Monday, June 28, 2010

Mere Pass Maa ka Interview Hai!

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Tiger Trails Team  for the SUPER 4 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event in the history of blogging world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

It was one of those days. My editor had sent me to interview a weird personality again. It was not a problem for me, I'd done loads of interviews of variety of people from drunk superstars to sleeping beauties (!) But this was a tricky one for me. Loaded, maybe overflowing with emotion and tears, the quintessential Bollywood ki Maa was my interviewee!

I'd grown up watching Bollywood movies, but the Maa factor had always fascinated me. So I was looking forward to it as well. I reached the Haveli that she lived in and rung the bell (I was wondering if I should cry "MAAAAAAA" instead!)

She opened the door in a Tide-ki-safedi-white saari. It got me thinking about my own mom in flashback. (maybe its the bollywood effect). She invited me in and I followed her inside into the Haveli.
Wondering how to address her I simply said, “Hi Maa”
Just then she broke into tears all the while repeating her signature “Tumne mujhe Maa kaha!” at least 5 times. Oh God! this was not going to be easy!

We then started the interview. I asked her about her childhood to which I got a stunning reply. She did not have a childhood at all! She was directly born a Maa. I asked her how it was possible, to which she explained that every director wants to focus on the Hero’s childhood (at least in flashback) but there was no reference to the Maa’s childhood. After-all she had lived her whole life in the movies. She has no separate existence.

This was beginning to get all the more interesting. I decided to go for some serious grilling now...

Me: So how has life been for you in general? I mean you are not the usual  everyday human being you know.
Maa: Believe me beta it has been tough. I’ve gone blind 13 times only to get back my eyesight from the lights of Sai Baba’s mandir. Believing in God has been one of the greatest principles of my life.
Me: Oh I can imagine the agony you must have been through.
Maa: You never can. I’ve undergone surgeries all over the world with no time to recuperate because the next film is always waiting. Plus most of the time I was made to travel on foot, so my back hurts as hell. Its not easy being a mother you see...

Me: What do you think about Hollywood then?
Maa: Hollywood moms have the easiest life out there. Wearing Gucci and YSL and what not while I’m tied up to this white Saree all the time only because my husband had to die so that my son could live. Hollywood moms sleep around all the time. But I’m a strict Pativrata. I don’t like all these things.

Me (a bit uncomfortable now): But people all over the world salute the Bollywood Maa...
Maa: Why shouldn’t they? I’m one poor suffering soul who lives for others. I’m bound to be worshiped. Considering the god-forbidden-things their moms do, I’m like an epitome of purity.

Me: So true... So tell me some interesting incident from your reel life.
Maa: (smirks) As if I have a Real Life! Well once these people from a NGO crashed onto the sets to complain about my crying on screen. They said that most of the area was suffering from droughts and I was crying buckets on screen. People had even stopped crying because they couldn’t afford to lose anymore water. The director had to halt shooting for two days. I was so relieved that I’d get two days off, but at that moment itself my son returned home with a tattoo that said “Mera Baap Chor Hai”. Imagine my frustration, having to roam from laser clinic to laser clinic to find someone who could get rid of it, but all in vain. Finally the director decided to use it in the movie itself!

Me: (Eyebrows raised) Oh so that was how it..... Umm never mind. Lets talk about the famous Gajar ka Halwa now.
Maa: DON'T YOU DARE! You people have taken me for granted! You leave the poor me and get lost somewhere for years and then return and expect me to whip up some halwa in a jiffy? Are Gajar ka season bhi nahi hai ab to! Plus there is no sugar in the house.

Me: I was not asking you to make it.
Maa: Then it ok. These day everyone is asking me about it. So I got a little worked up. Sorry. I feel I’ve made more halwa in my life than the nukkad wala halwai himself! Sometimes he even asks if I got any surplus left!

Me: Oh OK never mind. So what have you been up-to lately? Movies are changing fast these days. You finding it easier to adapt?
Maa: Not a bit. Its been a long journey for me. These days mom’s don’t get much roles in movies. So I’m kinda jobless most of the time.Plus these days the director makes me wear negligees and seduce older men, which frankly I find disgusting. Before the only worry was whether my Beta will come home alive. Now I have to worry about his sexual orientation as well. I thank God if he is straight. But when I see him clinging to another guy, I see 9 months of my life go down the drain! Its not easy to swallow you see. I mean the Truth is not easy to swallow. (winks)

With these words she gets me a cup of tea. I say “Are itni kyu taklif ki” to which she get dramatic again and say “Bete ke liye banai hai. Isme taklif kaisi?” I make a mental note to be aware of potential words that may spark her emotions.

We return to the interview.
Me: Lets talk about your Bahus now.
Maa: (sighs) I’ve spent my whole life in the movies. I wonder why my sons believe I can’t spot their acting... I see these gals struggling to carry of those Sarees they are wearing. Hell they can’t even bend to touch my feet without showing off some or the other part of their bodies. Jo umar bhar bikini pehente ayi ho, woh ek din mein saaree kya pehenegi! Sometimes I think they’re just in for my sons’ money. But after all it is all about mere bete ki khushi. So usually I keep my thoughts to myself and agree to the proposal. Waise bhi they can’t cook mera wala Gajar ka Halwa!

Me: And your Betas?
Maa: Mostly I’ve been blessed with good sons. Even if they go rogue during the movie, they become good at the end. Sab bollywood ki maya hai! But these days I’m worried. I see lot of these vrudhhashrams running these days. Before it was not a problem. But now I fear even my sons may consider putting me in one of those. So I’m planning for the future. But its next to impossible to work out these new insurance company plans.
Me: Speaking of the future... What are your future plans?
Maa: As I told you... Films these days do not need the Maa character at all. Hell time will come when even the lead actress will become obsolete. But I haven’t thought much into the future right now. Maybe I get a nice retirement and spend the rest of my days relaxing in this haveli. (Looks out of the window)

Me: Are you expecting someone?
Maa: Mere Karan Arjun ayenge. I had asked them to get a plumber to fix the bathroom pipes. So waiting for them. But Mere Karan Arjun jaroor ayenge!

Me: Last question. Do you have any message for the people of today?
Maa: Tum to mere bete jaise ho... Only thing I would like to say is: Stay good to your parents. Don’t act in any way that would hurt them or make them repent of the time they gave birth to you. The same way, as myself, even the Earth is your mother. So take care that you do not hurt her in any way (I’m surprised how she inserted the Green element so effortlessly! Now that will win some brownie points!) Tumne achha kiya to tumhara achha hi hoga.

The last line touched me and I decided to follow it in my life too. Saying goodbye to Maa was not easy. She came to see me off at the doorstep and I could see tears in those eyes. Suddenly I felt my heart get heavy. I hugged her and promised her that I’ll be back soon, not giving a date, making her wait, like she always does for all her sons. It had been the best interview of my life and the first thing I want to do it thank my editor for letting me do it.

Here is our magazine: Click on the image to download the pdf version.

Check out the works of the great minds of the people behind The Sunday Roar.

Debosmita’s in-depth article on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Sudhakar’s racy account of ‘The Domestic Olympics’

Sudhakar’s intriguing thriller (crime fiction)

Neha’s unique limerick on Indian politics,

Pallavi’s quick comic/55-er on power of media

Rashmi’s interesting travel journal – City City Bang Bang

Kanagu’s analysis of Print Versus Electronic media

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dark Lord - 55-er

The Dark Lord rose to stark silence. He looked around as his followerss bent down on their knees and he felt a sense of immortality flowing through his veins. There was probably not a single thing that he couldn't do. He simply had done it all. And the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Rajnikanth!

PS: I'm aware that there is at least one typo in the post, but as Rajnikant's keyboard doesn't have a backspace key, I'm keeping it that way!

Thanks Meg for the pic. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The 12 Commandments

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Tiger Trails Team for the SUPER 5 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event in the history of blogging world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

Don’t you all wonder what happens after death? Oh I need not wonder about it as you come to me after you die. You think that birth and death are destined, but I think otherwise. Your birth and death are not destined, but they are assigned; assigned by me – the Almighty. I have this peculiar habit of writing down everything that happens around me. My each  and every day is like an episode. I am the sole writer present here in Hellven. Hellven – a place between heaven and hell – and thus I go by the pseudonym I have been given, of Blogger Almighty, as bloggers write!

I know! Human beings are strange!

I meet so many people in a day. My job is to take care of the western part of India and my largest client is Mumbai city. Each day so many people are born here and equal number of them die. I meet only those who are happy that they are dead (less work for me) and avoid those who don't want to be dead yet (they are a pain, trust me!).

I remember meeting one such interesting person – Duplicate. Sadly though, Duplicate came to me when he was 14. He died at such a young age – at the age when he might not even have thought of a life after death. He was all smiles after looking at his white and cleans robes. I would not blame him. All his life, he had lived in ragged clothes; thus our standard and boring robes were heaven for him. Humans!

Duplicate was full of curiosity and innocence. Something about him made me curious too to know about his life story. He started narrating:

It was a typical Mumbai monsoon evening when my mother went into labor. She did not have enough money to go to a private nursing home located at the end of the street where we had our hut on the Tulsi Pipe Road footpath. She was a poor beggar and lived off the food provided by those traveling in the swanky cars while the money was soaked up by  dad’s liquor. She already had had four children before, but two of whom had died within one year of their birth So I was the latest one, to add to the species of beggars in the city.

My birth was the worst thing that must have happened to my mother physically. (Irony eh?) It was raining cats and dogs. Floods made the situation worse for us. There was traffic and chaos all around us. Mother could not go to any hospital and delivered me on the street under a big hoarding. The hoarding was that of a movie – Duplicate – thus the name. Mother died after a few hours of by my birth due to lack of medical attention. I don’t even know whether I had had her milk or not, but my attachment to her was nil  (well except the cord) because she had given me this horrible life.

Since the time I remember, I always slept on a half empty stomach I rarely remember having a decent meal at night. I envied kids of my age who went to school and I started with small jobs, begging and sometimes stealing at the age of 7! My first ever brush with the cops was at 9. A failed pick-pocket attempt saw me getting beaten black and blue by the mob and then a night spent behind the bars. That one night in hell made me resolve not to commit any more crimes in my life.

I decided to earn a respectable life for myself. I enrolled in the local government school but the clerks demanded extra money for admission! You tell me, Blogger Almighty, how I could have afforded an extra thousand rupees?

My father was an alcoholic and used to be ill most of the the time. He hardly ever went to work, and lived off the meager earnings of my two sisters and I. My sisters used to work in the local factory manufacturing plastic dolls. They had to work long-hours, in a dim-lit small room along with 100 other girls. They soon contracted some skin disease. May be the plastic was poisonous. My sisters died of skin cancer at a young age, without any treatment.

I was 12 years when I met Ramlal, the local drug mafia. All of us were extremely afraid of him because he would befriend kids, give them some medicinal pills and take them away. They would never be seen again. He noticed me at the traffic signal and asked me to meet him the next day. I was trembling all throughout our meeting. I had made up my mind to tell him that I had resolved not to go down the dark alley of crimes ever in my life again. He asked me my problems and listened patiently. I was wondering why he took so much interest in my life.

I did not have to wait long to find out. In that dark room, He did God-forbidden things to me and my body. “You are a good-looking young boy,” he told me. “From now on, I shall pay for your education, so that you grow up to be a bright young man. But you must not tell about this to anyone”

But this promise was not to be kept. Ramlal died after a few months, of some dangerous disease. Nobody was willing to talk about the cause of his death.

My life as a footpath-dweller, child laborer and beggar continued. Slowly, my health deteriorated. I started getting fatigued easily. Finally, I decided to visit the local doctor. “Go to the health clinic tomorrow and get these tests done. Don’t worry, they will do it for free, was his hurried advice after examining me. He behaved as if I had contracted some contagious germ.

After the test results, I knew why Ramlal died. I also knew that my end was nearing too. Ramlal had given me the virus which will kill me eventually and then, bring me to you.

After hearing his tragic story, I immediately knew that it was time for me to do something about it. Mankind has been continuing like this for ages now, and if serious strictures are not passed now, time is not far away when they will regret taking birth itself. 

  • Thou Shall ensure free and quality medical treatment for all. 
  • Thou Shall ensure that no mother dies during child birth because of lack of medical treatment. 
  • Thou Shall ensure proper nutrition for all children and bring down infant mortality rate. 
  • Thou shall ensure protection and preservation of the environment. 
  • Thou shall ban plastic and all toxic, non-bio-degradable waste. 
  • Thou shall ensure access to food for all. 
  • Thou shall ensure free and quality education for all. 
  • Thou shall not indulge in or encourage corruption. 
  • Thou shall implement laws to prohibit child labor.  
  • Thou shall bring in and strictly implement laws regarding sexual offenses . 
  • Thou shall bring down HIV AIDS contamination through awareness and prevention. 
  • Thou shall condemn substance abuse.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Question

She glanced towards me... A little scared, a little confused. I gave her an assuring smile that maybe boosted her confidence a little. She inched closer towards me locking her eyes with mine; piercing, inquiring... Nervously looking around, she spoke in a hushed voice...

"Beta Passbook update karke milega kya?"
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