I am not a fan of Shah Rukh Khan but having seen the trailer of Raees, and reading good reviews of  it, I went to see it yesterday. I had another reason for wanting to see the film and that was that I had met the character portrayed in the film in Ahmedabad a couple of times in the mid 1980s. Not as my bootlegger but as an important personage attending a couple of weddings that I had gone to attend too.

Good story, direction, cinematography, unobtrusive music and great editing makes for an enjoyable experience.  I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to all my readers who like to see Bollywood films.

Having said that, let me talk about the actors. Leaving aside the three main actors, every one without exception produces professional performances even in the smallest and shortest of roles. Speaks volumes for direction.

SRK disappoints. He tries to do what Amitabh Bacchan did as the angry young man in the 1980s and fails miserably. He is reputed to be a suave actor in romantic scenes but in this film, he fails miserably with wooden performances in such scenes. I suspect that had he just tried to be himself, he would have come across better in the role.

On the other hand, Nawazuddin Siddiqui though under utilised, steals every scene that he appears in with effortless ease. There is one particular scene where his senior police officer ticks him off and he responds with a cool “Jai Hind” that is simply breathtaking.

The leading lady, a Pakistani actress Mahira Khan produces a professional performance without being overawed by the presence of the star hero. I however wonder why an Indian actress could not have been found for the role.

Monkey Mind 2.

As I neared the auto-rickshaw stand near my residence earlier this afternoon at about 3.30 pm, I saw that one rickshaw was stationary with a lady standing near it and chatting with the driver. The driver signalled that he wasn’t available to ferry me. I started to walk to another stand about 100 mts away, when another empty rickshaw came along and offered to take me wherever I wanted to go.

As I entered the rickshaw, the driver, very visibly a Muslim, said “Asssalamalaikum” and I automatically responded with “Walaikumassalaam’. He must have decided that I too was a Muslim seeing my beard and the native dress that I wear usually.

During the short journey to the mall which was my destination, the driver asked my permission to ask for a favour and on being given permission narrated a story. His four year old daughter was in hospital undergoing surgery and treatment for injuries suffered from an accident and he was desperately working long hours to raise enough money and sought financial help from me. He kept insisting that Allah will bless me and that the driver would return the money in a few week’s time if I gave him my address. By the time we reached the mall I had decided to help him and instead of the normal fare of about Rs.35.00 I gave him Rs.500.00 and told him that instead of returning the money to me he should help someone else in need at some future point of time. He was all gratitude and touched my feet and hugged me with tears in his eyes and I turned away to enter the mall.

As I entered the mall, my monkey mind took over. Did I do the right thing or had I just been conned by a con artist? I said to myself that the man did not look like a conman and looked genuinely to be distressed. My monkey mind suggested that good conmen are successful because they do not look like conmen. I tried to put my mind at rest by suggesting that I had done something good and if I had been suckered, so be it. I had earned positive karmic points anyway!

As I write this it is 9.15 pm and this internal dialogue is still going on.

How our mind works!


Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.
~ Ayn Rand

The two stories given below are true and I have been asked the same questions that I ask my readers, by the persons involved. I am no expert on loyalty but modern life throws up interesting case histories like these to make my retired life interesting!

Story 1.

AB has lived in the same block of flats for fifteen years and from the time she moved in there, she has had the same maid come in to help her. The maid had become more or less a part of the family as it were and AB’s two school going children were pampered by her to be like her own children.

CD moved in to a flat two floors above AB’s in the same building a few months ago. AB and CD met in the lift a few times and exchanged visits to each other.   In time they became good friends.

Things soured however when CD offered a much higher salary to AB’s maid and stole her away from AB. The latter with a heavy heart let the maid go but would not offer the same salary offered to the maid by CD to enable the maid to stay on. In due course, AB found another maid and life went on but the relationship between AB and CD was irrevocably broken.

Three months down the line, the maid quit her job with CD as she found the treatment there not quite what she was accustomed to at AB’s. She came back to AB and sought the old position back at the same old salary.

What should AB do?

Story 2.

EF found that her old friend GH was on facebook and sent a friend request to the latter which was promptly accepted. The long forgotten friendship was reestablished online and operated smoothly for a while when national politics went crazy and both found themselves on the opposite sides of the spectrum. EF became quite sarcastic and toxic in her comments on GH’s posts and so the latter simply unfriended her.

In the meanwhile, EF had sent friend requests to some of GH’s facebook friends who seeing that she was friends with GH had accepted the requests and EF made her presence felt in those pages as well.

One of GH’s friends messaged her one day and asked about EF as she found that she was being rude in her comments.

How should GH respond?

I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

The Monkey Mind.

I have known JG since 1967. We were colleagues in the same organisation till I left the organisation in 1990. Our friendship strengethened when I was posted to Delhi where JG lives and our two families too got to know each other very well.

I have been in regular touch with him despite not being his colleague. He and his wife would come to Mahabaleshwar often where they had a relative with a large estate. They would inevitably spend some time with us on their way up as well as back.

Every time I visited Delhi, I would visit him and spend some time with him and his family. I would also ring him up without fail every year on his birthday and he would be extremely happy to hear from me.

This year too, I rang him up a few days ago on his birthday and got the recorded message that his mobile phone was switched off. I tried his landline and there was no response despite trying a number of times. I sent him an SMS greetings but did not get any acknowledgement from him.

JG had had open heart surgery a couple of years ago, and my mind went into overdrive. I started to imagine all kinds of dire things. I finally got another friend to go to JG’s house and check out what the scene was, but due to some unavoidable developments that got delayed. I however got a phone call from the friend that JG’s mobile was now functioning and so I called him yesterday only to find that he is quite cheerful and he was sorry that he could not speak to me on his birthday. Due to big family celebrations, he had switched off the telephones and the whole day was spent by him and his extended family celebrating his birthday. He further said that he had not checked his emails or text messages and that was why he caused me to worry. He was most apologetic and assured me that he was hale and hearty and thanked me for remembering him on his birthday.

How our mind works!