Kabaddi… Kabaddi…

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Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amir khan, where would you see them all togather? It is not an award function (Amir never goes to award functions, remember? ) but the recently held Pro Kabaddi League. It is also amazing to watch them jumping and shouting in excitement along with others for their respective teams, just like normal people. Nowadays, the success formula for any event planner is to rope in some Bollywood bigwigs and attract a bigger audience. Kabaddi league was no exception. The organizers’ gamble paid off hugely. To add to the glamour quotient, stars are also owners of teams. TRPs of the show skyrocketed and stood only next to the IPL. PKL hit 288 million views in no time (IPL 453 million views) . In an era when magic of cricket is disappearing fast, KPL is much needed silver line for Kabaddi.

Pro Kabaddi League has not only mainstreamed Kabaddi at home but also made Indian – flavoured sport cool worldwide. ” writes Gayatri Jayaraman in India Today.  Kabaddi has remained in the shadow for too long, considered a rural sport. That impression is now removed with the glittering success of PKL. In fact, it is the most played sport in India as it requires no tools, but only 13 × 10 square meter piece of land. Amazingly, both genders love this game equally.

Kabaddi originated in India, in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It is also the national games of Nepal and Bangladesh and state games of Maharashtra,  Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. On the game, players show off their aggression with movements of legs. A slap on thigh displays the aggression of attackers.
While the business houses have hit the jackpot with PKL, the players too have got their own peace of cake in form of instant fame. The players, mostly from small towns and villages, are soaked in fame. Some of the players government employees of various departments like BSNL, ONGC, Ait India, CRPF and police. PKL was also successful in attracting playes of other nations like Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Korea and Taiwan. Wei Yang, the Taiwanese player in PKL, is doing a PhD in Kabaddi and he is the first professional player from his nation. Jang Kun Lee, the Korean, also know taekwondo and judo (martial arts).

PKL was played on synthetic turf. Usually, it is played on soil and sometimes in mud too. Kabaddi players are sons of soil and always touch the soil with respect before entering the ground. We can only hope to see these sturdy players playing on the soil in future leagues.

Kabaddi is the celebration of Indianness.

Blockbuster Copy!

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4,432.7 millions.
That’s the total number of movie tickets sold in India in one year – the highest of any country – according to The Economist’s survey figures. This much amount is wasted for copied or below level films. Bollywood is one of the most glaring example of India’s copy/paste culture. One may call it the biggest photocopy machine ever created by the Xerox company. Every now and then, we hear cases filed against film directors for lifting others’ stories; music directors copying tunes from a distant foreign film and calling it sprung from heart. But in this technology savvy age you can not ullu banawing for long.

We have got so used to second hand works in cinema that we do not even complain anymore or do not even care to credit the genuine art/artist.
Most recent case of such lifting came to light  when the poster of Amir khan’s film ‘PK’ was released. It is alleged that the poster is a copy of a French musician’s poster from 1978; he held a piano to cover his body. Anu Malik and Pritam were accused of copying music from foreign artists in the past.

Some directors choose to turn successful stories from other languages into Hindi cinema. While most of them get flopped (too many songs,you see), few of them manage to find a good audience. Ghajini, Madras Cafe and Holiday fall into this category of successful ones. They again show that Bollywood lacks good stories.
Another trend that is popular in Bollywood is to adapt from foreign film with or without due credit. Koi Mil Gaya was adapted from Steven Spielberg’s gem ‘ET’ and masalafied to include typical bollywoodish romance and songs; eventually killing the storyline. ‘Players’ was adapted from ‘The Italian Job’ and we all are witness how worst job it turned out to be; adding another flop to Abhishek Bachchan’s pocket. ‘Bang Bang’ featuring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif will hit the cinemas soon; it is adapted from Tom Cruise’s ‘Knight and Day’.

Hollywood directors often turn good books into films. Author Dan Brown’s novels ‘Da Vinci Code‘ and ‘Angels and Demons’ were turned into films and saw big success, though Da Vinci Code was banned in many countries for allegedly being against Christianity.  This trend has caught up with Bollywood too. It is quite refreshing. Finally, our story starved directors are looking at books instead of copying or lifting stories. Chetan Bhagat’s 3 novels have been turned into successful movies. Mohit Suri (Aadhiqui 2) is going to turn Bhagat’s upcoming book ‘Half Girlfriend’ into a movie soon. Karan Johar’s Dharma production has bought the rights of Amish Tripathi’s successful book The Immortals of Meluha. We may get to watch it next year featuring Hrithik Roshan.

Gujarati cinema has also started experimenting with scripts. We have seen good films like ‘Kevi Rite Jais’; and this year we have ‘Bey Yaar’ and ‘Dhirubhai’. Looks like, Gujarati cinema is leaving behind its trademark stamp of desi stories that revolve around rustic life with out of sync characters. If cinemas really reflect society, gujarati cinema still reflects life of ’80s and ’90s.

Let’s hope we are spared from such duplicate works of art in future and get a bit of original creativity more and more. We have that potential. Lets learn to appreciate and credit the originality.

Hail creativity!

(abrangpara@outlook.com)

April Is The Cruelest Month!

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“April is the cruelest month.” – T. S. Eliot

Yes, it is indeed for us. The above line is the most quoted phrase from a famous work of the American poet T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ in 1922. This particular phrase seems most befitting to the Indians, especially the Gujaratis.

When Eliot framed this phrase, he had had no idea that it might ever be used in this context after 92 years of its publication. He would have never imagined this phrase could well reflect the plight of some 6 crore Gujaratis. Matrimonially speaking, April is the cruelest month to an average adult living in Gujarat and the reason being the number of auspicious timings it holds for the weddings. The whole month witnesses ongoing noisy weddings in every developed or ignored corner of the state.

April is the cruelest as it brings with it the end of bachelorhood for thousands of adults who have preserved it since birth, under careful observation of parents. The only set of people feeling wonderful in this season marriages (or also known as massacre by some) is the business houses that thrive on weddings.

As soon as April begins, the wedding drums start beating in every street of cities or villages alike as if the FIFA World Cup has been won by Gujarat. This month is preferred also because it is the month of summer vacation. So all studious pupils and college goers have no excuse to miss the wedding of their distant uncle’s son or daughter. A wedding is hit only if all the invitees attend it. The bigger the number of people in a wedding is, the more successful the mission is considered accomplished by elders.

April encourages parents to lose their lives’ savings (on which there is no refund guaranteed for unsuccessful marriages). It is a matter of reputation for a parent to get his son (however stupid or jobless he may be) married in an even grander manner than all the relatives’ and neighbours’ sons.

However, April’s black magic does not seem to work effectively outside Gujarat. There are known (and infamous) examples like Rahul Gandhi and a long list of film stars who see no April in their lives. Some heavenly powers seem to have blessed (or cursed) them with the boons of eternal bachelorhood. To stress the lack of poetic justice in life, there are those who enjoy many Aprils in their lives; sometimes they get to marry as many times as the number of goals scored by Germany against the host Brazil in the semi final match.

This same damned April took most of my friend’s bachelorhood four years ago (along with mine too). April should be omitted from calendars henceforth.

(To read the poem: http://www.bartley.com/201/1.html)

(About T.S. Eliot : http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land)

Achche Din of Education?

No practical way to implement stuff taught in textbooks?

No practical way to implement stuff taught in textbooks?

A particular region, state or a nation gets the tag of ‘developed’ only when it can boast of two primary factors:
(i) Education
(ii) Wealth
Sometimes, this tag is also forced upon by the politicians despite not being worth it. Whenever we come across a developed part of a particular nation or state, it should have above mentioned factors across most of its part. We should keep in mind that the western and European countries are not known only for their wealth but also for their best in class universities.
When we analyze Gujarat as a developed state in the light of above factors, we can boast of the wealth largely due to its abundant business opportunities. But the same cannot be said while talking about its education. It falls below the water levels in today’s step wells.
Students holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree are not even able to fill in a pay-in slip to at a bank counter. Most computer graduates cannot manage to write software without copying from a distant source. A student with Bachelor of Arts cannot speak a small paragraph without making a heap of grammatical blunders. Project Based Learning has given rise only to photocopying business (popularly known as Xerox). The bubble of some professional courses has burst. The number of M.B.A. colleges has come down as drastically as the number of seats the Congress won in this General Election.
The hollowness of degrees is seen when the graduates venture outside Gujarat flashing their rainbow coloured degrees with high hopes of admission into P.G. courses or jobs in prestigious companies. They get the shock of their lives when they are told that their diligently earned degrees hold no value outside the state. Degrees are reduced to mere coloured sheets of paper. Most institutes regard Gujarati students skill-less which is true to a large extent. Hence, aware (not necessarily capable) parents send their kids in other states right after 12th standard. A graduate from the Saurashtra region is looked down upon even when he moves to Gujarat University or other institutes across central or eastern Gujarat.
The other shock is received when graduates who has no capacity or means to go out starts looking for jobs in their cities and towns. Most engineers are offered below Rs. 10,000 pay which they have to happily accept as there is psychological pressure on them to earn after obtaining a degree from an expensive college.
Education, right from K.G. to P.G., demands overhaul of the system. The state government has introduced ‘Pragna’ project in primary schools which is a welcome step. It is based on acquiring knowledge by practical means. Students do not have to carry bags to schools (NO BAGS! What a relief!). Let us hope, these kids grow up to be less of a talking parrots.

 

United By Family, Divided By Technology

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The Digital Divide

Right now if we analyse the society, there are three generations that are living their lives together but divided by technology. These are three different worlds that try to strike balance among them and more than often find themselves colliding with one another in the digital era.

The grandparents are the first who find it most difficult adjusting with their children tuned parents and their grandchildren. They often find their kids rapt in the technology that is beyond their understanding. They are reluctant to learn the matrix of new technology based on computers and smart phones. Most of the times, we find them complaining about overuse of gadgets and gizmos by other members. They firmly believe it is all waste of time. They are happy with being successfully surfing through TV channels. Surprisingly, there are few of such oldies who learn a bit and make the most of their remaining lives by watching the Meena Kumaris and Rajendra Kapoors of late 1960s through YouTube videos. The old man in the Vodafone advertisement is one such example.

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The second generation is the parents who have seen the birth of computers. They have been the part of internet boom in 90s. They have witnessed common words like Windows and Apple attaining a totally new meaning. They are the users from Windows ’95 to Windows 8.1. The Gates and Steves of I.T. industry belong to this generation. They are the consumers the I.T. companies have thrived upon. They are the first users of e-banking and e-shopping. They have seen world go from 1G to 4G in couple of decades. They have seen the negatives effects of digital boom, be it the global scare of Y2K (Year 2000) at the turn of century ;

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or stock exchange frauds. They have seen their large landline phone shrinking to the size of palms. They have seen their lives progressing at the speed of bits and bytes.

The third generation is the comprised of the kids who are born in the digitised world.

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They are like Abhimanyus who have inherited the technology right from their conception in the womb. Even a 2 year old kid can unlock smart phones. They are impatient kids who want things done at the single click of mouse of a gentle tap on their smart phones or tablets. They are the never tiring users of internet who make the most out of the social media. For them socializing means getting themselves hooked to Facebook,  Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and so on. Every kid considers himself a writer by posting updates on Twitter or Facebook. They are the ones who have forced political parties spend heavily on online campaigns. We even heard Mr. Modi mention the YouTube videos of 2 year old kids chanting ‘ab ki baar…’. Their problems are well reflected in TV shows like MTV’s  ‘Webbed’ and Bindass’ ‘Emotional Atyachar’. They add their favourite food dishes first on Instagram and later to their stomach.

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The ideal government for them is the one that promises free Wi-Fi cities. Cloud to them brings online storage rather than rains. They prefer to google cure for their illness rather than visiting a doctor. Internet is their oxygen. Phones are their gods. They are a selfie’ish generation.

Images : Google

The Buddhist Caves of Khambhalida, Gujarat


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It is a hot trend among the people of Gujarat to spend their vacation period outside the country. Some of the favourite destinations are Malaysia, Bangkok, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives and Dubai.

Most people go to these places out of making others jealous rather than exploring new places culturally mostly.

Gujarat has got many places that still remain out of peoples’ attention. Gujarat also boasts of archaeological sites which take us back to ancient times. One such place is located right into the heart of the Saurashtra region, the Khambhalida Caves. They are at a 70 km distance from Rajkot city near Virpur in Gondal. They are situated just 8 km off the National Highway 8B. You can reach there by car, bus or any two-wheeler as it has got well built tar roads right up to it.

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There are three Buddhist caves. Their origin dates back to 4th – 5th century AD. The caves are carved or scooped out from a big limestone rock.

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Out of the three caves, the central cave is called ‘Chaitya’ which has got a worn out stupa (pillar). The entrance of the central cave has got two big sculptures of the Bodhisatvas – Padmapani on the right and Vajrapani on the left (see the picture below).

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source : panaramio.com

The caves are not very spacious enough for a large group. We can suppose only a small group of the Buddhist monks lived in these caves.

cavecentral cave

 

 

On the way to caves, you also come across the Khodaldham temple that is being built on a very high scale. It is the place of faith for the people of Leuva Patel community all over Gujarat. It is going to be one of the biggest temples of Gujarat.

Khodaldham

Have a happy vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Alien’s misAdventure

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In a parallel world, aliens do exist and we all are damn sure about it. We have proof in our Hollywood and Bollywood films. This is the adventure of the alien named ‘Jadoo’ who got his name from his grandfather of the same name; we know his grandfather as he had featured in Hritik Roshan’s film ‘Koi Mil Gaya’. Having heard a lot about Bollywood, Mumbai and Preity Zinta’s eternal beauty in form of bedtime stories from his grandpa, he set out to visit Mumbai. But being slightly inexperienced in navigating a spaceship, he lost the right direction and landed in Modi’s Gujarat, to be precise on the outskirts of Rajkot.

Having the power to assume the form of a human being, Jadoo used it and turned himself into a grown man. He hid his spaceship behind the Khandheri International Cricket stadium that is on the highway, took out a motorcycle from the ship and started towards the city.

On entering the city, Jadoo got the first shocker. He was stopped by a man with big belly and dressed in white and khaki uniform whistling and waving his stick frantically at him. He said he was a policeman. Jadoo was asked to show his license and PUC certificate. Having none of them, he was asked to pay fine of Rs. 100 (Then he settled for Rs. 50 somehow). On getting the ticket, he read the city’s name and realized he was not in the Bollywood but the Dholywood (His grandpa has obviously told him a lot about film industry outside Bollywood too).  Instead of being disappointed, he decided to explore this new land.

He drove on the Ring road and came across the most adventurous drive. He could not understand why other vehicles drivers were honking loudly and overtaking him from both sides (Some of them honked in tune like good musicians). He observed some young men and  women with wires attached to their ears and driving as if they were zombies from Hollywood films, not paying attention to vehicles around them at all. He thanked his wisdom a hundred times for wearing a helmet. Then he saw a strange three-wheeled wonder. It was yellow and black in colour. It was playing very loud music and moved ahead in a zigzag manner. Suddenly, its driver flashed his right foot outside the vehicle, instantly turned right and disappeared into the traffic. Jadoo guessed that vehicle used music as fuel; the louder the music played, the faster the vehicle moved.

Couple of times Jadoo came across strange creatures that walked on four legs, right on the roads. They even sat on roads among the traffic. He even had to drive wildly when a small four legged animal ran after him barking angrily; almost had his foot on its mouth.

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Jadoo stopped in front of a large building with glass doors and big banners of humans hung on the walls. He saw large number of people moving in and out of it. He moved along with the crowd and went in. He soon found himself into a dark hall with seats and in front big screen flashed images of dancers. He suddenly knew this was a cinema hall and this was what he was looking for. He took an empty seat and started enjoying the film. The man on the screen reminded him of his neighbouring planet’s much known guy called Superman. After fifteen minutes, his neighbouring person bent down and released some liquid from his mouth into the darkness below seats but it fell on Jadoo’s feet. Having read about the acid attacks on people through Google news, he was struck with fear, and to save his life he ran out of the hall. When he was at a safe distance, he checked his feet. It did not hurt but only that his shoes had turned red in colour. His fear was gone when he saw many people throwing red liquid on the roads everywhere. Perhaps this was a traditional thing, he thought.

Being in the human form, he felt the inescapable urge to visit the loo. He looked around in search of a public urinal but did not find any (as is the case with most of human beings). Jadoo moved ahead on in the search at the same time trying his best to hold his bladders. Just then a huge vehicle came out of nowhere in front of his vehicle. He was about to collide and before he could do anything, a beam of light fell on him from the sky.

Jadoo found himself outside his home and an angry mother (who had four hands) staring sternly at him.

 

Image: Wikipedi, Google