Tuesday, October 26, 2004

दंत कथा ...

Last week I became a little less wise …

No no … don’t panic – I am not out of my senses … the thing is that last Thursday I had one of my wisdom teeth extracted. And believe me ... now I totally understand when people say “बाकी कोणतंही दुखणं परवडलं, पण दाताचं दुखणं नको रे बाबा ... !”

Actually since childhood I have had absolutely no dental problems. I don’t even remember having been to a dentist. I still am (at least till last Thursday was) easily able to break a walnut using my teeth or even open a ketchup bottle seal. My mom takes most credit for this (and probably she deserves it too) because she was responsible for taking care of my teeth when I was too young and also for putting me into the habit of taking good care of them later …

But in the last few months since I started getting wise (read wisdom teeth) … I started feeling something wrong. Within a span of a month I could feel that the alignment of my lower and upper canines has been noticeably disturbed. So I had to do what I had never done till now … see a dentist.

Till now I had only seen other people in all the pain and felt that DENTist is a guy who causes a DENT to your pocket in spite of causing you some of the worst pain in life … But this doc to whom I was referred turned to be a gentleman. He calmly examined the X-ray images of my jaws and concluded that all my wisdom teeth are actually growing at an angle of 45° wrt to other teeth … hence the wisdom teeth were pushing the other teeth weirdly causing the misalignment. He said this is a well-known problem being caused due to evolution ... Are you listening Mr. Darwin. . Nowadays our jaws are growing smaller and smaller, but no. of teeth remians the same. Hence the problem!!! Anyways the bottom-line is I have to get ALL my wisdom (teeth) extracted
And after all the 4 teeth are extracted I might have to use braces to get the alignment of my teeth back … yaaaaak!

To add fuel to the fire (sorry … fear) it was revealed that the root of my wisdom teeth were firmly rooted in the jaw bones. So it had to be operated upon, the jaw-bone cut and then the teeth could be extracted. Pretty obviously I preferred to go for one tooth at a time.

I kind of remembered all the good (or even fair) deeds I have done and hoped that ALL that पुण्याई would help me here to cause as less pain as possible. Since it was a surgery and the jaw bone had a cut and all 4 stitched had to be put (which I am still carrying BTW). And this nothing less than ACTUAL stitching of clothes … Imagine seeing a needle and thread being put into your mouth and then you feel the worst pricking in life … I mean it is not exactly a very pleasant experience!!! Ya rrrrrite I was under local anesthesia … but I think everyone knows how much does that really help!

I am still moving around with an excruciating pain in the lower jaw (the swelling has almost subsided now) and 4 DAMN STICHES which catch WITHOUT FAIL almost everything I eat like a spider’s web … and cleaning that … Oh my God … even describing that is equally painful … so let me put that into a little rhyme …

लहानपणी शिकवलं गेलं होतं की काही खायच्या आधी “वदनी कवल घेता...” ही प्रार्थना म्हणावी. आज काहीही न खातांना मला ते असं म्हणावंसं वाटतंय ...

वदनी कवळी घेता, नाम घ्या डेंटिस्टाचे ।
सहज स्मरण होते मग आपुल्या दंतांचे ।।

अथक श्रम करोनी नित्य जर घासलेत ।
मोत्यांसम दात होती – डेंटिस्ट सांगतात ।।

नाहीतर root-canal, filling असे धमकवतात ।
अंती यातना देऊनही खिसा हे छेदितात ।।

पण मजसम काही कष्टीही या जगात ।
रोज घासूनही जयांचे दात हे काढतात ।।

स्मरण करोनी त्यांचे फुटे मज घाम फार ।
आत्ता एकच काढलाय ... एकूण आहेत चार ।।

।। जय जय दंतवीर समर्थ ।।

Monday, October 18, 2004

American Beauty!

I saw American Beauty yesterday and what do I say! I dont want to write a review of the film since many have done that before me. But these are a few line in the film that just hit me, that I just can't get rid of ...

"It is one of those days when it hadn't been snowing. There was this electricity in the air. You can always feel it. And this bag was just ... dancing! With me!! Like a little kid begging me to play with it ... for fifteen minutes! Thats the day I realized that there is this entire LIFE behind things and this increasingly benevolent force wanting me to know that there is no reason to be afraid ... ever! This video is a poor excuse I know, but it help me remember what I need to remember - sometimes there is so much beauty in the world. I feel like I can't take it and my heart is just going to give in!"
... Ricky explaining to Jane his philosophy behind the video of the polythene bag flying with the breeze!

"I’d always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at boy-scout camp, watching falling stars. And yellow leaves from the maple trees that lined our street. Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony's brand new firebird ... and ... and Jany ... and Jany! ...... and ... Caroline! I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what really happened to me but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday."

... Lester Burnham's ending monologue!

But what I identify the most with is a sentence that Lester says! Probably he said that in a totally different context in the movie, but it is so very true that it does apply to the life most of us are leading -

"This isn't life ... this is just stuff and this stuff has become more important to you than life itself. Well thats just nuts!!!"

Monday, October 11, 2004

Wisecracks ...

I have seen this happen 'n' number of times till now. While talking to someone (this someone can be almost anyone from someone in your office, at home, your friends or a stranger you have met while travelling), the conversations very often drift between different topics and start becoming too formal. You (kinda) keep speaking volumes but then also start getting bored. You start feeling "Why am I even a part of this" and want to get out of the situation. But in such a situation one wisecrack from anyone can break the ice and put a new life into the conversation.

If you see the dictonary meaning of "Wisecracks" it means quips or clever answers or statements that you make when you converse. These are almost never premedidated but just happen at the spur of the moment. Here is an example ...

Once in my college the Head of our Department was talking about the importance of communication skills and it was getting a bit boring. An an exercise he called a couple of us on the dias and asked us to tell the class something about ourselves in about 10 sentences. I was really fed up and didn't really want to do that. Everyone had started yawning by now and when it was my turn to speak I could see the "Please don't" expressions on many faces. But unfortunately I had to. I started very casually telling my name, family background etc. While telling my date of birth, I thought people tell their birthdates and don't usually mention the day when it fell. Might be because people just forget the "day". So to make things look different I said "I was born on the 24th of September 1980, it was a Wednesday that day! Look ... I remember". Now, not knowing what I was thinking while saying this, my class heard it as "Look I remember since birth the day I was born" and everyone (including our prof burst out laughing). That one sentence was enough to break the ice and then we enjoyed the further part of the session.

You might just have a grrreat sense of humour and can also have a habit of picking on people. But in that case you end up being called "funny" or "humorous". Saying something witty does not require a great sense of humour, all it requires is a good presence of mind. And that is the thin line that distinguishes being FUNNY and being WISE. It just comes in your flow of thought. You dont have to effort on thinking what to say. The "timing" is what is important. At times even I remain bewildered that how could I say something that smart ... AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT ! Another example ...

In office we usually follow a convention (or call it formality) that if you pass by someone in the hallway you politely ask, "How are you sir, whats happening" etc. So a few days ago I was crossing a senior dev lead in our team so he smiled and followed the formality ...

He: So Alok Sir, whats happening?
Me: Nothing much sir, just routine.
He: (Taking a pick at me ...) What??? Dont tell me ... I thought you are responsible for making things happen ...
Me: Well ... thats just my routine

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

मराठी चित्रपटांना मिळालेला नवा श्वास

गेल्या महिन्यात जेव्हा बातम्यांमध्ये आणि पेपरमध्ये वाचलं की वर्षातील सर्वोत्कृष्ट चित्रपटासाठी दिलं जाणारं सुवर्ण कमळ श्वास ह्या मराठी चित्रपटाला मिळालं आहे तेव्हा सहाजिकच खुप सही वाटलं. पण जेव्हा हे वाचलं की हा मान एका मराठी चित्रपटाला तब्बल पन्नास वर्षांनंतर मिळत आहे तेव्हा विचार केला की इतका मोठा उपवास घडण्याइतकीच पत आहे का मराठी चित्रपटसृष्टीची? नक्कीच नाही!!! मी अगदी दादासाहेब फाळके, भालजी पेंढारकर, शांताराम बापू ह्या सगळ्या दिग्गजांच्या निर्मितींपर्यंत जात नाही, पण अगदी काल-परवाचे वजीर, कळत-नकळत, चौकट राजा, १०वी फ, रात्र आरंभ, एक होता विदुषक – अशी उत्कृष्ट म्हणता येतील अशा अनेक चित्रपटांची नावं सुचतात. मग ह्या आधी हा बहुमान फक्त एकाच मराठी चित्रपटाला मिळावा - हे कुठेतरी मनाला खटकतंच! सगळा सारासार विचार केला तर मात्र शेवटी हे मान्य केरावं लागतं की वर्षातून एखादा उत्कृष्ट चित्रपट देणा-या मराठी चित्रपटसृष्टीची पातळी जरा खालवली आहे खरी !! आता हेच बघा ना – मणिरत्नमचा युवा (*) कितीही घाटी असला तरी तो निव्वळ उत्सुकतेमुळे बघितला जातो, पण मराठी श्वास कितीही चांगला असला तरी त्याला सुवर्ण कमळ मिळेपर्यंत म्हणावा तसा प्रतिसाद मिळत नाही. हे बदलायला नको का?

असो, better late than never!!! श्वासला मिळालेल्या ह्या सन्मानामुळे, किंवा त्याचबरोबर श्वास oscar मध्ये भारताचं प्रतिनिधीत्व करणार आहे म्हणून तरी “मराठी” “रसिकांची” ही वृत्ती बदलायला सुरुवात होईल अशी आशा ...

तर सांगायचा मुद्दा असा की अनेक दिवस “house full” चा board बघितल्यानंतर परवा श्वासची तिकीटं मिळाली!!! आपला सख्खा नातू थोड्याच दिवसांत पूर्णपणे आंधळा होणार आहे – हे सत्य एक हताश झालेले आजोबा कसं स्वीकारतात त्याची ही गोष्ट आहे. एका typical “ART” film च्या साच्यात जर हा चित्रपट घडवला असता तर एक अतिशय भडक वास्तव दाखवणारा सिनेमा झाला असता. आणि जर commercially handle केला असता तर बायकांचे रूमाल ओले करणारा पिक्चर झाला असता. पण संदीप सावंतने ज्या सहजतेने श्वासची कथा मांडली आहे त्यामुळे ती वास्तव दाखवता – दाखवता कुठेतरी व्याकुळ करून जाते.

कोकणातल्या एका छोट्या गावात आपल्या कुटुंबाला घेऊन राहणारे (sorry – जगणारे) अतिशय सज्जन आणि भाबडे आबा आपल्या नातवाला (परशा) नीट दिसत नाही म्हणून व्याकुळ होतात आणि त्याला उपचारासाठी पुण्यात घेऊन येतात. Tests केल्यावर स्पष्ट होतं की त्याच्या retinoblastoma (डोळ्यांचा cancer) झाला आहे आणि operation करून त्याचे डोळे काढून टाकण्यावाचून काहीही पर्याय उरत नाही. तुला आता operation नंतर परत काहीही दिसणार नाही हे त्या छोट्याशा जिवाला कसं समजवायचं ह्या चिंतेत सापडलेल्या आबांना doctor आणि medical social worker असावरीची मदत मिळते. Operation ठरतं पण काही अडचणींमुळे एक दिवस पुढे जातं. त्या एका दिवसात आपल्या नातवाची होणारी तडफड आबांना बघवत नाही आणि ते कोणालाही काहीही न सांगता परशाला घेऊन hospital मधुन चक्क पळून जातात. Hospital मध्ये सहाजिकच खूप धांदल उडते. Doctors सकट सगळे प्रचंड संतापतात कारण खूप शोध घेऊन सुद्धा आबा आणि परशा कुठेही सापडत नाहीत! संध्याकाळी जेव्हा ते परत येतात तेव्हा चिडलेले doctor त्यांना “बेजबाबदार” ठरवून खूप काही ऐकवतात. पण जेव्हा ह्या “बेजबाबदार”पणामागची आबांची भूमिका कळते तेव्हा doctorच नव्हे तर चित्रपटगृहातले प्रेक्षक सुध्दा हळहळतात. उद्या ज्या मुलाची दृष्टी कायमची जाणार आहे त्याने आज डोळ्यांत काय साठवून घ्यायचं – hospital मधली औषधं का बाहेर मोकळ्या हवेत उडणारे पक्षी, शेजारचे आजारी patients का बाहेरची हिरवळ. आजवर परशाला न जगता आलेलं आणि कदाचित पुन्हा कधीही जगता न येणारं आयुष्य जर आबांनी त्याला एका दिवसात दाखवण्याचा प्रयत्न केला तर काय चुकलं त्यांचं? इतकं साधं आणि सरळ कथानक आहे श्वासचं. कथा कुठेही loose सुटलेली नाहीये. Through-out प्रेक्षकांना विचार करत ठेवतो – उगाचच भावनिक न करता!!!

काही प्रसंग मनात घर करुन बसतात. उदाहरणार्थ doctor आणि असावरी वर जबाबदारी असते की परशाला समजावणं आणि येणा-या अंधत्वाची कल्पना देणं. ते अंधळी-कोशिंबीर खेळत असताना “तुम्ही मला सारखं - सारखं डोळे बंद करायला का सांगताय, मला माहिती आहे की मी आंधळा होणार आहे” ही परशाची कबुली जराशी predictable असली तरी मनाला लागते. “त्याची तब्यैत ठीक आहे म्हणताय पण तो आज पोटभर जेवला का ते सांगा ना”, अशी काळजी करणारी परशाची आई व्याकुळ करुन जाते.

श्वासची अजून एक लक्षात रहाणारी गोष्ट म्हणजे त्यात चितारलेलं कोकण!!! एकेक frame इतकी सुंदर आहे की तिथं जाऊन तिथंच राहून जावंसं वाटावं.

श्वास लगान इतका high-budget नाहीच, पण त्याच्या निर्मितीचे पैसे गोळा करणंसुध्दा इतकं सोपं नसावं ह्याचा अंदाज निर्मात्यांच्या यादीत संदीप सावंत आणि अरूण नलावडे सोडून इतर एकूण सहा नावं बघून लगेच येतो. आता oscar साठी लगान इतकी प्रसिध्दी करणंही त्यांना शक्य नाही हे अगदी स्पष्ट आहे. पण श्वासचा साधेपणा आणि विषयाची सहज-सोपी मांडणीच त्याची सर्वात जमेची बाजू म्हणता येईल. ह्याच जोरावर एका मराठी चित्रपटाने oscar मध्ये इतिहास घडवावा आणि मराठी चित्रपटविश्वाला नवा श्वास द्यावा हीच मनापासून कामना!!!

श्वास आणि लगानची तुलना करणं कदाचित बरोबर नाही. पण या आधी भारताकडून oscarला गेलेल्या जीन्स आणि देवदास (*) पेक्षा तरी श्वास चांगलाच म्हणावा लागेल. कारण श्वासमध्ये चित्रपटाच्या नायकाच्या बाबतीत जेव्हा काही वाईट घडतं तेव्हा प्रेक्षकांना निदान वाईट तरी वाटतं !!!

(*) Disclaimer – इथे घेतलेल्या काही चित्रपटांची नावं प्रथम सुचली म्हणून वापरली. त्यांबद्दल मांडलेली मतं माझी वैयक्तिक असून इथे कोणालाही दुखवायचा हेतू नव्हे.