Monday, January 26, 2009

Slumdogs and Millionaires...

Just returned home after watching "Slumdog Millionaire". Seemed like a long day. Feels as if it started two days ago - two days ago when I had to leave home at 7am in morning for work.

It was a nice sunrise on a Saturday morning. Hardly thought that such beautiful sunrise could be seen around my house. The sky was very clear and colorful. I took a quick halt at Mulund on EE highway to capture the sunrise using mobile camera, and headed towards office.

Work in office started at 9am. It went on till late in evening. Luckily it was happening as per plan and there were no surprises, many thanks to another 14 hours spent at desk a day ago!

Returned home at 10pm. There was a small dinner party arranged in the society for us so attended it. Nice food was there and I liked the simple Jeera rice and Daal ;)

Thought there would be a good night ahead with peaceful sleep but it wasnt meant to be. I think I dreamt about getting call from office and it happened so. I was woken up at 3am for an urgent issue. Had no option but to use the GPRS connection to connect and try to resolve. There was no quick fix so took 5 hours to resolve it. By the time it was over, my sleep was gone :( Work started again in noon and didnt finish up untill 6pm on Sunday evening :( :( :( Thankfully the weekend work plan was successful.

Anyway, Its pre-republic day weekend and everywhere people talked about being patriotic. There are few LCD screens put in office lobby to air product commercials and some useless stuff. They aired videos in which they asked what the republic day meant to few stars and celebreties. There were usual answers about feeling patriotic and doing something about country and usual polished answers.

Sachin Tendulkar was on TV with another patriotic tv commercial...

While I was out in the evening, an old couple came to me and asked for some food and money. They were illiterate villegers. They wore typical Maharashtrian outfit and one small girl accompanied them. This is a way to beg money by saying they are lost in the city and need food etc etc.

I tried to shoo them away by trying to ignore them in usual Mumbai way. But they didnt budge, I was waiting on bike so coudnt move too. They persisted. The couple was old and folding hands in front of me. It was surely an emotional trap to get something from me. The girl was just jumping around in typical skirt blouse and trying to peep though a shop door.

The couple was asking for some money to buy food for the girl - 2 vada paavs as they said. I couldnt tolerate the pestering by those elders and gave them 25 rupees. They were elated.

While I walked through the market later, I saw one man selling soft suger candy. They carry a small wodden pole and put multicoloured suger candy blob on it. They would make a suger lolipop of different shape and present it on small stick to lick. Would not cost more than 5 rupees. I remember eating such thing once or twice in my childhood and it tasted nice for sure.

Just next to him, a guy was selling small Indian flags and badges for 26th of January celebration. This is a twice in the year sale...whole shop would cost rupees 500 or less :)

I quickly remembered the boatman I met in Nanital. He would get 40 rupees for every ride he did in the lake. No ride no money! Thats all he would do throughout the year.

I had movie tickets in my pocket and they costed 5oo bucks. and ordered a small popcorn bucket at the show that costed 55 bucks. Would normally be available for 5 bucks around my house!!!

National Anthem was played before the movie began. This was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale. I knew I was in a vulnerable state when their hi-fidelty voice filled up the theatre. These two ladies symbolise a lot for me - amazing voice, great career to look back in life and supreme respect earned out of it. Above that, they were a family and together even after so many years.

The quick incidents about the beggers, sellers and the riches flashed in my mind while the anthem was played and i was emotional. The girl jumping around the street was still in front of my eyes and I had water in my eyes.

The movie was nice. It showed how a poor guy becomes a millionaire through a tv game show. The story unfolds different times of his life as the tv show progreses. In the process he finds love of his life. Or rather in the process of finding love, he becomes a millionaire. Not sure if its to be called a love story or a thriller or just another emotional trap to bring people to theatre and make money. But it was good.

I had read some critisism about the movie because its made by non-indians and shows dark areas of Indian life. It shows people amputated to make beggers, rich trying to prevent poor from becoming rich, people selling their body for earning and so on..It could tarnish India's international image etc etc BS.
Wonder how the critics could say so, despite this lifestyle of the many characters is experienced by millions in the country as we celebrate 60th Republic day today.

Its 4am now and I am sleepy. The random thought chain in mind will take a temporary halt. This republic day would mean a day to rest after a busy weekend and blogging like this. I am feeling patriotic but might not do anything that can change or influence a good life in this country. Recession is looming but happy that there is a predictable and better life to live in this country than most others can get around the world. Makes feel proud about it. but i think thats it about today, like many of the Indians who are neither slumdogs nor millionaires.

At the end, the movie summerises in a sentence, how the slum boy becomes a millionaire in the film. A simple way to answer why there are slumdogs and millionaires interspread around...Why we cant know, set or change their destiny....

Because its written!