Brave till the end...

Saturday – 27 year old young caption S K Choudhary was awarded with Sena Medal for his fierce battle with ULFA, on Republic Day. What a proud moment for his family and friends, as he is the son of an Army officer — his father is a Lt Colonel posted at the Army Air Defense records office in Nashik. His Family is more rejoiced since he is about to get married next month and the news of this award added up the ecstasy.

Sunday – SK Choudhary, had to battle out with ULFA militants near Assam on Sunday, possibly his last assignment before marriage as he got his leaves approved. A day after he was decorated with prestigious award, he fought bravely on the battle field killing atleast two main militants. However call it a destiny or external force, he being the prime target for ULFA militants managed to shot dead this brave lad on his chest.

His family was celebrating the announcement of the gallantry medal when news came in that Choudhary had been killed. Moments of joy had to die soon to give birth to moments of distress for his family. What would be running through the minds of his fiancée when she heard about the announcement of his award / death?

Sometimes life is too harsh…

NDTV Indian of the Year

I really can’t express my emotions that were running through when the nominations of NDTV year of the award for entertainment were announced. Not because Rajni was one of the main nominations, but because he had a tough competition with other nominees namely Mr.kkkkiiii… sorry Sharukh.

While I was sure somewhere, if rajni was been invited, he would definitely receive this prestigious award (can I say like that?), but I had little doubts about the voting system. It is nothing to do anything with NDTV integrity, but with the amount of interest our people have in voting for this one.

I wondered how many people down south would be aware of such nominations on NDTV. Whether people have cared to watch NDTV at times, moving away from Kana Kanum Kalangal or Jodi No.1 (since I myself is a vivid watcher of these engaging episodes). If at all someone or more than that watched them, whether they cared to vote for their favourite stars / leaders?

This also brought another question to my mind, why in the world am I posing these questions to others, while I didn’t care to vote for any? Since I generally till date never voted for any candidate on any episodes, though I might vote in future, if at all one of my relatives or loved ones ;) participate.

So all these valid and important (!!) points ensured me that it would be all more difficult for Rajni to win this nomination? I was pretty sure that the public who vote for their favourite stars are more dominant in northern regions. (sorry if I’m biased)

So will rajni take over Shahrukh. It was the million dollar question running through my mind, well here it is, the nominations were read, the speaker pauses for a second, before announces the winner of this award. There you go, it’s none other than our Super Star!!

What a pleasant surprise, I wondered myself why I was so excited? I wasn’t cared or excited when Rajni was selected as best actor for chandramukhi in recently announced Tamil Nadu state awards, but here it was different. The stage is different, the selection panel is different, the people who are attending the functions are all different, belonging to an elite group. So all I did was to call my brother immediately and shouted over the top asking to change the channel at once to NDTV. I didn’t care again to wait for an answer from him, as I quickly disconnected the call… because there is next bit of excitement coming up....

There he goes, to receive the award from Manmohan Singh. So what is that which is still bothering my mind now? Shouldn’t I suppose to be happy that Rajni is receiving this award? Not because I’m a true fan of Rajni but a true fan of those groups which long for recognition of talented south Indian people in bigger stages.

Well the real concern bothering my mind now is the questions that are going to be fired at Rajni by clever NDTV spokespersons and the dignified audience (which includes major union ministers, businessmen’s and other big stars). For all obvious, the questions are going to be asked in English language. Will rajni be able to tackles all these questions? I don’t have any doubt on rajni’s ability to handle questions fired at him. But I wasn’t sure enough about his English speaking capabilities. I didn’t have enough chance to see him speak in English and that’s the reason for my concern. I was more afraid to see a scene where Rajni is left bit embarrassed in answering the questions asked to him or people trying to show their proficiency in English posing a more Americanized style of talk.

But I admit, how naive was my thinking, Rajni must probably been used to many such stages / scenes before. Probably I wasn’t aware enough about this supremacy in handling bigger influenced people in the market. Thanks to Rajni’s calmness and dignified simplicity, he was able to answer all the questions posed at him with virtuousness smile and supreme authority. He quickly wiped out all my fears & concerns that I had on him. He was kind enough to save all the panic that I had fearing for a scene of commotion or embarrassment to happen in not able to handle the pressure or the medium of communication.

Rajni’s answers might not be all the more adept nevertheless they were to the point and at ease. Interesting part of the transcript took place when Shah Rukh was asked to question Rajni. Here it is, the transcripts of the show, while he received the Award. (Thanks to Rediff)

NDTV: Many congratulations. It's fantastic to have you here in our midst. It is so difficult to make you leave Chennai and Tamil Nadu.

Rajni: Indeed, it is a very different occasion for me. I am honoured to receive the award from the golden hands of our Prime Minister and political saint Manmohan Singhji. I am thankful to NDTV and all the people who voted for me and the people who loved me.

NDTV: One of the reasons why it is difficult for you to leave Chennai is because you bring the whole city to a standstill. Is that true that once you had to go to the airport and when you got out of the car, the whole city came to a halt?

Rajni: It is just a rumour.

NDTV: Or only half a city?

Rajni: No, it is the whole media thing. It is not a fact.

NDTV: Let me ask you that when it comes to recognising Indian cinema, it becomes very Bollywood centric. Not many people outside of South India know that you are one of the highest paid actors in India.

Rajni: Who said I am the highest paid actor?

NDTV: You are saying that because the finance minister is here. But we know that you are a superstar not only in South India but all over the world. You have a following as far as Japan.Do you feel that the South does not get enough of recognition when it comes to recognising Indian cinema?

Rajni: No, it's distorted actually. People have started recognising South Indian films and South Indian technicians and artists, thanks to the media.

NDTV: Now the question that many journalists have been trying to ask is: when are you formally going to take the plunge into politics? I know you have made many endorsements in the past to different parties, so just when are you going to dive in?

Rajni: I believe in destiny. Day before yesterday, I did not know that I will be here. I don't know what will happen tomorrow. But I believe in God and whatever God orders me to do, I will do.

NDTV: That's a very politically correct answer. But what does it actually mean? Does it mean DMK, AIADMK, or the Congress?

Rajni: Actually, God has given me a role to play, an actor's role. If he gives me a politician's role, definitely I will do it.

NDTV: Okay, so you are not ruling that out?

Rajni: I told you: destiny.

NDTV: Someone from the Hindi film fraternity will ask questions: Karan Johar?
Karan Johar: Who do you regard as actor par excellence in the Bombay film fraternity?

Rajni: Amitabh Bachchan

NDTV: You have said earlier that you are the Badshah but he is the Shahenshah. There is another Badshah in the audience. Shah Rukh wants to ask Rajni a question.

Shah Rukh: What does one do to become Shahenshah, sir?

Rajni: I am telling you, Shah Rukh, you will one day become Shahenshah.

NDTV: Do you want to ask Shah Rukh a question, or say something to him?

Rajni: He is an excellent actor. One thing I like about him is his integrity. He is very serious to promote our Indian sports, like hockey. Hats off to you. I saw that picture, Chak De. I will try to do that kind of a role, Shah Rukh.

Shah Rukh: Thank you sir. But I notice that you are just talking about my sports and not my acting. Anyway, God bless you and it is an honour and a wonderful thing to have you here in our midst.

Watch NDTV Indian on January 26, at 8pm, with a repeat telecast on January 27, at 11am and 10pm on NDTV 24x7 .
And yes, Rajni is also in the nominations for CNN IBN Indian of the year award to be announced this month... Who knows he might swipe it too...

Black or White?

This poem was nominated by UN as the best poem of 2006, Written by an African Kid.

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray
And you calling me colored??

My Stupid Suicide Plan

Last week, an IITian committed suicide. People who commit suicide do it when they feel there's no future. But wait, isn't IIT the one place where a bright and shining future is a foregone conclusion? It just doesn't add up, does it? Why would a young, hardworking, bright student who has the world ahead of him do something like this? But the answer is this-in our constant reverence for the great institution (and I do believe IITs are great), we forget the dark side. And the dark side is that the IITs are afflicted by the quintessential Indian phenomenon of academic pressure, probably the highest in the world.
I can rant about the educational system and how it requires serious fixing, or I can address the immediate-try my best to prevent such suicides. For this column I have chosen the latter, and I do so with a personal story.
News of a suicide always brings back one particular childhood memory. I was 14 years old when I first seriously contemplated suicide. I had done badly in chemistry in the Class X half yearly exam. I was an IIT aspirant, and 68% was nowhere near what an IIT candidate should be getting. I don't know what had made me screw up the exam, but I did know this, I was going to kill myself. The only debate was about method. Ironically, chemistry offered a way. I had read about copper sulphate, and that it was both cheap and poisonous. Copper sulphate was available at the kirana store. I had it all worked out.
My rationale for killing myself was simple-nobody loved me, my chemistry score was awful, I had no future and what difference would it make to the world if I was not there. I bought the copper sulphate for two rupees-probably the cheapest exit strategy in the world.
I didn't do it for two reasons. One, I had a casual chat with the aunty next door about copper sulphate, and my knowledgeable aunty knew about a woman who had died that way. She said it was the most painful death possible, all your veins burst and you suffer for hours. This tale made my insides shudder. Second, on the day I was to do it, I noticed a street dog outside my house being teased by the neighborhood kids as he hunted for scraps of food. Nobody loved him. It would make no difference to the world if the dog wasn't there. And I was pretty sure that its chemistry score would be awful. Yet, the dog wasn't trotting off to the kirana store. He was only interested in figuring out a strategy for his next meal. And when he was full, he merely curled up in a corner with one eye open, clearly content and not giving a damn about the world. If he wasn't planning to die anytime soon what the hell was I ranting about? I threw the copper sulphate in the bin. It was the best two bucks I ever wasted.
So why did I tell you this story? Because sometimes the pressure gets too much; like it did for the IITian who couldn't take it no more. On the day he took that dreadful decision, his family and friends were shattered, and India lost a wonderful, bright child. And as the silly but true copper sulphate story tells you-it could happen to any of us or those around us.
So please be on the lookout, if you see a distressed young soul, lend a supportive, non-judgmental ear. When I look back, I thank that aunt and that dog for unwittingly saving my life. If God wanted us to take our own life, he would have provided a power off button. He didn't, so have faith and let his plan for you unfold. Because no matter how tough life gets and how much it hurts, if street dogs don't give up, there is no reason why we, the smart species, should. Makes sense right? – By Chetan Bhagat