Ram’s Bridge

28 03 2006
Off late I have been in the exploration mode. No, it doesn’t mean that I am travelling to all corners of the country, but rather I’ve been exploring the world on Google Earth. I explored the entire Indo-Pak and Indo-China border areas and the Indian coastline from West Bengal to Gujarat. I must say that in all the coastlines on the eastern, southern and western parts of the country I felt that the Gujarat coast was intriguing. With swampy Kutch region towards Pakistan, the coastline creates an open mouth shape and it flanked by various inhabited and uninhabited islands. But the most intriguing aspect of the Indian coastline is the Adam’s Bridge in Tamil Nadu.

Take a look at this picture on the right taken from Google Earth (Click photo to enlarge). Look below the yellow line joining Indian and Sri Lanka. If you look carefully, you will find a cluster of rocks creating a bridge like formation connecting these two countries. This is known in the modern world as Adam’s Bridge though the Indians also know it as Ram’s Bridge. Some more pictures of this bridge can be found here.Legend has it that when Ram was going on the conquest of Lanka, the demonic kingdom, he had to build a bridge to link the Indian mainland with Lanka. He with the help of the army of monkeys built a bridge of rocks under the supervision of Nala, son of the architect-god Vishwakarma. The bridge of rocks was supposed to float on water but the gods anchored it to the sea bed, thus forming a cluster as is seen from the satellite image.

Most Hindu groups claim it as fool-proof evidence of the fact that the events described in Ramayan actually took place and scoff at claims of scholars that Ramayan and Mahabharat were nothing more than fictional stories.

Some may ask why this mythical bridge is known as Adam’s Bridge when it is claimed to have been built by Ram. The answer can be found in Christian mythology which believes that the biblical Garden of Eden was located in modern day Sri Lanka.

Archaeological studies of the area around the bridge are still under progress and some archaeologists claim that the bridge is no more than 3500 years old. Some studies have found that sea levels in this region rose by up to 20 metres to reach the level of today, thus corroborating the above theory. This 30km long stretch is being regarded as the oldest evidence of a man-made structure across the sea.

In recent times in an effort to develop this region for tourism, the Indian and Sri Lankan governments have started the Setusamudram Shipping Canal Project to create a shipping channel across the Palk Straits. The idea is to cut down shipping travel time by up to 30 hours and 400 kms as this canal project aims to prevent the ships from going all across the Sri Lankan island to cross over to the Bay of Bengal.

Crime Master Gogo naam hai mera!

21 03 2006

What inspired my blog name? I think it was that weird character of Andaz Apna Apna by this name played by Shakti Kapoor. My previous post was about Andaz Apna Apna and rightly so, because it inspired me to have a funny blog name. Sad that I could not find Crime Master Gogo’s picture in the Internet else I would have put it up here.

The character Crime Master Gogo had a very limited role in the film. He is introduced as Mogambo ka bhateeja. Incidentally they had lifted Mogambo also from a previous blockbuster movie Mister India (1987) to make a relationship between the legendary villain of that film and the comical villain of this film. Shakti Kapoor plays Crime Master Gogo and is dressed like Superman.

His best known dialogues:

Aankhen nikaal kar gotiyan khelunga.

Yeh Teja Teja kya hai? Yeh Teja Teja?

Gogo jab bhi aata hai kuch na kuch leke jaata hai.

I quite liked the name Crime Master Gogo. When I decided to sign up for blogger, I kept my fingers crossed hoping that it was available. Thankfully it was! And I am happy that I now have it as my blog name.

Galti se mistake ho gaya

20 03 2006

Robert: Woh kya hai na sir ki woh paplu-taplu…
Bhalla: Shut up Robert! Plan ke mutaabik…
Teja: Plaaaannn!If you still need an introduction to the movie, then first go and watch it. Andaz Apna Apna was perhaps the only genuine comedy film released in the 90s and needless to say, it has caught the imagination of a generation of cine goers. Countless reruns later, it is still worth a watch whenever it is shown on any channel.

Apne pairon pe khada ho ja Teja hoja!

There is almost no dull moment in the movie. It will keep you fixed to your seat right till the end and you will still be craving for more. The slapstick comedy of the movie was a revelation from Raj Kumar Santoshi, known till then for his genuinely honest effort in Damini. He hasn’t been able to create another Andaz Apna Apna since then. Amir Khan hasn’t been able to perform as comically as he did then. Salman Khan has become dumber with each passing movie since then. Karishma and Raveena have since then retired after a rather successful career in Bollywood. And Paresh Rawal went from strength to strength as he did Hera Pheri six years later.

Yeh bundook Vasco da Gama ki hai. Kiska mama?

As if you haven’t watched the movie already, here’s the story: Raveena and Karishma have come in search for their respective Mr. Right. Raveena wants his Mr. Right to love her and not her wealth. To put everyone to test, she has switched her name with Karishma. Amar and Prem, small-town guys with big dreams, approach them and manage to win their hearts. The problem lies in Raveena’s khadoos dad Ram Gopal Bajaj. To add to the confusion Ram has a twin evil brother Shyam aka Teja, who is out to loot his wealth and kill him and his daughter. How the girls manage to escape from him and win their dad’s trust to marry Amar and Prem is all the movie is about. Watch it if you haven’t already. And watch it again if you have already.

Yeh Teja Teja kya hai? Yeh Teja Teja?

The performances
Amir Khan – He literally was the feel good factor of the movie. He acts as the bolder of the two buddies and is a real smart guy. At the same time he was the funnier of the two with dialogues like chit mai jeeta pat tu hara. Acha thik hai pat tu hara aur chit mai jeeta. And his favourite dialogue:

Aap mahaan hai,
Shaktimaan hai,
Buddhimaan hai,
Keertimaan hai,
Gyani hai,
Daani hai,
Antaryaami hai,
Balki… balki main to yeh kahoonga ki aap purush hi nahi,
Mahapurush hai… mahapurush!

Absolutely hilarious!

Do dost ek pyaali main chai piyenge. Isse pyar badhta hai.

Salman Khan – Who could have acted as dumb as he did? If you want dumbness personified, go and ask Salman how he played the character of Prem. His trademark ouyi maa almost became a rage with viewers. His best scene is the one where he is shown as Ram and Amir as Bharat while they both are trying to save themselves from the owner of the lodge.

Dr. Prem Khurana. Is dhande mein bahut purana.

Raveena and Karishma – Both were at the beginning of their respective Bollywood careers and played the roles of inseparable friends falling in love with Amar and Prem. Their pairings with Amir and Salman was apt in the sense that while a bold Raveena was paired with a smart Amar, the shy Karishma was paired with a stupid Prem.

Woh humko teele par mil gaya than a, isliye humne iska naam teelu rakh diya

Paresh Rawal – In the double role of a white coat Ram Gopal Bajaj and a black coat Teja, he was the best comedian you could ask for. Sample his dialogues:

Main Teja hun kyonki mera naam Teja hain. Teja main hun mark idhar hain.
Meri chai kidhar hain? Har cheez time to time honi chahiye
Murgiyon ka badshah aur bread ka sartaaj, Haamaaraaa Bajaaj!

Ye bichhu ka zeher hain. Pinewala 2 hi minute main pila hokar nila ho jata hain. Kifayati aur bharosemand!

Shehzad Khan and Deven Khote – As assistants to Raveena and Karisha, they scheme with Teja to kidnap them. Again, they were given some really good dialogues and Shehzaad Khan should get additional credit for imitating Ajit’s accent and voice.

Aankhen nikaal ke gootiyan kheeloonga

Shakti Kapoor – Would anyone have ever thought that Shakti Kapoor’s most memorable character apart from Balma of Chaalbaaz would be Crime Master Gogo? Some of his attempts at comedy were really good and this was one of them. His imitation fight with Salman Khan towards the end is a delight to watch.

Tum dono ko dekhkar mujhe Ramanand Sagar ki Ramayan ka woh episode yaad aa gaya jisamein Ram aur Bharat ka milap hua tha

The Verdict

They say laughter is the best medicine. WRONG! Andaz Apna Apna is the best medicine. If you don’t believe me then watch it again… and again… and again…

Me in Alwar and Rains!

10 03 2006

What is it about Alwar that brings rains whenever I go there? I can’t really understand and perhaps the only plausible explanation for it is that it is just a pure and simple coincidence. Or maybe it is god’s way of making the visit even more memorable for me.

First things first, let me tell you more about Alwar. Situated halfway between Delhi and Jaipur, Alwar is the first major town when you enter Rajasthan. It is about 150kms south-west of Delhi and is about 3 hrs drive or 2 and half hrs worth of train journey from Delhi. From a tourist point of view, there is nothing much to see in Alwar except the Sariska Wild Life Sanctuary and the Sili Serh Lake resort. The town itself is in a dilapidated condition with some good residential colonies at its outskirts. The place is ideal for a weekend getaway.

Everytime I have been to Alwar alone, it has rained there. I remember that when I went there in 1996 alone for the first time, rains came pouring down for 2 consecutive days and I had to extend my program by 2 more days before I could return home to Delhi. Then in 2002, in the searing heat of June came a slight downpour which cooled down the temperatures from near 50 degrees to a very managable under 40 degrees.

Now earlier this week, I went to Alwar on a 3 day trip and again like previous times it started raining there within an hour of my reaching there. The rains did not last long alright but I heard that it rained heavily in and around Delhi that night. Interestingly, it rained first in Alwar and then in Delhi. Now that I am back in Delhi, rains do not seem to be in any mood of going away.

Is it all a coincidence? It has to be, because there is no other explanation for the rains coming at the time of my visit to Alwar. Rains kept us indoors and the weather changed overnight from an unusually oppresive heat of the month of March to a rather cool spring season. Back home in Delhi now even as I write this blog, it is raining and I can hear thunder in the background.

Lets hope the weather stays like this for a while because pretty soon we will be getting ready to welcome summers with both hands stretched wide. Till then… just chill and enjoy till it lasts.

My former school – a marvel in itself

6 03 2006

I always wondered what made my school click. Was it all due to money? Or was it all due to the hard work of its students? I think I would go for the latter because lets face it, I have seen many former students of my school (including myself) toil hard to make a name for ourselves. There are people who say they are proud to be alumni of DPS or Mayo College or Moderns or Doon School, but if we say that we are proud to be alumni of Green Fields School, people react like Green what?Let me give you an introduction about my school. My school was established in 1967 under the aegis of the Safdurjung Educational Society.

Click here for its website. It soon was to become a money spinner machine for the family destined to run it. Well, not exactly soon but surely with the hike in fees that were observed in the late 80s and early 90s (a trend that I believe is still running), the school has helped its management rake in lakhs every month. Sample this: My school monthly fee was just INR 87 when I was in kindergarten in the year 1986. But by the time I completed school in 1999, the fee had increased to INR 700 per month. I bet it would be around INR 1400 now although I am not sure of it.

My school’s name was quite popular though my school never became popular very much. Confused? I will help you out. There are many schools in Delhi that use the name Green Fields and interestingly, they are not related to each other. There is a Green Fields Public School in Dilshad Garden and Karol Bagh while there is a New Green Fields School in Saket. And yet, none of them is even closely associated with my school based in the posh locality of Safdurjung Enclave in South Delhi.Its not that the school did not care for the students. We were looked after very well during our times. We had all kinds of facilities for us, except of course the sports and extra-curricular activities that play an important role in deciding the quality of education in every public school. Once I remember, I went to DPS-RK Puram to represent my school in a competition. I was surprised to find their world class sports facilities. Being kids of class 10, we were in awe of DPS for what they were providing to their students.

In contrast to DPS, we hardly had anything to show for our facilities. The school did have its own Cricket and Basketball teams but in my time, I rarely heard about the school winning some championships. But throughout our school life, we were made to believe that it is better for us to devote more time to our books and ignore the extra curricular activities. I think this was the way the school made up for its sagging image. Most of the time, the board results of my school was good, with a few compartments and barely one or two failures.

We had our share of controversies. The infamous physics teacher Arti Malhotra was one such lady. Going through a rather emotional period in her personal life, she used to take her anger out on us kids at school. I remember that she had a spat with a senior Azam Ali over matters that I don’t remember now (it’s been a long time really). The science students of my batch were made to suffer because of her long absence.

I have heard a lot since my exit that the image of the school has taken a beating. I wonder why. For a start, our then principal Mrs P Khanna has retired and has been replaced by Mr. K P Singh, the mathematics teacher who taught me in classes 11 and 12. Some senior teachers have also retired since then and maybe that has made a difference to the school. In comparison to schools located near it (schools like Delhi Police Public School, St. Mary’s School, Laxman Public School, Ram Jas RK Puram and DPS RK Puram), my school stands nowhere.

The point is that almost all public schools of South Delhi have an instant recall value that is associated with their name. Except for the govt. schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas, almost all public schools of south Delhi are well known, however big or small they may be. But sadly even when my former school is a big and one of the oldest schools in the region, it has failed to make a name for itself.