Sunday, July 22, 2007

Autorickshaw "Travails"

I have lasted a whole year at my new (and first) job! And what an eventful year it has been, in more ways than one. I have met loads and loads of interesting people, some who have become good friends. But this post is not about these interesting people; it is about some other “interesting” people that my friends and I have come across – the ubiquitous Auto Rickshaw-wallahs!
Most of us have to travel by auto to office, and in doing so, we have come across some of the most colorful Rick-wallahs, and I am not referring to just their clothing!
My office was earlier located at Hiranandani, Powai. So a bunch of us used to meet up at Kanjurmarg station, and try and get a Rick-wallah to take us to Hiranandani. And that was no mean task! Sometimes we have had to wait for 15 minutes, trying to persuade a Rick-wallah to agree to take us to our destination. And in the process we have received some of the dirtiest looks from many a Rick-wallah! It’s like they are thinking, “How dare you even ask me that question?!”
Or some put on a really pensive expression on their face, trying to decide, I guess, upon the pros and cons of taking us to our destination! And in the end, most of these “Mr. Pensives” shake their head regretfully and zoom away, leaving us gagging on the fumes! One of my friends, RT says that it’s like we are asking them to marry us, and that’s why they have such ponderous expressions on their faces!
Some also give us explanations for why they would rather not take us, “Nahi mai-dum, wahan bahut traffic rehta hai. (No ma’m, there is too much traffic in that area).”
But the craziest incidents have occurred when the big bosses of our company decided to change the office location to SV road. It has to be one of the worst areas in Mumbai! It is tiring just getting to this place because of the massive traffic jams, which we have to endure every single day.

Anyway, two of my friends, JJ, RT and I decided to meet up at GTK station every morning to “rick” it to office. As usual most of the Rick-wallahs would either give us dirty or apologetic looks, or just ignore everyone trying to hail them down and speed away. Most of the times the Rick-wallahs who agree to take us to SV road, have never heard of it!
And getting back to GTK station is just as bad! One Rick-wallah had actually said, “Woh manhoos jagah kaun jayega?! (Who will go to that god-forsaken place?)”

An “incident” occurred on the very first day that we took this route. All three of us were talking non-stop. When we had stopped at a signal, the Rick-wallah, a rather thin, stern-looking man, suddenly turned around and to our utter shock said, “Aap log kitni baat kar raheein hai! Thodi der ke liye chup ho jaeeye, sab dekh rahein hai!! (You people are talking so much! Please be quiet for sometime, people are looking!!)” We were left speechless by this outburst! I actually looked around to see if anyone was actually looking in!
JJ was the first to recover and said that we can’t help if people look, and we continued our conversation, but in lowered tones.

Another incident occurred after we had discovered a less congested route to SV road. It is simply referred to as Pipeline road, as a huge pipe runs down its entire length. It is quite narrow and passes through a market place. So we would direct all the Rick-wallahs to take us through this road.
One time, as usual, we told the Rick-wallah to take the Pipeline road. He turned to go towards the place, but overshot the tiny opening of the lane. We all shouted, “Bhaiyya (Brother)! Pipeline road! Left turn!” only to have him brake hard. He looked resolutely ahead, shook his burly head and stated, “Market se to main kabhi nahi jaaoonga (I will never go through the market!” We tried to convince him saying that we take this route everyday and that it is always traffic free. To which he demanded for us to get out! He was behaving like a petulant child and I was convinced that at any moment he would jump out of the auto, stamp his foot and throw a tantrum!
So we just sat there for a few seconds, after which I said, “Ok, at least turn around and take the other route.” He sullenly turned around his vehicle and we trundled down the regular route. But he seemed to be quite angry and began driving quite rashly, as if to punish us for our impertinence! But we did reach office in one piece!

Another time a really funny incident occurred. This time we were going back to GTK station from office. The Rick-wallah this time looked barely 18 years old. My friend RT, who is (or rather was!) a big Abhishek Bachchan fan, was a bit upset that he had gotten married, and stated that he should not have "done the deed". The Rick-wallah piped in just then and said, “Par Abhisek ki saadi nahi huyee hai (Abhishek has not gotten married).” All of us were quiet for a while, and I wondered if I had heard right. As RT and JJ weren’t sure of what he said either, JJ asked him what he had said. He once again said, “Par Abhisek ki saadi nahi huyee hai”. So JJ said, “Yeh log Abhishek Bachchan ki baat kar rahein hai (They are talking about Abhishek Bachchan)”. To which he reacted as if he had had an epiphany, “Ohh! Aap Abhisek Bachchan ki baat kar rahi hai! Mera naam bhi Abhisek hai, aur meri saadi nahi huyee hai! (You are talking about Abhishek Bachchan! My name is also Abhishek, and I am not married yet!)”
At this I dissolved into giggles, especially on seeing the look on RT’s face! She looked like she had been slapped! Abhisek Rick-wallah had left her speechless, which is an achievement in itself!
Sadly, since the past few months our little auto misadventures have all but stopped. The office has started a bus service. JJ has moved to another city, while RT is going to leave for another country soon. I’m going to miss these two girls and our auto rides...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Countdown 2006 - Part IV

Here are my top 5 songs of 2006. I love all of these songs, and it has been a bit hard to rank them! I could listen to each of these songs over and over and over again...

5. Neele Neele Aasman Talay
Movie: Holiday
Music: Ranjit Barot
Lyrics: Neelesh Misra
Artists: Shreya Ghoshal & Vijay Prakash

This song is like a light, fluffy lemon suffle! I have not watched this movie so I don't really know how this song was picturized. It conjures up images of a clean, white beach with the lead pair in turns running around on the beach and in turns just lazily lying around. This has to be one of the most melodious songs that I have ever heard!

4. Ajnabi Shehar
Movie: Jaan-e-mann
Music: Anu Mallik
Lyrics: Gulzar
Artist: Sonu Nigam

I HATED "Jaan-e-mann"!! I thought that it was the worst movie of 2006! But most of the songs in this movie are quite good, and "Ajnabi Shehar" is the most divine composition in this album. Anu Mallik really surpasses himself with this song. And Sonu Nigam is absolutely, totally, completely, utterly FABULOUS! Gulzar's lyrics are very imaginative. I especially like the second antara:

"Baat hai yeh ek raat ki
Aap badalo pe letey the
Woh yaad hai aapne bulaya tha
Sardi lag rahi thi aapko
Patli chandi lapetey the
Aur shawl mein khwaab ke sulaya tha
Ajnabi thi sahi saans mein silgayi
Ajeeb hai yeh zindagi yeh zindagi ajeeb hai
Mere nahi ye zindagi rakeeb ka naseeb hai..."

3. Mitwa

Movie: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Artist: Shafqat Ali, Shankar Mahadevan, Caralisa

I would put this song in the same category as "Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam" from DDLJ and "Dholna" from "Dil Toh Pagal Hai". For me it has that slightly breathless feel that one would get when one realizes that the person you love loves you back. And this knowledge fills you with a sense of freedom like you have never experienced before.
I also like "Tumhi Dekho Naa" from this movie.
My favorite antara is:

"Jeevan dagar mein prem nagar mein
Aaya nazar mein jab se koi hain
Tu sochta hain tu puchata hain
Jiski kami thi kya yeh wohi hain
Haan yeh wohi hain
Tu ek pyasa aur yeh nadi hain
Kaahe nahi isko tu khulke bataye
Jo hai ankahee jo hai ansuni
Woh baat kya hai bata
Mitwa kahe dhadkan hai tujhse pyar
Mitwa yeh khudse toh na tu chhupa"

2. O Saathi Re
Movie: Omkara
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics: Gulzar
Artists: Shreya Ghoshal and Vishal Bhardwaj

I think that this is one of the most romantic songs ever!

Vishal Bhardwaj is a really talented man. Not only is he a good music director but a good film director too. Some directors go on and on about how the songs in their movie "take the story forward" or "give more insight into the characters", and after watching the movie I feel that the director had just been talking through his hat! This song forms a wonderful setting that showcases Omkara and Dolly's relationship. My favorite line comes in the beginning of the second antara:

"Kabhi, kabhi yun karna, main daantu aur tum darna..."

1. Tu Bin Bataaye
Movie: Rang De Basanti
Music: A. R. Rahman
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
Artists: Madhushree & Naresh Iyer

This song, composed by the incomparable A. R. Rahman, is also one of the most romantic songs that I have ever heard. Madhushree and Naresh Iyer take this song to another level altogether. I regard it as the best song from "Rang De Basanti", and this movie does have some brilliant songs, right from the rambunctious title track to "Luka Chhipi".

"Meethi lagi, chakh ke dekhi abhi
Mishri ki dali, zindagi ho chali
Jahan hain teri baahein mera sahil wahin
Tu bin bataye mujhe le chal kaheen
Jahan tu muskuraye meri manzil wahin..."