Delhi April-May 2009 Day 1

I am finally in Delhi after two year gap. Last time I was here was in the summer of 2007. Since then much water has flown below the bridge. But this time I am on an `official’ visit.

Anyways. Since the train tickets were not booked too early, there was no chance that I would have got any reservation. So had to fly. Then I tried for the `no frills’ flights. The week I checked them they were ~ [LaTeX code: $\sim$ ;)] 2.5 K. But the next week the same flight cost me ~ 4.2 K. So this was a `no frills’ flight whose cost nearly as same as that with a flight with frills.

During my last visit I had a fiasco with train which I was supposed to board to go to Nagpur, which is another story. That travelogue is still in analog form, have not yet blogged it. Two years down the line. But since then I become quite nervous and anxious when I am about to leave for a longish journey. During one or two days prior to the journey, I sort of become OCDed, I check the tickets and timings again and again. And as if I have lost confidence in myself, I confirm the date with others also. So this flight was scheduled on Friday the 24th of April at 17:10 hrs. So when I checked and rechecked the flight status, finally the day arrived and I was ready to go.

I reached the airport comfortably two hours before the departure. The check in was done in five minutes and I had the boarding pass in my hand. The airlines people were asking for photo-id from others, some how for me they did not. [Does my name and personality match so much?] So after I just went ahead with the security check of mine and the cabin luggage. I put all my accessories in the bag itself. And was myself clean. I waited for my turn before they would frisk my body with a metal detector. It seemed like eternity. Finally my turn came. As I did not have any metal things, the security guy did not have the much to do. But he was a bit taken aback with my waist watch. I mean those of you who remember the Fastrack advertise of girls hanging ulta from trees and asking यार टाईम क्या हुअा है? will understand. So the way he was standing he could not obviously understand the placing the watch on my waist and then not being able to make any sense out of it. He asked me to take it out, and had a look at it, so as to understand what kind of watch was that. But then, finally he gave up, put the watch down along with the security stamp on my boarding pass. The cabin luggage [bag] also had been cleared for security.

Then I went to the waiting area. I called up people to bask on my achievements of clearing the security check so quickly. There is a Cafe Coffee Day counter, inside the security area.
So after ordering a cappucino I sat with a view of the airplanes just about to board. Every now and then I would also have glimpse at the flights that had just taken off. Having sips of coffee with such a splendid view are moments to be cherished.

In the waiting area, aptly called so, people come from the security checks wait there for some time and then go for the flights. This for me was like wathcing a time-lapse movie when I was having my sips of coffee. Just outside the waiting room, the world is entirely different. There are all kinds of activities and vehicles going around there, in seemingly chaotic manner. But, there is clearly a method in this madness. How do these people communicate with each others, I do not know, but everyone was seemed to know where they wanted to go.

While waiting in the `waiting area’ I browsed through a lot of newspapers. Most of it was trash. Babes in skimpy clothes, ads for which I had least interest and politics. With the soaring temperatures of summer, it seems that election heat is also increasing. But, this time around I have least interest in who is going to be in power. Anyways, the day before was the Phase 2 of elections in Maharashtra. So the news papers had quite some photos of the people who had successfully voted in these elections.

They say that the percentage of people who came for voting is on average ~ 50%. So this is supposed to be worrying trend. Out of all the photos that I saw, there was one of an old lady. People posed with blackened fingers to assert that they had indeed voted. The indelible ink. This lady was about 70 years of age. And they had put the indelible ink on her middle finger. And she was showing a blackened middle finger with pride to the entire nation. Where is the moral brigade now? Won’t anybody charge her of obscenity in public place?

In the middle part of ceiling in the waiting area, they have created a glass ceiling. Not the one which is here but the real one. Well, one can say that, this is a glass ceiling which separates the flys and fly-nots [literally, no pun or metaphor intended], but then I rest my case. The view from this ceiling was amazing. The sky was blue and a few white clouds here and there were coming in view. From the large ventilation pipes overhead, this little [well, not very little] window gave a different view as to tell the passengers awaiting there in the waiting room that the sky above was waiting for them. Every now and then a flight would be visible. moving across the skyline. There were two people who were cleaning the glass above. They cleaned the very glass which separated them [fly-nots] from the rest of us [flys]. But, this, I think is true in our society everywhere. People from the oppressed lot are used to oppress people. I felt bad about them and all the cleaners and other people who are class 3 or 4 employees. They see so many flights, everyday. They are ones who make the operation of the entire airport possible, but they may in all their lives never get a chance to fly. They are like birds with their wings clipped, so that they cannot fly.

Well, coming back to the flight, they announced that there will be 10 minute delay in the flight, as the incoming flight from Goa was late. So, I was a bit disappointed. After a lot of wait, and it was not 10 minutes definitely, we boarded the flight. The air crew from the previous flight tended to us till we were seated. I had booked a window seat this time, as never I had had a window seat.

Well then the ‘cabin baggage’ nicely tucked in the overhead compartment, I sat, watching the view outside from my little window [this time I mean it]. The flight plan was announced by the hostess, with names of the captain and the attending staff being told.

”हम दिल्ली जाएगें”

She said in a sweet voice. Well after a few minutes from that, the plane finally began to move. I had a sigh of relief. But soon this relief turned to frustration, as for the next 20-25 minutes we were on the runway. This gave me all the views of the airport, especially the slums around it. Heaps of garbage and kids playing on it, seemed like a shot straight out of Slumdog Millionaire [see my post here]. When Danny Boyle had landed in Mumbai, he must have seen these kids and made it into the first part of the film. I saw two flights land from a bug’s eye-view. So finally after a long wait we were on the runway. And we ran away to the sky…

When the flight is gaining altitude [as they call it], you experience a force, which is not very pleasant. One could see the almost completed Worli-Bandra sea link, from a bird’s eye-view. I could recognise many of the areas, like Mahim creek and all that. But that was it. We flew Westwards towards the sea, never to comeback to the city of Mumbai below. With the acrobatics the plane was performing, there was an illusion, with the position that the plane was in, the sea went up. Till I could see out of my window, I could just see grey waters below. The experience was very dis-orienting.

We soon went over the clouds and the picture above would make you see what I saw. The clouds seemed like a carpet [cotton] spread over the entire area below. It was an amazing sight…

Soon the light began to fade, and sun from a blazing yellow went towards deep orange.

The horizon seems endless from this height. The contrast in the colors below and above horizon during Sunset become most stark. Below, you have a dark mass of unknown regions, the horizon it self becomes blazing line of orange. And above that you have a gradient from orange to dark blue. It thought I saw a few stars here and there…

So the final moments of Sunset in the picture above.

And this is what the horizon looks after the Sunset. This condition stayed on for a while. Then the darkness ascended. Now both the sky above and the land below were darkened. No visibility. This is the twilight.

Soon the one could see lights here and there in the land below. At a few times I saw intense orange lights [Sodium vapor ones], but apparently randomly placed. I could not find any structure in them.

Soon the formless light structures, gave way to villages and hamlets. One could make out the roads, which were straight and were lighted regularly. The cities from above looked like fractal structure. The sight was amazing.

Delhi, light everywhere…

All was Light…

But, unfortunately I could not get it pictures, or was it for my eyes only.

Seemed like golden and silver dust has been sprayed in the darkness of the night and what forms is the city below. Streams of cars and highways were in all directions. The cars coming towards us were all yellow, and those away were all red.

The flight lands after a long delay.

We are finally in Delhi, it is officially announced.

So much for the first day.

Dunno whether be able to continue this for the later days..

till then ciao


Delhi 6

I have been to the rustic lanes of Delhi 6 twice. Once when I was a kid, and other when I was a bigger kid. The other visit obviously will have lasting memories through my life. When you come out of the Chawri Bazaar metro station, which is a relic of the 21st century design, expect the unexpected. Architecture and artefacts outside the station are from another era. Time it seems has a different pace here. The experience that you get here, will be no different from when you go to the old part of any city. But the mix of tradition and modernity that you get to see in Delhi is unique.
The old walled city was established by Shahjahan, and was called Shahjahanabaad or rather 110006 as in the Postal Identification Number Code of the Indian Postal Department. People who have lived there for generations would sure have feelings about the place which I might not be able to reflect at all. For all my life I have never lived in such a locality. There are many things that interested me in this part of Delhi. Apart from historical significance it has one of the largest old book bazaars that I have ever seen. And since I am a bibliophile [see older post here], this is a “Mile long candy shop” for me.
Anyways first I came to know about Delhi 6, the film by the song Masakali [Singer: Mohit Chauhan], in which Sonam Kapoor steals the show. So immediately got the entire soundtrack. And it is amazing. While writing this review I am listening to the same sound track. Rahman, as usual has done a lot of hard work for this too. Just listen to the variety of musical styles he has used in the film and that too to the best of the songs. The other favourites are Arziyan [Singers: Javed Ali, Kailash Kher], Kala Bandar [Singers: Karthik, Naresh Iyer, Srinivas, Bony Chakravarthy] and Delhi 6 Title Track [Singers: Blaaze, Benny Dayal, Vivianne Chaix, Tanvi Shah, Claire] which proves that no genre of music is beyond Rahman. He will do music from all around the globe, still retaining his unique style. Rahman has taken music to another dimension.
So much about the music. It is defnitely one of the better contemporary OSTs that I have heard. Then came the posters and the trailers of Delhi 6. The design of the posters was also good. All this raised my expectations about the film …..
But, alas, if you have done these two, just stop there, this is the best part about the film. Rather than watching the film, I would recommend to buy the audio CD and be happy with that.
If you want to see, how a director with a good cast, good location and lots of budget can screw up, then Delhi 6 is a fine example of that. ROM short for Rakesh [oops Rakyesh] Omprakash Mehra, thinks that whatever he will serve on the platter, public will accept. But sorry ROM, I had high hopes from you, you disappointed me. I don’t even need to compare Delhi 6 with your previous work viz. Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6 is by itself a disaster.
Abhishekh Bacchan plays Roshan, who is a ABCD. He returns to Delhi with his granny played by Waheeda Rehman, who is counting her last days. They start living in their ancestral house in the old lanes of Delhi 6. The come to Delhi during Raam Leela, and the film ends on dusshera. As the film develops more characters are added to the cast. Some of the shots which capture the spirit of the walled city are really well taken, but this is the better part of the film. If you look at the content of the film in terms of the story, the film is a bore. The story does not go anywhere, rather there is no sense of direction. So ROM becomes the non-director of the film. Why do you need to produce such films Mr. Screwwala?
If you look at all the actors that are the part of the film, they are by themselves great. But with their characters in the story, the entire thing story does not fall into place. The events in the film are themselves non connected to each other and the characters as well. And one of the best actors in the film is the Kala Bandar, who had the potential to make or break the film. Unfortunately, Kala Bandar did break the film.
Mr ROM, I think you had intentions of making the film for fundamentalists on either side of the Hindu-Muslim divide, then you have failed miserably. Another suggestion for the title of the film would be “Religious Fundamentalism for Dummies”. But the film fails to convey the message to them. It begs the question to be asked.

जाने किस रंग में रंगे, हमाम में हम सारे नंगे

The hysteria about the kala bandar in masses and the media is common place in these days of the information revolution. To have a look at worst of them, just tune into India TV, by far one of the worst cases of sensationalizing the news that I have seen. Why don’t they have a provision for banning such media production houses. Though Mr ROM, you do media bashing in your film, your film itself is no better than the channels that you have bashed.
The character of Roshan is a dumb one. He is really ABCD. If he had died in the film, I am sure he would have got the Darwin Award. For those who don’t know or don’t want to visit the link Darwin Awards are given to the individuals who have done a great service to the human race, by deleting themselves from the gene pool, by killing themselves in stupid and idiotic ways. So Darwin Awards are given only posthumously. Unfortunately the character of Roshan does not die in the film, so we Indians are depraved from that Award, at least for this film. I think that the Kala Bandar is the residual self image of Roshan’s character, which comes out in the end and meets an end. Mr Bacchan Jr, why don’t you think about the movies that you work with, wasn’t Drona a lesson enough. And as for Sonam Kapoor, babe I am sorry for you, maybe you should consider better roles in your next film. The jodi of Gobar and Jalebi played by Atul Kulkarni and Divya Dutta outperform the rest of the crew, kudos to them.
Anyways the climax is the real anti-climax of the film. Mr ROM why can’t you be a bit subtle about the content, I think you don’t believe that the viewers of your movie have some analytical capacity, why the hell do we need the narrator to tell what is evident?
Final Rating: 1 out of 5; the music and the posters are much better than the movie itself, be content with that.