What I've Liked
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching stories of progenies fulfilling dreams. Take the latest television commercial, 'A Day in the Life of India' for The Times of India. Warm and radiant with down-to-earth emotions, the TVC instantly struck a chord with me and, I'm sure, with millions all over the country.
There's something about dashed dreams -- however old you get, you still hope they will magically come true. And when they are fulfilled by your son or grandson, the joy you feel is definitely more than what you would have felt had you accomplished them yourself! The TVC captures this feeling beautifully.
Truthfully, most of us in our 60s and 70s have always had that one niggling "dashed dream" hidden away in an old tin trunk waiting to see the light of day.
Also, as a result of being relentlessly bombarded with philosophical chastisements to accept and be grateful for gifts that we have received in life, most 60- or 70-year-olds are reconciled with whatever they have achieved.
But to get a true sense of the longing that one still nurtures in the twilight years, watch the last frame when the frail, old man breaks into a dance! It might be slightly out of focus and in the background, but it is so evocative, so genuine in its childlike glee that it perfectly summarises the emotions of the entire film. It is inspiring enough to recharge the fading hopes of its audience.
An extremely well told film, the TVC is also nicely shot and perfectly cast. With bits and pieces skillfully honed and brought together by the hands of a master craftsman, the end product is flawless.
What I've Learned
"I know so and so," and other such threats.
The phenomenon has been around for a while and I have emerged from being a victim to an amused observer and, of late, become an extremely annoyed recipient of this verbal arm-twisting ploy.
A favourite tactic of the wannabe thug, name-dropping is the first resort of some law-breakers. The surprising truth is that statements like "I know so and so" makes the road to offensive social behaviour quite navigable.
Those who indulge merely try their luck -- preying on the insecurity of their victims. A recent episode churned up my old distaste for such low life. One of our neighbours unloaded a mountain of construction gravel onto the road leading into the neighbourhood and blocked it.
Typically, in such a situation one hopes that any one of the following would eventually surface: Common sense, good neighbourliness, compassion for the distress of others, or just plain good sight. Since none of this happened, I rounded up a group of neighbours who felt equally distressed by his uncaring behaviour.
When we shared our sentiments with him, his first reaction was to throw the name of a high-ranking bureaucrat at us, thinking he could cow us into submission. Little did he realise that the police would appear at his front door the next morning at my behest, and get him to clear the roadblock.
So what did that name-dropping stunt get him other than the scorn of his entire neighbourhood? But I'm sure, given another chance he would do it again! Who knows, the traffic cop might be impressed and waive off a red light offence?
Such people never change because there are many who do get easily intimidated. If bullies get away by dropping powerful names our "Courage Quotient" as a nation must be abysmally low.
One of the most effective ways to combat arm-twisting like this is to rustle up groups of similarly distressed people. Groups emanate an aura of strength and purposefulness. A group always gets heard in public service centres much more than a lone voice. It's amazing how things can change with the strength of a group behind you.