A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


Truly a Vijay Diwas

This is in continuation to my previous post, about Vijay Diwas (link ), that was to have been observed on 26 July, 2013, to mark yet another anniversary of the success of Operation Vijay, at Kargil. The fourteenth anniversary.

So why am I here, at least two days late, and that too with a weekend in between? 😀 Do excuse me, but I had made a promise to myself, having mounted a personal Operation Vijay to succeed with marking papers (and nothing, NOTHING was to come between me and that task 😛 )! Let me give you the good news of that success first!

But, more importantly, it was the success of the activity at school that really makes me call it a Vijay Diwas. Victory in small and great measures. In that single day’s activity, whether it registered fully or not, the entire campus, each classroom, the corridors, the window panes, were awash with messages of Patriotism, with skits, paintings on the walls, puppets, models, charts, candles lit, and the air of festive victory was indeed tempered with a bit of sombre memories of the happenings  fourteen years ago. 🙂

I normally do not like to share pictures of students for obvious reasons, but I think this time I should, just to show you their fine effort here (my class particularly :D) and also when they had made displays for the first and second days of this Malayalam Month, Karkidakom (this year it is started on 16 July… also called the Ramayana Maasam (meaning month). They learnt much then too, of the ‘Dashapushpam’, the ten plants that are revered, and used through the  month, and honoured too! And the “Pathela” (10 leaves, Pathth – 10, Ela – leaf)). which is cooked ( a recipe that my mother shared and which has been written down in Malayalam figures in the picture 🙂 ) on the first Friday of this Malayalam month. The activities really brought home the ignorance of the kids, who could not recognize these simple plants and leaves that grew in abundance in their own little compounds, and even on the roadside. It however helped to rectify this problem to an extent, when they actually did research, and did the arrangement; and more importantly, connected with their grandparents in finding out the history behind it all! For me too, it was a huge learning experience! Let me just show you 🙂 The pictures are extremely amateurish, but what the heck, they’re still precious to me 🙂

26 July, 2013, in School 🙂

A section of the boys :D

A section of the boys 😀

The display at the back of the class... the concept was entire theirs :)

The display at the back of the class… the concept was entire theirs 🙂

A few lines of 'Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon' It was sung at Assembly that morning!

The PVC awardees... three of whom received it Posthumously

The PVC awardees… three of whom received it Posthumously

The zeal of the students in explaining to our visitors was so touching!

The zeal of the students in explaining to our visitors was so touching!

Us! A glimpse :)

Us! A glimpse 🙂

Us again... with a view of the back wall where the main display was!

Us again… with a view of the back wall where the main display was!

16th and 17th July, 2012: The Dashapushpam and Paththela Display 🙂

A look at the Dashapushpam, and the chart alongside

The making of the 'Paththela' Chart - the creativity was wonderful!

The making of the ‘Paththela’ Chart – the creativity was wonderful!

Many hands make light work :)

Many hands make light work 🙂

Getting in touch with Nature :)

Getting in touch with Nature 🙂

The Dashapushpam Display

This was simply out of the world! Paththela, written in Malayalam, on a leaf (I don't know which one it is, truly :D )

This was simply out of the world! Paththela, written in Malayalam, on a leaf (I don’t know which one it is, truly 😀 )

The chart, the leaf, and a recipe to boot :) Errm... to cook :P

The chart, the leaf, and a recipe to boot 🙂 Errm… to cook 😛

Today is also my second born’s “Malayalam” birthday 🙂 We’re really lucky in that we can celebrate a birthday twice 😀 Twice the happiness, twice the effort too, sometimes, but it’s also two days we feel special, and love to make another feel special 🙂 Our parents have always done this, marked both days with little joys, and so it continues 🙂 🙂 Achukutts, the real post is coming, but do take your share of good wishes, and perk up your awesomeness factor 🙂 It may be the end of the day, almost, but well, that really doesnt matter :D! What matters is that you are so so so loved 🙂

28 July 2013

Edited to add, on 29 July, 2013

The Class (9D), won the best class in their category 🙂 🙂 Proud of you kids 🙂 🙂 They got a special mention for the way they took our visitors around, and graciously explained the display! Yippeeeee!


Fourteen Years On…

… and yet another anniversary of the success of Operation Vijay, of the Kargil fame comes around, on 26 July, 2013. (Trivia: there are 26 errrm… 24…spokes on the Ashoka Chakra which graces the middle of our Tiranga 🙂 – Thank you Hrishikesh for the correction!)While there is jubilation of the success of our Soldiers’ feat in hostile territory in even more hostile conditions, there is a sombre sense of loss, of a deep deep R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for them, and a sense of betrayal at the ineptitude of the Government Machinery back then, and even now, as episode after similar episode flares.
Looking at the trailers of D-Day (I presume it has something to do with the militant nature of our response, and therefore good film material, seeing that it may never come to reality :/), I wonder at how we almost came to head-on conflict before it was scuttled away. There were rumours aplenty, and hope had risen, though, definitely, definitively, violence is never the answer. However, the urge to kick some ass, sorely tries the patient Indian’s patience no end. And yet we have silent, silenced leaders leading us into God only knows what!
Fourteen years on, I think of those times when the mountains were in all of our homes, through the highly televised goings on, and wonder, has our patriotic fervour dimmed a bit? Are we back to blather and more blather?
I have a class of young teenagers who were perhaps born the year Operation Vijay took place. They have NO idea, till they are involved in the activity of making class presentations, through displays and decorations, about the significance of this day.
Still I am glad there is an opportunity for them to find out. Even if it be a sort of wager with others.
Something, anything at all, will be learned. At least the faces of Capt. Vikram Batra, Lt. Manoj Pandey, Grenadier Yoginder Singh Yadav and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar will egg them on. And they will find within them a sense of belonging with those who did, and dared, and dreamed and selflessly kept our faith in them.

Salutes, O Heroes.

The Param Vir Chakra Awardees, of Operation Vijay:

Lt. Manoj Pandey


Capt Vikram Batra (of the ‘Yeh Dil Mange More’ cry)

vikram Batra

Grenadier Yoginder Singh Yadav (look out for him, marching ahead of the Parade on Republic Day 🙂 )

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar

Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, PVC


And closer home, very very close to home, a martyr whose family is known to us, at school –

Lt. Col. Viswanathan

lt col viswanathan

(Both his children have been part of our School. Anjali and Akshay. Anjali is now a qualified Engineer (from NUS, Singapore), and on her first job 🙂 Akshay starts his integrated MSc. in Photonics sometime now 🙂 )

A sort of compilation of the bare essentials regarding all of them has been compiled into this document, that you can download and read, if you wish, and share it wherever you’d like to:

vijay diwas

(click on the link above and it will download – do let me know of any erroneous facts there – all of it has been sourced from the internet)

Our deepest gratitude to the soldiers, and indeed their families. We can never thank them enough.

Jai Hind! 

25 July, 2013, for 26 July, 2013 (Vijay Diwas, 1999)


Bhag Milkha Bhag – The Raftaar of Dreams

 Alert: Long, sometimes rambling read ahead. Reader discretion advised; the course might meander, and your interest waver; however, steadfast I remain… the words won’t let me be 😀

As I have, before, let me place my lack of credentials in doing any sort of review, either of book or movie (please refer to the sidebar that has the disclaimer in place 😀 ). This here is one more example from those here (link); I am here simply to share my experience of it. You won’t find technicalities, and references and names ( I know, I know, Movie buff that I profess to be, I ought to do more of that!) – for me, movies are magic. They take me out of myself, let me get into the screen that plays out almost every imaginable fantasy and mood. And sometimes leaves me breathless for having been part of it all 🙂 I could wax eloquent on this, but I’m sure you’re not in the mood 😆

The title of the post came with a (non)-review I thought of for Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. I did not do it, because I had not watched the first ten minutes (late 😦 ), and would you believe (you’ll probably want to pelt me with bricks for this!) we missed THE song. Madhuri Dixit’s! *ducks to avoid the missiles flying everywhere* My penance, and your gift? I did not write that review. 😀

However, the title was in place, and an empty post page went into a draft. Till now. Till I realized what a perfect title it made, for the ONE movie that has quite captured my heart, and injected, no, imbued me with such inspiration, that I never knew was possible, and that too, for a movie. I’m of course, talking of Bhag Milkha Bhag. There. The dream, and the relentless pursuit of it, not knowing a dream was indeed unfolding. No airy fantasy dream, too. This time it was life. A dream. Life. And, suddenly, where the film is concerned, it is interchangeable. But, I get ahead of myself! And by now the few faithfuls here know how I love to meander 😀

Bhaag-Milkha-Bhaag-posterWe’ve all admired and endlessly sung paeans to Milkha Singh, the real one. Pushed around a few jokes too, about the ‘relaxing’ and the ‘Milkha Singh’ variety. Suddenly, I’m ashamed, I did, too, in the past. All I had was a ringside view, through a short extract from his book, once. Now, the story, fact, fictionalized perhaps to an extent, and its attendant emotions make me feel all the smaller, for having done that once upon a sometime. That’s what this film did to me. We knew that it wasn’t just luck, but deep and persevering commitment to doing what he did, to make that wonder of a season of medals happen, and yet, years on, it was simply taken for granted, his success, and brushed aside, just as easily.

Bhag Milkha Bhag jolts you out of that jaded almost indifferent attitude you have for Sport in India. It shows you. It makes you feel. And it makes you wish, hope, and dream that someday, someone will then become a Milkha again. Sigh. Almost 500 plus words and nothing on the film yet. 😆 Typical, ain’t it?

m2The movie opens on the one moment Milkha Singh, and indeed every Indian back then even now, would find unforgivable. His loss, if one can term it that way, at the 1960 Rome Olympics. So, it’s done, the lead up to the finale of a great career. He lost, and so where does the film go? Forward, by going backward. But this time, the traditional flashback, from the early days, chronologically proceeding to its fated conclusion is not the manner of this plot. I liked that tremendously. Of course, it goes without saying, I am biased. 😀

The story moves further, to his refusal to go to Pakistan, to participate in a friendly competition with them, and lead the team. We learn, in a slow unfolding of his story, from different persons, especially his first coach, and a younger Milkha making a counter-point, adding one more pieces to the bigger picture. His younger days in Multan in undivided India. The horrors of the partition. His deep love for his sister who took care of him. His foray into being a rebellious juvenile delinquent. (His biography does speak of time spent in jail, though the other activities of the juvenile may have more fiction than fact 🙂 ) I’m being chronological here, though it does not necessarily follow this order in the film. The movement, back and forth, from present moment to the time in the past, is very well edited, and quite seamless in its progress. It unfolds mainly through the eyes, and the heart of his first coach, Gurdev Singh, ably portrayed by Pavan Malhotra, who is trying to explain to Pandit Nehru’s aide why Milkha has refused to go to Pakistan for the friendly games. Bit by bit, each bit complete and steadfast to Milkha is this tribute to the inner demon that drove him; while paradoxically, the innocence of the sportsman shines through. Throughout.

ms-msboy milkhaFarhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh is exceptional. Brilliant. Awesome. In the true sense of each of these words. Truly. He carries the movie almost single-handedly, though one must give credit to each of his co-actors, even Sonam Kapoor. 😛 . Farhan is Milkha. You can’t not believe otherwise. He’s been described as ‘phenomenal’, ‘brilliant’, ‘inspirational’… by his own colleagues in the industry, in this film. True. Fact. The young actor who portrayed Milkha’s boyhood days, Japtej Singh (read about him here ) is almost on par with Farhan Akhtar. It’s the eyes that mesmerize. That show that innocence, the dream. Their faces mirror life, each at the point in life they are in. In each case, the actor and the character mesh in a way that one does not feel there is a mask. There is none. Farhan is Milkha. You’ve got to see him light up the screen to believe. A finer metaphor to have evolved, I do not think I have seen, in recent times.

And the voiceover of ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’. At different points in the story there is a reason it rings out loud, that you do not need any other background sound. Be it desperation, encouragement, rage, and on occasion, a heartbroken plea – each at its particular moment rang clear, releasing a flood of emotion for the onscreen Milkha and the almost always us.

But the innocence of the man. His dream. His burning desire. His shame, at the Melbourne Olympics. And his determination to undo it. Amazing. Just amazing.

What did I forget? The music. The MUSIC! It has been playing on loop in our car, and the remote is stilled when it plays on whichever channel it is at. Shankar-Loy-Ehsaan have done a beautiful job. The screen play is fantastic. The editing too, superb. The dialogues witty, even though there is a lot of Punjabi. And Milkha’s ‘haau‘, meaning ‘YES’. For me, there isn’t even one wrong note in this symphony to that great Athlete.  Not one. The scene where he re-visits his home in Pakistan is a goosebumpy one. We were in a multiplex where most of the crowd were young college students. During that scene, where a heartbroken Milkha sobs uncontrollably, unknowingly your heart stops. I expected to hear jeers, and boos from  the active audience we had. Not a murmur. You should have been there. Not one single murmur. It was as if we were collectively reliving that moment with the character. How many films make us do that?

Farhan Akhtar, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, Prasoon Joshi, take a bow. Along with each person who was involved in this film.

Would I recommend this movie? Duh!

Or as Milkha would say, in the film (and probably in real life too) – Haau

Milkha Singh. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Sir!

16, 17th July, 2013

Link recommened for reading: Milkha’s biography on wiki
Pictures, courtesy, Google Images.

P.S. I’m not really satisfied with this non review. Sigh. There is so much more I could have said differently. But, at one thousand three hundred fifty plus words, I must stop. 😀