Collateral Beauty.

I confess that I can not stay away from a movie with Will Smith in it. Throw in Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren and wild horses won’t be able to keep me away from one if it came my way.

I ventured to see this film despite poor reviews because of the liking for the above three actors and I am glad that I did not heed the critics. And I discovered another remarkable actor in Naomi Harris.

The story revolves around, love, death, handling loss, family and friendship. A difficult story that can be called a tear jerker in many ways, but one presented in a profoundly touching way in this film. Superb direction and acting by every single one of the cast, made it a very touching experience for me to watch. Even my friend Ramesh who is tougher than I am and more cynical than I am about human beings, was touched and I was quite surprised.

The final twist to the story is another very attractive feature of the film and a very nice touch.

My advise to my readers is not to heed what the critics have said and see it.   If human frailty, resilience and demonstration of handling adversity presented very professionally appeals to you, this is a movie not to be missed.

Wondering or Worrying?

“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.”
~ Margaret Mead,

No, I don’t quite sit up like that and wait for my son and daughter in love to return from late night outings. I however toss and turn and sleep intermittently till they return. When I hear the front door open and shut, I fall into deep sleep.

I rarely go out in the evenings or for late night parties as just about all my friends know that I do not consume alcoholic beverages or eat dinner and so will be a bore! But, occasionally I have to attend some function or the other and on those occasions, my children tell me that they worry too.

I think that Margaret Mead got it wrong. It might have been quite right to wonder about one’s whereabouts in her time, but today, with gory stories about late night mishaps every morning in the newspapers, it is more worry than wonder.

Memory Trigger 10. Stenography.


Since I was without the use of my computer over the weekend, quite a bit of my exchange of views took place on my hand held mobile phone. One of my friends, exchanging messages on WhatsApp asked me how I could type so fast in responding to his messages. And that triggered the memory of my training to be a stenographer. You can read all about how I got trained to be a stenographer below. I have copy pasted from a post that I wrote nine years ago in a community blog.

When I had matriculated, not with such great scores that I could walk into either an engineering or medical stream for further education, I was advised by well wishers to study to become a stenographer! I was advised that apart from a nice secure comfortable job, if that is what I wanted, I could also aspire to become a journalist, a very noble profession. Since I did not know any better, and I had to study something which would give me some income, I joined up with what was then a leading institution in Hyderabad. The Frank Anthony Institute of Stenography or some such name.

Frank Anthony was a leader of the Anglo Indians and a member of the Rajya Sabha. Anglo Indians, particularly their women, were being employed in hundreds as Secretaries and I quite enjoyed studying in this institute where I was the only male! I duly learned Pitman’s short hand and the touch typing method under the guidance of a venerable Anglo Indian gentleman, who thought that I should rather study to be a soldier.

I was able to secure employment almost immediately with a civil contractor to handle all his correspondence, tender filling etc. Though I did not have much use for the short hand skills, I did quite a bit of typing on nice Remington typewriters, using reams of foolscap paper and carbon sheets. All good things come to an end, and since my talents were being underutilized, I was persuaded to undertake some selling of the then new electrical item starters.

I never looked back and till I eventually became a manager and had to dictate or type messages for the telex machine, I never had to use my typing skills or ever take dictation. I used to refresh my secretary’s own taken down notes when she could not decipher her own short hand! When computerization came around, the employees who were selected and sent for training were inevitably those who could type! Logical as, most of the work then used to be data entry only.

Fast forward to Senior Management and I had to attend a number of useless meetings and submit my portion of the minutes at the end of each meeting, and Pittman’s came to my help. Electronic typing machines were then the in things and I used to quite enjoy showing off my skills.


A few more years, and bingo, I was at the top most position sans a secretary but with a lap top. What a joke! Laps were the tops used by secretaries made famous by cartoonists! We were now using lap top computers as secretaries, communicators, filing cabinets, and just about any thing else one could think of.

Now, I am blogging and sending emails and using my typing skills which enables speed and accuracy but for other than these uses, I would not be able to get a job any where as a Secretary or a Stenographer as, these positions have simply disappeared! I believe that it is now next to impossible to find some institute where one can learn Pitman’s short hand!

Dear Zindagi.

Some friends had highly praised Alia Bhatt‘s performance in this film and despite not being a great fan of Shah Rukh Khan, I accompanied a friend to watch it before it got taken away from the screens.

I was impressed by Alia Bhatt’s performance. With every movie, she seems to be maturing into a remarkable actor. The last I saw her was in Udta Punjab where I thought her performance to be easily the best in the film despite other heavy weights in bigger roles. In Dear Zindagi, she plays a completely different role with aplomb and I am glad that I went to see her on the recommendation of my friends.

Shah Rukh Khan disappointed me despite playing his real life age for a change. Perhaps someone else like say Anupam Kher would have done better in the role of a counsellor. I guess that the film being a family production, and the subject being rather understated in our society, psychiatry, they decided to add him to the cast for insurance.

The rest of the cast. almost all. play more or less cameo roles, and that is perhaps why the film made such a good impression on me.

A big plus for great direction and cinematography.

Others who saw it with me, were not so impressed with the story line and I over heard them complaining that the technical aspect of counselling left much to be desired, but I think that considering the time constraints, it had to be kept tight and in that process, some sacrifices had to be made.

Two and a half hours of the feature film, ads and intermission taking the total to almost three hours in the theatre and commuting time added, the three and a half hours spent on it was worth while.

I recommend it to those who have not seen it already.

The Person I Admire Most Is:

I do not want to intrude into his privacy and so he shall remain unnamed for this post.

He is an amazing individual who has been a quadriplegic for the past quarter century due to an automobile accident that left him paralysed below the hips.

He is my son’s friend and one of the most cheerful persons that I have ever met.  He lights up the atmosphere wherever he is and it is difficult to imagine him being invalid if one did not know the background.  Particularly so when he sits behind the counter in his shop that his family has been running for the past sixty plus years in Pune.

He is wheel chair bound but drives a car that has been specially adapted for him.  He is more mobile and active  than I am!

He has personally fought a civil suit as he lost confidence in his lawyer to get him justice and won it much to the amazement of the legal profession here.

His determination and never say die attitude can be summed up by a message that he sent me once when we were exchanging messages on an unrelated matter.

“Let us for once be pessimistic about our intellect and instead be optimistic about our faith.”

The topic for this LBC Friday post was suggested by Shackman. You can see what he and Pravin are upto in their respective blogs.