Monday, August 17, 2009

The cream roll syndrome

The other day my father in law visited us, for the first time in 2 years. As all parents do when visiting there offspring living far off, he cam loaded with goodies. Little home made delicacies that we wish we could make but never learn to. Delicacies that get lodged in our brains as memories that beg to be relived. That tasty aam ka achar that only mummy can make, the ghar ka ghee, gajar ka halwa that tastes so good because there is so much of mummy’s love in it, along with all that desi ghee.

For days before his short visit, there were umpteen phone calls, frantic emails and one oft repeated question, ghar se kya laon? Never one to let opportunities go waste, we always had something to add…thodi si vadiyan, thoda sa achar, thodi si fresh raw veggies (that always befuddles airport baggage check personnel), thoda se aam, thodi se woh Sharma wale ke fresh cream rolls….yummy.

Eventually, the much awaited cream rolls arrived; we rushed to bite into them like they were royal dishes especially created for us by the finest cooks in the land. Afterall did’nt we remember them as the tastiest bit of snack from high school, the coveted cream rolls that the thela wale bhaiya outside school doled out at a few rupees apiece and was always sold out by lunch break! But what’s this? Why do they taste so rubbery, why is the cream so ……sugary? Why is it all not how we remembered it?

Alas, we were hit by the cream roll syndrome. It creeps up on you stealthily, always when you are at your most vulnerable, trying to recreate that moment/taste/image that made your heart fly or your senses go wild when you were a child! As we grow up it gets worse, afflicting us, ruining more of our childhoods cherished memories.

Haven’t we all experienced its effect at one time of the other? It may not be the cream roll syndrome fro you, it cold be the pastry syndrome, the samosa syndrome, the mera gaon mera desh syndrome. The name may differ but the sadness over the loss of treasured memories remains the same.

That favorite cricket ka maidan that suddenly seems far less grand, can’t see why you humiliated yourself time and again for that young lady across the street, the roadside chaat that you saved and scrimped for, that kaleidoscopic t-shirt that today seems too colorful to even be a duster.

Memories that time added an extra sheen to, that nostalgia polished till they become Solomon’s gold!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Clamour for glamour- do film celebs click with the junta?

Considering the plethora of celluloid-celebs that contest/campaign, only few go back with victories/good memories election year after election year. The people have made wild swings between euphoric support to the proverbial foot in the A**. Take for example Shekhar Suman who lost this time or Sunil Dutt who won emphatically enough for the people to transfer their allegiance to his daughter just as trustingly.

On the other hand, the story of a glamorous actress of the 70s being hounded by the public during a promotional rally for her father is well known. Apparently the people blocked highways for kms around the venue to catch a glimse of her but eventually her late father lost even his deposit. Hence the people saw ‘the kaano ki baali, gallon ki laali and Bengal ki sari’ and went back to choose the guy they thought would work best for them!

So stars and star value obviously does not guarantee or even bolster the chances of a victory, their own or anothers. But every election national and regional parties try to woo film and t.v. stars for what?

Ideological bankruptcy? Is anyone still flogging this long dead cat? So what replaces this void….development and movie stars? Ad guru Suhel Seth says, "Today, every hero wants to be a neta and every villain in politics wants to be a hero. The Sabarmati Ashram has been replaced by Film City as the politician's temple of worship. The tragedy is that Ayodhya and development have sadly got less media mileage than Dhanno and Basanti! It shows the political parties in poor light, almost as if they were ideologically bankrupt!"
Eye Candy? Well for one film stars can do what politicians are exceedingly failing at (despite the daroo, damdi and danda on offer), they bring in crowds. One film star guarantees a large opening, after that it’s the politicians who have to make or break the situation. Celina Jaitley, Madhuri Dixit, Brangelina, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry all endorsed one candidate or the other.
A touch of stardust? A little sprinkling of this dust may sometimes equal box office bonanza. Salman Khan not only pulled in the crowds but also proved lucky for 5 of the 7 candidates he campaigned for, so there must be some strength in the film star=victory conviction. Matinee queen, multi-millionaire Oprah Winfrey (who has made a career out of endorsing) put her rather substantial might behind the then one of the two democrat aspirants, Barrack Obama. It did not hurt that she has quite the pull with the ladies and African Americans that definitely converted into very large financial contributions to the Obama nomination campaign and very probably to votes towards his election.
Media savvy? Years of being harried and hounded by the media gives them the savvy to shadow box with layered, irksome and down right pesky questions and people. This however may not be consistent with all as seen in the foot in mouth disease that constantly afflicts our most famous ex-bahurani, Smriti Irani as also with Dharmendra who made the gaffe of his political career by being quoted as ‘I don’t know about the BJP ideology is but if made a dictator of this country, I’ll clean up this mess’, it took him sometime to clean that mess up!