A Letter Of Advise On Humility To My Own Younger Self


I am saying this because I can advise you, I think I have the privilege to and more importantly it is a treasured responsibility (not really).

Calling someone names, cherishing the pleasure of beating someone over enjoying your win, doing tit for tat, punching back harder for you just got punched are not always the best actions. These are actions that suit a fifth grader, not an adult.

Deriding the other person in response to their misbehaviour is a sign of an insecure self, it makes you a lesser person. And, in no way better than the other one.

Insulting someone in front of others is not a responsible act, even when the person in question deserves much worse. Doing so might look right but believe me it is not.

Some might pat your back, but the wiser ones will never approve. They never will.

For the things on highs someday or the other will face the lows. It’s the way universe functions, the balance gets restored. Humility thus is not overrated it is a quality that will guide you home when all else fails.

Success unknowingly breeds arrogance. Failure, on the other hand, begets resentment. The presence of humility negates both the by-products.

During hard times arrogance breaks you in bits and pieces until you become despondent. Conversely, humility helps you bounce back, see you through the long dark nights of lows.

I can go on writing about other things, but I’ll keep it to what is really important at this time.

Until next time.


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Of honoring that last conversation


“The flight is about to take off, please fasten your seat belt” the air hostess woke him up. It had only been him 5 minutes in his seat; he dozed off. He was sleep deprived. Meetings scheduled across three cities in a span of 5 days had taken a toll on him.

He missed home; it was only a matter of this flight to land and a couple more hours for him to reach home. His pregnant wife awaited him; this day was her due date.

He looked out of the window; the morning sun was peeping out through the quilt of white, hazy clouds. Ready to wake itself up, and everyone else. Staring at the first rays of light, he thought of the time when he believed fairy tales were real. Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Arabian Nights, he grew up reading them. Anything that was too good to be real, he picturized it with clouds in the background.

With the delirium setting in, he dozed off again.

A slight turbulence displaced him in his seat; he woke up to see that the clouds were now dark. The plane had covered a significant distance in all the while he slept.

All it takes is a moment of unconsciousness to get from brighter side to the gloomy one.

Looking at the dark clouds, a horrifying memory of that fateful night three years back flashed right back to his mind.

That night he talked to his girlfriend over the phone. During the conversation, she jokingly said if they ever have a girl child she would name her Tehzeeb. Named after his immaculate manners. They laughed. He said the usual ceremonious Good Night, kept the phone and slept.

The next morning he woke up to receive a dreadful news. His girlfriend was no more. She along with her family got killed in an armed robbery, in the wee hours of the night. It all seemed impossible to believe; the news sent ripples of shocks to him.

He was madly in love with her, her unprecedented departure from his life broke his spirits. Against the wish of their parents they had decided to get married, he was Christian, and she was a Muslim. Both well educated, working in MNC’s had little consideration for religion to be a deciding factor.

What lay ahead of him after her death were months of insurmountable depression.

Six months after the incident he moved to another city. His friends convinced him to start seeing girls and get married. A year and a half after he lost her, he threw in the towel and decided to move on.

He had now managed to break himself free from the shackles of his past. Sorrow slowly gave way for hope to settle in, anguish left his heart; joy replaced it. And, he got married.

The plane landed, he switched on his mobile to know that his wife was already in the hospital. He rushed through the crowd, zig-zagging, got into a cab in a hurry and left for the hospital.

It was 11:07 AM, he had the deepest satisfaction of becoming a father and his newborn daughter in his arms. Tears came rolling down his cheeks; he named her ‘Tehzeeb’.

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The Seven Kinds of Freaks in every Gym

cyanide and happiness gym

In the corporate park that has half a floor of a Wing, dedicated to the company I work for there’s a common Gym. A few committed individuals turn up in gym to do their bit about desk jobs, junk food, bulging bellies, flabby bums, lack of social life and what not.

In my few months stint at the gym, I have made some curious observations which I am happy to share with you, my dear reader. Take whatever you read with a pinch of salt or garlic. No matter what you take here are some of the type of people and their behavior I have taken the pleasure to observe and record.

  1. The guy who shouts a lot (Alas! after three months still no muscles show up):

    This guy shouts so hard lifting weights as if the only part getting worked out is his throat. Embarrassed by the noises, a few poor muscles show up but only for a while. Then they are like duh! Back to normal.

  2. The stud who follows regime religiously:

    This guy knows his shit, wouldn’t talk much, only smile, nod, do his stuff and leave in silence. He follows the unwritten rules of the gym like keeping stuff back at its place, helping other folks whenever required.

  3. The trainer who exclusively trains women:

    Now that’s no surprise you would say. If men had the option to pick who to train, it would always be the opposite sex. But no, this guy goes to extents one can only imagine. Consider these scenarios-

    #1 – A new guy comes to the gym and walks up to the trainer seeking advice, he tells some stuff. At most he would demo it once and it ends. 

    #2 A lady enters the gym; the very second trainer spots her he gets all charged up and goes up to her like a sniffer dog to RDX. Now he is a personal trainer to the lady. When she’s in, he’s busy as hell; guys don’t even exist for him anymore.

    Once in a blue moon–> Guy 1 is getting trained by the trainer
    …Moments later…
    Guy 2 to Guy 1 What’s wrong? Did you wear a ladies perfume today?

  4. The guy who visibly lost weight and gained respect:

    It is commendable to witness weight loss that is intentional, done in a gym, sweating, running and exercising. Imagine the sheer volume of people that are obese, out of those who want to lose fat, then those who act upon it, then the fraction who succeed. This guy’s transformation isn’t an Ambani’s son kind of fat loss; it is merely an evidently visible tummy to no more bulging out belly. Even though he only lost a few kgs his dedication is inspiring.

  5. The girl with faultless moves:

    Watch this girl working out and play a voice-over in your head commenting live on her movements, it becomes a youtube video. The only difference is the girl is in front of you, the video is live. She’s impeccably moving dumbbells to and fro, up and down, inclining on yoga mat, rolling legs over ball, gosh!  She is a constant source of inspiration in gym for guys and girls alike, more so for guys, obvious reasons apply.

  6. The guy who’s not shy of ogling at women:

    Two chaps working out in gym, one guy checks out a girl then looks at the other guy, both smile. Now that’s how it usually happens between blokes, right? But wait no, there’s this one guy who stares at the ladies. He doesn’t smile when caught, he continues to stare for as long as it makes the lady, others uncomfortable. He makes you cringe loud inside. He deserves a punch in the face with a 20kg dumbbell.

  7. The uncle who thinks he can do better but farts while kicking:

    Dear Uncle, first of all kudos for getting into the gym but that stiff upper lip attitude of a British isn’t helping your cause. This uncle acts as if he’s the best there is, sadly it ain’t the case. He is fat, rude and his demeanor clumsy. It is best to let him be, ignore or exceptionally laugh, period.

While there are other characters in gym as well I chose to write about these seven for they were the ones I distinctly recall. Wherever we go, whoever we meet there are some peculiarities we see, notice and distinguish people on them. Who knows may be someone else has classified me as some guy at the gym narcissistic who never ceases to show-off. (that’s not me BTW 😛 )

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Of Holding On and Letting Go

Of Holding On Or Letting Go

Three years back, it was summer when they decided to part ways as amicably as they could. Sitting across him in their favorite restaurant, she looked him in the eye and promised she will not call anymore. Overwhelmed with emotions, she looked away, determined to walk away she held his hand that one last time and left. That was it.

She broke her resolve a week later when she picked the phone to dial his number in the middle of the night. It went unanswered. Minutes later she received a text saying if they talked they’ll never be able to part ways, and if they are to talk does she intend to get back together? She typed a reply she never sent. That ended the communication, then and there. It was as if a natural cycle had come to a sudden, abrupt end. She felt incomplete, but she was strong enough to wither through hard times that lay ahead.

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

In her case love came fast and never left. He never left her heart. Months after the breakup dressed in ethnic wear she found herself in a room with two families. She knew one family not the other one; sadly both families didn’t know her. She looked each one of them in the eye, searching for her true self. Each of those reflection meant nothing; nobody knew her true self as she would’ve liked to be known. She felt abandoned.

A year and two months after the breakup she finally got over him, as it seemed. What occupied her mind most of the time now became rare. The prominence of thoughts around him in her mind declined, the healer was time. She was almost at peace. The struggle of day to day life took over and as it turned out she was to get married in a month’s time.

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you’ll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies

A year and three months after breakup standing in front of a giant mirror, surrounded by friends she’s dressed as a bride. Hours later she’s supposed to share the bed with this nice guy, who she realized after a month of courtship she is incapable of loving. She gets ready for the ceremony while her thoughts wander down the memory lane taking her back and forth from the past to present.

Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

A year after marriage, she has everything that makes other people perceive her to be happy. Deep down, under the false facade of her beautiful wide smile, she is deeply sad. But nobody can tell.

A fine Sunday morning she receives a call from a close friend. To her dismay she’s told that the guy she once loved hasn’t married yet, plans to stay single and is doing reasonably well with his life. She keeps the phone, sipping coffee in the comfort of her lavish house her mind begins to contemplate possibilities.

Thinking for some time brings her to the reason for their breakup. They broke up because their parents wouldn’t have agreed, he had a loan to repay, a year to graduate, a sister to be married. All it required was waiting, which they thought could be inordinate and hence the breakup.

She loved him when they broke-up, she loved him then, and she loved him now even after being married. It was always there in the hearts of her heart. She would silently think about him, smothered by the bonds of family and then marriage. And now the knowledge of the guy’s wait for her pierced through her heart.

While still in the living room, she looks at the home theatre system, Italian sofa set, Chinese artworks on the wall and all the luxuries of the life she leads. Possessing all these amounts to nothing, she would happily give up everything just to be with the love of her life.

She doesn’t know whether this is the right thing to do or not. But in this moment of realization, she picks up the phone to text him back after three years to their breakup. He calls back.

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Of clashing Egos and succumbing Heartbeats

He gains consciousness & finds himself lying on a stretcher inside an ambulance. He does not feel his body; it’s all numb. He looks at the oxygen mask & the white light, listens to incessant honking, sirens blowing and gets delusional. His mind takes him to the night three months back. That night they watched the movie “As good as it gets”. Nisha, his fiancee, loved Helen Hunt in it. Later that night the movie title got stretched to ‘as sexy as it gets’, to ‘as close as it gets’; they laughed. Laying in bed as she tickled the black birthmark on his shoulder, she said that “It is as dark as it gets“.

His wandering mind gets into a maze, a labyrinth of memories and mathematical concepts; he loved math and taught Physics for a living. He gets lost but keeps regaining consciousness as a mathematical variable trying to become constant. Back and forth, like a pendulum.

45 minutes before, a traffic light turned red, vehicles across the road moved ahead to cross the square towards the other side. A guy in an expensive car jumped the light, hit a bike, bumped a pole, kissed another car and raced ahead. Minutes later the only guy with serious injuries was in the ambulance.

300 meters ahead of the ambulance two egos were clashing one driving a bus other a car, causing a 2 km long traffic jam. There were no cops on duty this side of the city as a minister’s ego required special measures for road conveyance. Amidst all that, his heartbeats were gradually sinking in the ocean of big fat unrelenting egos. Trying to fight, hold back a little longer to see another day, to breath another second, to live another time.

He could feel his valiant heartbeats were about to succumb. He looked at the black nurse, thought of ‘as dark as it gets’. Smiled and smiled forever, ever.

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Of Ambition and out of Love

It wasn’t just another morning jog for her. This morning she ran as if running away from her past demons. It had been one month since her breakup with the boy she thought loved her more than anything in this world. That’s what he recited every night before saying good night on the phone. She believed it, with all her heart. This past one month was traumatic; she missed him as a parched land would long for raindrops, as a retired soldier yearns for days of glory and war. Her soul was like that of a person crippled by an unfortunate accident, denied its full potential, forever.

Two months have passed; she thinks she’s slowly getting over him. Young love lasts longer in memory and heart; she was told. It is summer break; she turns to painting, her hobby and the only thing that can completely occupy her attention for the time being. For as long as she is awake she paints. Pictures of houses with kids playing outside, of mountains and terrains, of mosques and faith, of obscure feelings, of abstract ideas. One week and 36 of them get done. She wouldn’t have done this in another year. Finally, she could make good use of her sorrow and the impending boredom of spending summer with a sore heart.

A stroke of good luck struck her. Persistence bears fruit every single time, and she stood witness to struggles of now rich Uncle Tom with making a living and a stammering elder brother who eventually became a professor. She unclenched herself from the deathly hollows of a broken heart to explore her newfound interest in life. And she stumbled upon ambition.

Several thousand kilometers away in a 108 floors building on the 27th floor, in the corner office sat a young lad taking over reigns of his father’s empire after forcefully marrying a business tycoons daughter. His father’s ambition had brought him there, leaving behind the love of his life. And somewhere in the girl’s heart ambition hijacked the purpose of life, love.

ambition over love

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Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation

*spoilers alert*

mission impossible rogue nation

The film is the fifth in the franchise of Mission Impossible, which had the first film released 19 years ago. We still remember the drop of sweat about to fall onto the floor, the superbikes fighting it out, the Rabbit’s foot we still don’t know about and the Burj Khalifa pull-off. That’s what I starkly remember from the four movies of the series. This one is special, Tom Cruise is now 53, Christopher McQuarrie has directed Cruise before, but this is their first MI movie. The trailer had set the tone exhilarating and expectations high.

The movie begins with an army airplane about to carry poisonous gas; Cruise and team are to prevent it from flying with it. So Ethan goes for a Hunt and jumps onto the wing, runs all the way to the door, clings to it and the theater goes all Whoa! Those 15 seconds are amazing. You are into the Mission Impossible zone, and you know it.

So then comes the time when Ethan gets reassured that the Syndicate exists. It is antithetical to the brazenly named IMF (Impossible Mission Force). Then begins Hunt’s love affair with a women spy working for the rival syndicate, but both are still caring enough for each other.

There is this four-minute opera scene (Venice) that is for me the best part of the movie apart from the action sequences. The music plays in harmony with the happenings, below is a video with commentary from Christopher McQuarrie demonstrating how they set it and how well it turned out.

Here is the original source of this video:

Ethan becomes fugitive, the CIA is after him. Benji comes to his rescue and joins him in the process. The plot gets interesting before losing its shine in the second half.

Towards the second half, Ethan travels to Casablanca, holds his breath, goes short of oxygen and predictably makes it out safe. Pulling off an underwater mission impossible that doesn’t look challenging, though. Then comes the car chase, followed by adrenaline pumping bike chase. I particularly liked the direction of bike chase.

So then there is someone called a villain who doesn’t intentionally orders to pull the trigger and goes on to give chances. He is a weak link that essentially is a result of a lacking script. In the end, he gets played by Hunt. There comes that moment, strangely the women (Ilsa) chooses not to kiss, instead picks to hug Hunt. And that’s about how Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation impresses with stunts, actions, lacks on script side and overall manages to do good. It is worth the time, money for it has Ethan Hunt “THE LIVING MANIFESTATION OF DESTINY.”

4/5 stars

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Piku Movie Review_Amitabh Bachchan_Deepika_blog

From the looks of it the movie is simple, straight story of an adult woman and her constipated father. Through the first 20 minutes the movie tests patience and if you pass it the rest 100 minutes are smooth. I am saying this because the camera during those first few minutes is constantly shifting focus from faces to faces.

Amitabh as old Banerjee perfectly embodied the eccentric character, meeting expectations. He is so good that Piku the main character at times gets side-lined. Deepika as Piku gives a reasonable performance. Piku as buddying young independent professional suits Deepika but there are still some lacks especially when she argues, gets angry. Coming to Rana Choudhary, the witty, blunt Taxi fleet owner played by Irfan Khan; his scenes with Amitabh are a treat to watch. One thing different about Irrfan is that we usually have casts where the leads act opposite each other.  Irfan’s character is with (not just opposite) the main character (Piku), trying to impress the hard to get Piku.

Shoojit Sircar is excellent with endings, as was in Vicky Donor. Piku is no different, the expected does not happen instead the message, and the take-away gets insinuated subtly. Piku is about moving on with life and owning up the responsibilities we are laden with. We owe it to our parents. The movie leaves you feeling the same as a good long drive would. A long drive, free from hassles and enough time to introspect, think.

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Badlapur – Movie Review

Bollywood has got in Badlapur a defining thriller. The movie is intense all through its length. It is a mix of meaningful flashbacks amid ongoing narration. The script impeccably narrates what it sets on to tell. All actors played their part well; there is apparently no visible weak actor in the cast. Storytelling is fast paced for it never sidetracks into unnecessary spheres. The music scores in evoking emotions, laudable for its essence. Good direction along with excellent performance from lead actors brings synergies which are defining elements of the film.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is spectacular; he is complemented well by Varun Dhawan who is playing intense role for the first time in his career. While Nawazuddin is the Character for the audience, Varun is at times caught trying to be the character; although this is not often and is less noticeable. Huma Qureshi spices up the screen, has got a reputation for it since Gangs of Wasseypur. Divya Dutta, in her supporting role of defense lawyer delivers as usual.

The opening scene sets up the movie, with the camera not moving as the robbery unfolds. Sriram Raghavan shows promise in the first few minutes and lives up-to it throughout the 135 minute film. And then there are Nawazuddin’s puns & mocks. One particular scene has him threatening the guy who is seeing Huma Qureshi (his love) he ends the threat with a Good Night. There are a handful of such scenes.

Badlapur is all about revenge and its inability to satiate the avenger. Vengeance at times breeds one more monster, bigger than the one who triggered it. Varun in the movie unknowingly becomes one.

badlapur Review_ Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Wordpress_Movie 2015_Nawazuddin_Huma Qureshi_Yami Gautam

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Kejriwal – The Catcher in the Rye

I firmly believe that Indian Politics need Kejriwal. This starting statement might result in people not reading the entire piece and that’s not something I care about. This is written not to reason with unreasonable people.

AAP is an alternative to these long standing substitutes BJP and Congress. By virtue of being an alternative AAP should be given a chance (a second, a third or a fourth may be; how many have we given to Congress and BJP???). The chance was given the last time Kejriwal became the youngest CM in Indian history. They ruined it, paid for it. Now they are back and back with a bang.

Look at the series of events in the run up to the Delhi elections. It is evident that the Modi wave has receded as the vote share of BJP has declined steadily in the recent assembly elections. Facing this decline, plus popularity of Kejriwal, irrelevance of Dr. Harshwardhan and the not so promising leader in Satish Upadhyay the BJP decided to rope in Kiran Bedi(Reminder- yes she didn’t tow Indira Gandhi’s Car) as CM Candidate. It backfired.


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To say the least, Kiran Bedi is just not the right person for the job. Her comments, demeanor and lack of diplomacy do not reflect political maturity. Follow this to see her blooper remarks.
Least I write about the Congress the better (as if I have something to write about). They have accepted defeat even before fighting elections. Their campaign was never spirited, nor convincing. All Congress is left to is an ‘also ran’ in the race for elections in country’s capital. Bravo to Ajay Maken to have taken the meaningless position of being the face for the party. He is indeed a willful scapegoat. Let’s not get into Rahul Gandhi, he is perhaps busy in increasing his party’s failure tally.

Well, doing away from the Over Confident Ones (BJP) and the Also Ran ones (Congress), and coming back to the (Common) Man of the moment. I am in awe of him since the time I saw his interview with Barkha Dutt on NDTV, here’s the link. Look at this man clad in red sweater, regular pants and a muffler wrapped around neck and ears; neatly branded as Common Man. His answers are logical, he does not shy away from questions, and neither does he run away from interviews. He is resilient, rational, sensible and gutsy. When did the last time you saw a politician who was all this? (There are a handful of those but they belong to an ideology, an already existing party) Don’t presume that I mean he is the ideal one. All I am saying is he is the best of the rest in Delhi.

From being virtually written off after resigning from Power in Delhi, AAP has shown commendable spine to stand up to the so called Modi Phenomenon. For the reason that it will not be easy for BJP to swipe Delhi, for raising itself back from doldrums, for standing up for its cause; the Kejriwal Campaign deserves applause. It is plausible that AAP has stood up and successfully offered a challenge. If not the mandate of people, AAP does deserve praises for what it has achieved so far. Whatever may be the result on 10th, this should be remembered.

Arvind kejriwal_Shafique Gajdhar_Blogger_Experience of Onlooker_Delhi Elections_analysis of AAP_Kejriwal the catcher in Rye

One for the Title: I am here drawing analogy with the words of JD Sallinger, author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Kejriwal is the Catcher in the mountain of (Rye) corruption, unscrupulous political environment, bureaucratic red tape, crime and the perils people face in day to day life.

P.S. – I hope Delhi at least does not give itself another fractured mandate.

Yours Truly


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