Today is my Birthday. Time to recall some past which forever stays with the present.

Celebrating Birthdays in school was fun. That day was marked by leniency – I could wear my best clothes, the teacher, purposefully, didn’t call out for me to answer hard questions and no punishment. That day, I really went to school with a vision and a big-packet of sweets to give me temporary-company.

When the teacher announced the Birthday Boy, I stood tall before the class, coffer in hand, and all my mates sang “Happy Birthday to You, May God Bless you….”. This ended with claps, loud enough, to announce the occasion to the whole school. I felt like a Star.

Then the class yearningly waited for me to arrive at their desks. Two to each one was the ratio. Leftovers were intended for best-friends, which on that day, surprisingly, grew in numbers.

The pleasures of giving is astonishing. This feeling gets implanted and it’s essence is life long. Once initiated, you tend to repeat the motions just to relive the moment.

Collage, as it its nature, changes things. Although I had many friends, there was only one, significant and thoughtful to give me gifts and cards.

You see, I never celebrate my B’days at home. There is puja and sweets. And that’s that. The thought of inviting friends home is beyond the capabilities of my house. Not that we cannot afford. But my parents are un-welcoming, my home unfurnished and my mother can’t handle the cooking.

When in college, Simon, my bench-mate, invited me to his place in Malad for all our three years in college. It was heartening see his parents and friends all join in the revelry. I could never reciprocate. This must have appeared strange to him. I know.

After college, Job took over. Now I was suitably loaded but emotionally hungry. What is denied cames back with re-inforced arrogance. I invited all my colleagues and hit a nearby joint. When the organization is small and people young, everyone finds time.

Purnima near Parle east Station was our favourite. Two benches were joined and we sat conferencing over drinks, dinner, ice-cream and paan thereafter. The bill was bomb but I hardly cared. This ushered in my B’day the way I wanted.

It still continues. Location and friends change with time. But I am at it. Still achieving, still pursuing to drink the wine of life!



Paan Singh Tomar, The Movie

There is a scene in the movie “Paan Singh Tomar”, where Paan Singh is in a police station with his certificates and medals trying to explain to the Police Chief the significance of his collections.

Now, the police chief does not have the advantage of Wikipedia. But we have. That is how, we know that Paan Singh Tomar was in the Indian Army and won several sports medals for India before he changed profession to Dacoity and died by it.

The biographical movie is enacted excellently by all actors. Irfan Khan is delicate and precise. He enters your soul through a niche which he only knows where to find.

There is a scene which points out the urban attitudes towards rural complexities.

Through “connections”, Paan Singh is able to get a high officer visit his village and arbitrate a land dispute. Unlike Paan Singh, the “Officer” is smart. He goes “thus far and no further”. The way he slicks away identifies with the Metrosexual Man.

Did Paan Singh have choices? What were his options?

Here, the movie points to an acceptable social behaviour. A scene shows Paan Singh proud of his bandit relatives never caught by the police. The “Paan Singhs” of this world reside in that context. Moral of the story – Be careful of old-age traditional pride. It entraps.

There is one more significant scene which defines our attitude to sports. Paan Singh, a trained army-man, cannot fight a war because he is a sports person. If the facts are true, the sports is used to impart distorted values. So Paan Singh exits an institution with set beliefs which does not survive his native environment. This takes us back to the first paragraph!

Stories are made up of bad judgements. Visit any corporate canteen. The most gossip are on big screw-ups. The movie, Paan Singh Tomar is also one such case. To us, metrosexual, Paan Singh’s life was “riches to rags” story. But to Paan Singh, it was “business as usual”. And the director achieves to show this.