to the whole glamour quotient.
(Example: In a documentary on yourself show a footage where you are telling someone that no one has achieved as much success as you in last 20 years in Bollywood... or casually mention the books written on you).

4. In the next scene in the same documentary tell people how success has humbled you!

5. Say really deep things once in a while like : "I always leave a part of me in the movies I make. So one day I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and have nothing left to offer."

6. Then within a few days of sharing such depth -   make a movie like Chennai Express!!

When media asks what was the point of this movie? Just cooly reply, "Entertainment. I'm here to make people happy and smile"

Don't you dare ask questions like - who are these people you are referring to? He might just point you at the box office success and you might feel like a fool.

7. If International media is asking this same question, change your answer a bit and say :

" In third world countries like ours (Yes, remind people- in case they forgot) , our dreams are much smaller, which is why we are not making movies where we are saving the earth from  meteors yet! Having a home, a job and settling down are dreams many of us are chasing. So the movie is a larger than life experience for those people."

8. If they ask you further, why Bollywood movies are mostly musicals answer like this:

First update the interviewer on how, it is slowly fading away.

But then, refer back to your previous answer and then say stuff like how in our culture there is at least one person in the every family who can sing , how it is such a an integral part of out culture.. or say you are selling easy escapes to lower middle class people in a much much nicer way!

(Really?!!? Yes, don't you remember dancing and singing randomly for you crush in college?

9. Work hard and say I love you to everyone you meet.

He is a self made man and he worked hard to get there no doubt about that. But it is very interesting to see how people of his stature handle questions from the media and I thought I share my observation. Well he himself said, " Love me or hate me but you can't ignore me! " - Right you are SRK!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rita's life as a Vegan!

Let me tell you a story about my friend, let's call her Rita. So Rita recently went Vegan!
That's right! From a very fish and chicken loving Bengali straight to ----> Vegan. If you don't know what vegan means, here is a definition from the internet :

So, basically, she stays away from animal products. Rita doesn't eat meat, fish or any diary products. Reason? Ethical. Watched a documentary called "Vegucated" and went Vegan, cold turkey! Not a lot of people can relate to this and  she ends up having fun conversation with people, trying to  "vegucate" them . Here are a few examples :

Friend/ Collegue:  Hey I'm throwing a dinner party this Friday! You should come. Any food allergies I should be aware of? Or anything you avoid eating?
Rita: Umm, actually I don't eat meat, fish or diary.
Invitor (is there such a word? Who cares!) : What? Why?
Rita: I'm vegan!
Invitor: oh! (sad and concerned face). What do you eat, then ? How do you get your protein? Can you drink?
First thing that comes to Rita's mind : Drink!!??!! What are you serving at this party?

But Rita is always nice and  ends up trying to explain the 5 Ws : Who What Where When and Why! And also along with the explanation she loses her invite to the next party, just like that!

The most hilarious interactions are with her uncle back in India

Uncle: Okay so explain this to me again. You are what?
Rita: Vee- gan! 
Uncle: Vegan?? So no animal products?
Rita: Yes, Jethu (timidly)
Uncle: Okay so you can eat fish right?
Rita: No, I don't eat fish anymore.
Uncle: What?? Why?

Jethu almost has a panic attack on the phone. He probably has no idea what to feed her next time she visits. Because according to the Rule # 1 in "How to entertain guests: Bengali Edition" You HAVE to overfeed your guests - how else can you show you them you love them?

 "Arektu ne" (take some more) comes the request when Rita is generally working on her third helping
- Na, na pet bhore geche (No, thanks I'm full)
- Really? Naki ranna kharap hoyeche? (Really,  or is it my cooking that sucks?)

Yeah so she is alienating her family and losing friends fast! But she is determined that the world will change one day and people will see things from her point of view. She will be able to go to restaurants and will not have to timidly murmer she is "Vegan"!
She will not try to hide the fact she is Vegan from people, dreading the half an hour long conversation that generally follows.. trying to explain her food choices..

She has decided to follow Gandhi's words:

                 " Keep Calm and be the Change you wish to see in the world"

Okay, that wasn't all Mahatma Gandhi, that was Mahatma Gadhi + some very intelligent person's .jpg image that came up on google search!

Okay, can I tell you a secret? I have no friend called Rita!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tollywood er news!

1. Parambrata can be seen next in Chotushkone, Roga Hobar Sohoj Upay. Don't forget his directorial venture Lorai.

2. Sesh bole kichu neyi - Jisshu's upcoming movie.

3. Jisshu can also be seen in the film  "Nayika " along with Raima Sen. It will be a biopic on Suchitra Sen. 

4. 2 of Raima Sen's films are realeasing on 16th May- Bari tar bangla and Children of war. 

5.  Prateik Babbar is going to act in a Bengali movie "Auroni Taukhon". It is a socio political drama! 

6. Rituparna to do a Marathi Film.

7. Arpita Chatterjee roped in for Onir's next "Shab" opposite debutant  Delhi based mode Ashis Bisht.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What happens to your social media presence after you die?

What happens to your social media accounts after you die ?
What if I say you could write and schedule letters to be sent out 50 years from today? Wouldn't that be cool? Apparently there is an app for that!

I found some interesting things that people have come up with to deal with social media presence after death. Some of these measure are are nice way to give your friends and families a closure they require. Some are thought provoking, and some ideas - I'm still trying to wrap my head around. I'm going to start with the most bizarre ones and then I'm going to work my way down to more "normal" ones. I put normal in quotation since, I know someone is bound to ask me who made you the judge of what is normal? No one and I could write another blog post about that! : is a social network with an online messaging service that allows you to send messages to the future by scheduling the exact date you wish them to be delivered to your recipients. And with the " post-morterm" feature, you can also schedule messages to be send only after you have passed away. In order to use this service, you must select people of your trust to notify them, after you have passed away.
They can deliver your messages to until 50 years from the day you send them.

My Thoughts :
Okay this sounds very dramtic, very  " Kuch Kuch Hota Hain" to me : "Beti you are turning 8 years today and let me tell you a story.. about Anjali"
What a relief, to SRK's film mom! She will no longer have to be a guardian of these letters. Anjali would receive the digital ones on all of her birthdays. Hopefully the computer will also have enough brains and try not to send letters to a 8 years old.. which will make her to try to ignite her dad's passion for his college sweetheart! It will give Tina a warning message when she is scheduling the delivery of these letters "Have you lost your mind ? She will be only 8 then!"
Ugh! I just ruined KKHH for myself.. I still love you SRK! I still think KKHH is magical!"
** tries to shut eyes really tight** to think "all izz well".
It can be fun/cool but at the same time be insensitive. Allow me to explain my self. 
So, say I am writing to my great grand daughter - Hi this is your grandmother.. This is 2014 and we are worried about global warming. Cool, very cool indeed. (No pun intended!)
But what if I'm writing to a friend and asking about how her husband is doing, and maybe they are not together anymore and she is still trying to get over it. Did my future dated letter open up a wound? Do I need to kick my future self posthumously? Who knows, right?
Pessimistic, you say? I say I'm just being practical! May be this app is made for someone more optimistic that myself. : This service will attempt to give you an afterlife avatar, a digital recreation of you which will communicate with your loved ones after you are dead. They will collect their data from all of the social media platforms you interact with today!

My Thoughts : All I'm going to say is, this is creepy. When people die,  you are supposed to hold on to their memories yet move on in life. I don't think this will allow my family to get a closure and I don't want that. Plus, my family will know it is not me and the intended effect this website is trying to achieve will not be fulfilled.

LivesOn : This is a Twitter app. The service uses Twitter bots powered by algorithms that analyse your online behaviour. It learns how you speak, so it can keep on scouring the internet, favouriting tweets and posting the sort of links you like, creating a personal digital afterlife.
 Guess what the tag line is ? "When your heart stops beating, you'll keep tweeting."

My thoughts : This difficult for me to grasp.  Would you really want your digital self to tweet? Yes the software would learn my ways of interacting today! But would there be any room for the digital "me" to  evolve? Will my digital self still tweet like me today, say 25 years from now? Would I like that? Can you imagine if I passed away when I was 15 and my digital self is tweeting with a zillion like in sentences today? Like so totally uncool! I word : Annoying!!

These are interesting : 

Webwill :  This is a virtual tool , which you can use to plan what will happen with your web presence across all social networks, web sites, blogs and games.  For example, you can prepare a final tweet or automatically send an e-mail to all your Gmail contacts. There is a free version  where they will deactivate all your social media accounts and in the paid version where customized messages can be sent out after your death. How do they know you are dead? In some countries they cross reference with the national birth and death registries. : This is kind of along the same lines as Webwill but a little but more personalized. Erica Swallow in her blog wrote :

For those interested in sending more personal messages -- confessions of love, apologies, "I told you so," a map to buried treasure -- there's If I Die. This company will also post a public Facebook message when you die (the message goes up when at least three of your appointed trustees tell the service you've died), but it can also send out private messages to specific people over Facebook or via e-mail.

Okay I think you better tell your loved ones that you are signing up for this otherwise it might not be very well accepted by them. They might think of it as a cruel joke or even worse that someone hacked into their loved one's account!
More "normal" ones:

Facebook :  If you die, your family can reach Facebook and either delete your account or make it a memorial. Only friends will be able to search you and post. Your contact information will be deleted. I thought this was a good idea, place where your friends and family can unite to grieve your loss.

Twitter : Just as Facebook, family members of the deceased can request Twitter to delete the account or get a permanent backup of the account.

I can't predict the future may be 50 years from now, this will be the trend! There are many other like these out there, for example, legacy locker and dead social that deal with your presence in social media, after you are no more. Apparently this is an emerging market, thought I share it and also share my thoughts with you. Isn't blogging all about that, anyway?