Hello, extra 10 KGs

I rant about why and how I put up weight everytime I am in Delhi.

The thing that I hate the most about traveling to Delhi is all the food that I eat when I am here. I stay at home, with my parents. And since we are a typical middle-class Haryanvi family, all the affection comes out in form of food. And since my parents love me more than they love anything else (am hoping), they present me with so much food that I go back to Mumbai 10 KGs heavier! I often lament that amount of food I eat in a day when I am in Delhi is easily more than what I eat in a week when I am in Mumbai.

More than just the love and affection bit, there are quite a few reasons for this. Lemme list.

1. #ForeverAlone vs Family

In Mumbai, I live by myself. Been living like that since 2013 or 14. And that means that all the taste buds I had, I have sort of brought them under control. I can now go without eating tasty food for days. Food has become this functional thing that I need to consume to stay alive. I know there are foodies and food photographers and whatnot.

Plus I have focussed way too much on work and that means I have had limited time to indulge in finer things in life (food, friends, recreation, etc). And thus I’d eat whatever is presented to me.

Finally, I hate all the mess that cooking makes and I am a freak when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. And I decided a long time ago that I don’t want a kitchen in my house till I am rich enough to have a full-time staff to manage it.

On the other hand, in Delhi, life revolves around food. And the times when people eat. Not just my family but all others that I know of. Meeting a friend? Let’s do lunch. Visiting relatives? Dinner! When you ask for ideas around what you could do, they’d say, go grab something to eat.

2. Access. Availability. Ease.

Thing is, in Mumbai, I don’t have a kitchen. And thus I don’t have anything stocked. Unless I am on a subscription, each meal is ordered. And that means I don’t have anything that I could munch on, in between the meals.

Plus since the pandemic, I have been working from home. So no kachra.

More recently, I’ve been working from a Starbucks. And the snacks there are expensive af and tasteless like a wet piece of cardboard. So, even though, I’d love to keep chewing on things, I can’t. And that means I am eating less.

At home in Delhi, it’s a home. And there are magical things that only a mother knows how to pull off. At strategic locations in the house, “healthy” food is strewn all over. Like this small bowl near my father’s desktop. It’s always filled with soaked almonds! There is this drawer in our kitchen that has roasted almond stocked in. Then there is this barfi kinda thing that my mom makes – again of almonds and again placed on top of the ref, easily accessible. The point is, at each part of the house, there are convenient eating options.

3. Distractions galore!

At Mumbai, I am so distracted all the time by so much action all around me that I forget to eat. Really. Some people may call it flow. Some may call it being in the zone. Some may not have a name for it. But when I am in Mumbai, I am really really busy on I don’t know what! There’s always work to do, dreams to conjure, projects to kick off. There’s always one or two fires that I am fighting out all the time. So, no time to eat.

In Delhi, I am mostly free. And even when I do have work (like this trip, I am loaded with work) and I am scrambling hard to meet people, get things done, for some reason, I am still eating like a whacko! May be its availability. Or may be it’s planning around food. Whatever it is. I can’t seem to keep my hands away from my mouth.

4. Stress?

This is unique to this trip and I did not really want to include it here. But I think I must. So, I think I have managed the pandemic well, in terms of my mental balance and stress levels. But the last two months have been terrible. For a variety of reasons that we shall not get into. A large part of coming to Delhi (see footnote) was also to take a pause, take a break, get away from humdrum, and the muck in the head. And may be, just may be, I am eating all this food this time around cos am stressed?

Footnote 1: If not for this random stress, I would have still come to Delhi. Just that I used stress as yet another rationalising input to justify the travel during the pandemic.


So yeah, that’s my story on how I always go back to Mumbai 10KGs heavier. What’s your story? Of food? Of when you are at home?

This is part of 30 minutes of writing everyday challenge. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611, 0911, 1011, 1211, 1311.

The Coffee Consumption Confession

I talk about what exactly I love about a Starbucks Coffee store near me. And why I had coffee today after almost a month.

For someone who’s a big Starbucks fan and spends almost 5 hours every day and 4000 bucks a week there, I have a confession to make.

I don’t really love coffee as much. To me, any roast, any bean, any method of making coffee is the same, as long as there’s no milk in it. I HATE milk!

I think marketing team at Starbucks understands people like me. At Starbucks, they keep tinkering with the fabled Starbucks menu, they can’t seem to get my attention. I always want that regular Earl Gray Tea (at least for the last few weeks). They even tried the gimmick of reducing the price of Starbucks Coffee, I remain non-committal. I simply can’t love what they brew!

What I rather love is their ambiance, the comfortable seating, the jazz (that people world over love to hate), and the general sense of ease and familiarity and niceness all around. I know a large part of it is faux but at least for the time you are there, the duration you are hanging out, it’s cool. You feel you belong to that place.

Plus, most times, the patrons hanging out at an outlet tend to be the same. You start knowing them by their faces, even if you don’t know their names. They tend to sit at the same spots. You start knowing those spots and the paraphernalia that they would use to claim the spot. Like at this Starbucks near me, this girl comes in at around 11 and she likes to first take out some 10 books, place them all over the table and then, start her work. This another girl, all she cares for is a charging point and whatever she’s lost into, in her phone. This young couple always takes that corner seat and are oblivious to the world outside. To a people-watcher like me, a Starbucks is a gold mine. At some point, I need to also get comfortable being a Sherlock and start making deductions 😀

Anyhow. The point of this post?

Well, two points.

a, I had to write for 30 minutes.

b, Today, I had coffee.

Yes I did!

After may be a month or so. And no it was not from Starbucks. But from some random place. And no, I did not have a reason per se. Just that I was meeting a friend after really long and I have this really strong association of coffee and her. And breaking the coffee consumption chain while I was with her felt like a great way to reinforce the association.

No?

Part of 30 days, 30 minutes, 30 posts project. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211031104110511061109111011, 1211.

The Delhi Discipline Discussion

Why do people from Delhi act in a certain manner? I put on an amateur anthropologist’s hat and investigate.

I am in Delhi as we speak. I am here for Diwali. I know COVID is wreaking havoc on how life is, especially in the two places that I call home – Mumbai and Delhi. And I know this too shall pass. And I know words are of no use per se in such situations. But I do know that us humans are more resilient than even cockroaches and we will prevail. And with that self-assuring message, lemme get to the rant post of the day.

The Delhi Discipline Discussion.

Delhi has always been subjected to those loud opinions about the lack of discipline (when compared to residents of other large cities) and I think these accusations are very true. We are loud. We are vociferous. We like to assert our opinions, even when we aren’t really asked for those. I mean, look at this essay. Who asked me to write this? No one. Who cares for what I write? No one. Who’s flip their opinion about Delhi after they read this one? No one. And yet, I am writing this.

Of course, this is an attempt in writing for 30 minutes. And thus I am happy to post anything that comes to my head (which, today is Delhi). But I do have an important point to make.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

While people from Delhi are known to lack discipline and thus are hated for this, I am proposing that rather than chastising them (and me – I call Delhi home), we need to look at what drives this behaviour. I am no anthropologist but I am an amateur people watcher and that means I have a perspective on why we are, how we are.

Let’s investigate…

The roots of Delhi

Delhi, like any other old city, is like a melting pot of cultures and people and tribes and opinions and ideas. One of the lores I read once, it says, Delhi will go through seven cycles of prosperity and doom. Each time it dooms, it would rise from the ashes and create an even more fabulous, grander city on top. Of course, the fables are more romantic than factual but it says something about people here. That they are survivors. And they know how to build things from scratch. And that means there is something in their DNA that makes them take initiative. Not in the starting-up sense but in taking-a-stand sense.

The ones that go thru the cycle of doom and bloom are known to have no patience. They say Mumbai is the city that does not sleep. I’d say Mumbai does not sleep because if they do, they’d perish. It’s more like they are on their toes all the time. Delhi, in comparison, is made up of go-getters. They know that life’s short and they need to do things now. And this manifests into aggression on the roads, disdain for rules, love for shortcuts, and all that.

So, next time you see a Delhi guy trying to break queues at a cinema hall (now that they are open), don’t hate him. Hate the genes that have been passed to him over the years. You know, don’t hate the player? But the game?

The upbringing in Delhi

Now that we have established that Delhites are gifted with genes that are little, well, fast. Now, let’s look at how they grow up. Unlike Mumbai (the only other place where I have lived for long) where kids are privileged (even in the poorest of the poor locale, kids have this sense of belonging and identity), Delhi kids don’t have it. And intuitively, a child wants to assert it. You know, genes at play. And there is so much competition that the kids in Delhi are forced to ace the Darwinian struggle. And thus, the already raging genes are nurtured to become even angrier assertive.

Plus the super swings in Delhi weather and the Delhi temperature that varies from -5 to +50 cooks the grey matter in your head in this curry that is more potent than that open bottle of aam ka achaar in a tightly packed bag of clothes in a third-tier AC compartment.

The grown-up man-child of Delhi

This applies to men more than it does to women (for some reason, almost all Delhi women I know have been at par with women from other places). I’ve been called a man-child since I become a man. And I am proud of it. And even though people in Mumbai hate this about me, I think it adds to the character. Lemme elaborate.

They say that progress in the world is made by the unreasonable man. The troublemakers, the misfits, and the round pegs in square holes. If left to the regular ones, we would probably be still in the caves with leaves as clothes and a chisel as our communication tool. If not for these, we would still not have discovered all the countries that are the epicenter of consumerism and progress and growth. If not for these, we would not have that mad dash at asserting and discovering the new that has pushed us forward. If not for these, we would be a timid bunch of species that would cower everytime we hear a distant rumble!

I can give numerous examples. But I hope you get time drift. At least the ones from Delhi would. In fact, the ones from Delhi, ladies, and gents, are as round as they come. And thus, I postulate that these grown-up man-childs from Delhi are all responsible for all the progress that we’ve made!

Think about it.

And with that, over and out. See you guys tomorrow (hopefully – I have a long day and I may not be able to take out time).

Part of 30 days, 30 minutes, 30 posts project. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 021103110411051106110911, 1011.

The Missing Magic of Metal Tubes

A satarical piece about the missing magic of flying. From the lens of a former event manager.

Its no secret that I love to travel. And the two modes that I love, apart from walking, are cars and planes. Both are essentially metal tubes that take you from one place to another.

When you are in the car, you are, sort of, in control. You are navigating, you are changing gears (automatic cars – go eat shit!), you are seeing the rear-view mirror and the road up ahead and you are zooming around.

In a plane, however, you are merely tied to a seat and are hurled thru the thinnest air we can imagine, to your destination. Even though a large part of flying is getting tossed around in a pressure-controlled metal tube, there is some charm, some magic to the entire experience of air travel. You know, fussing over the airline, the seat, the plush interiors of an airport, the comfort of a lounge, the pseudo sophistication of people that are regulars and the inside tricks of people that are more regular than regulars?

I’d say I am more regular than most regulars. Even though I may not have the suaveness of thick sunglasses or the Tumi bags with my initials monogrammed but I have been in my share of planes. Of course, since the COVID crisis hit us, I haven’t really been near a rick, let alone a plane. Ok, that was an exaggeration. I’ve been working out of a Starbucks as I type this, I am in a lounge at the Mumbai airport, waiting to catch a flight to Delhi, Y class. The lounge was made accessible by a credit card that I paid a fortune to acquire.

While the entire ordeal of check-in, seat selection, security et al was better than the regular days, I miss the fun of traveling by air. I miss the fuss that I would create over people not behaving when in queues. I can no longer spot kids running amok while their parents take selfies. I am no longer inconvenienced by pushy salesmen trying to sell their overpriced wares (including the ones at Tumi), while secretly hoping I had the money to buy all the crap they were selling. There is no stores selling raste ka maal un-saste me. Btw, these sasta maals have actually saved quite a few days for me when I would take em as gifts for people I was gonna meet.

Like I said, there’s no magic left in travelling by air.

It’s now akin to traveling in a local train where you are merely using the tube as a mode of transport and you can no longer be a humblebrag about the flight you just took and the extra things (baggage, upgrades, etc) you got the airline guys to dole out to you.

It’s now akin to flagging a rick and posting about it on insta cos the cars get stuck in traffic and ricks are “oh so convenient”. It’s like still going to a CCD when you have a Soho House membership, cos, “why would I go to Juhu for a coffee?” It’s like buying a Samsung or a One Plus, cos, “what new feature does an Apple have?”

Get the drift?

I hope so. It’s time to board the flight. While boarding may or may not happen, the seat next to mine may or may not be empty, the flight may or may not be bumpy but I have to mock people on how they want to jump over each other to open the overhead bins before the plane has even landed! Assuming that’s still happening. You never know. Like I said, there’s no magic left!

Part of 30 days, 30 minutes, 30 posts project. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311041105110611, 0911.

The Confined Spaces Complexity

A rant on the new house that I have just moved to.

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of confined spaces. And yet, I know that I need to embrace those. In fact, here are three situations I can think of where I actually look forward to trapping myself in these confined places!

  • I love airports and travel. And I thus need to be ok with confining myself in those metal tubes for hours as they hurl me through the skies. And if I am on the road, I need to of course get in them cars and navigate.
  • I love highrises and rooftops and the birds-eye view that these heights give you. And I thus need to use those lifts to reach the top and enjoy the view.
  • I love Mumbai more than I love Delhi. Actually, I am not sure of this one. But I do like to be in large port cities (at least the ones I have been to – Mumbai, Calcutta, HK, NY etc). And these cities are typically cramped. I have no clue why.

Staying with the bit about staying in Mumbai, lemme talk about this house that I just moved into.

Even though this is fairly decent for a house in Mumbai, this one is probably the smallest I have lived in (except the 1 tiny room where I was a paying guest for the first two years of my life in Mumbai between 2007 and 2009 — it had just half a bed, a tiny cupboard sized “thing” to be used as a washroom, one-half cupboard, and just enough space to stretch my arms).

Funnily, the day before yesterday (my second night at the new place), I realized that the new house gives me the same vibes as an airplane! The same that I get when I am in a lift. Or a car for that matter.

What vibes? Stay with me. Lemme talk about the house for a bit.

To be honest, it’s not bad. Just that it’s in an old building and it’s small and has all the paraphernalia that comes with a house that’s, well, well-lived in. You know, a bed that’s too high and big for the room that it’s been plonked in, those wall-to-wall wardrobes that are deeper than what they needed to be, fake ceilings that bring the roof lower, the weird color of paint that makes space feel even smaller. You get the drift?

Coming to vibes, so, when I was drifting to sleep, even though I was on a bed, it felt as if I was sleeping on a flight. And when I woke up, I realized I had curled into a foetal ball – I can’t recall when was the last time this happened to me (I typically sleep on my back). I felt as if those walls are closing in on me. Reminded me of that scene from some horror movie where the protagonist is trapped in a room, and the walls and roofs of the room are closing in on the protagonist, purportedly to crush him! That!

For some reason, I also was reminded of this quip by a friend about highrises in Mumbai. She says that these towers are merely urban chawls without any respect for humanity. These are made to stuff as many people in as less an area possible as if we were mere cargo and they had to optimize the storage. All this while, I did not agree – I’ve always had some space to move around in the places I lived at. Not in this one.

I was also reminded of my abhorrence for things like aquariums, birdcages, muzzles, leashes et al. And the hatred for clothes in general (and the ones that fit way too well). I’ve always wondered how do people operate in such cramped quarters. The experience at this house will probably teach me that.

As someone who’s been a sponge when it comes to learning, I think this house will teach me a lot over the next few months that I will live here. Like I said a few days ago, these are interesting times, indeed!

With this, it’s over and out. See you guys tomorrow.

This is part of 30 minutes of writing every day for 30 minutes challenge. I missed the post on the 7th. Yesterday, I wrote on the Hero’s Journey for Deewaar. Today’s is this. Others in the series are at 3010, 3110, 0111, 0211, 0311, 0411, 0511, 0611.

PS: Though I have not been able to cover this per se in the post, I will miss inviting friends and family over. To be honest, I don’t really extend the invitation to a lot of people over but the ones that I do invite, they OWN my house (and my life) as much as I do. And the one that I have moved into, I am not sure I can invite any 🙁

Hero’s Journey for Deewaar (1975)

Prof. Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth model (The Hero’s Journey), as seen from the lens of Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the Salim-Javed film, Deewaar.

Source: SpotBoye.com

Show me a person that does not know this dialogue. And I will show you someone who has NOT lived! Not at least in India.

This is among the scores of iconic dialogue from the film, Deewaar. Released in 1975, directed by Yash Chopra and written by the legendary Salim – Javed, Deewaar is what you expect a film to be – a roller-coaster journey through the lives of characters next door. From the degradation of a righteous man who chose to take a stand for the poor (and failed at it), to the ecstasy of the new-earned wealth of a young man (who has lived in abject poverty as a kid), the dismay of a mother who’ll be made to choose between her sons, the film not just entertains you, but also makes you question your own decisions, morality, and at least in my case, life!

So, as an aspiring filmmaker, I HAD to reverse engineer the brilliance of Deewaar, learn the tenets of what went in while they made the narrative, and then, hopefully, use those when I write my scripts.

One of the things that I realised, after I attended online sessions with Anjum Rajabali was that most great stories tend to follow a simple narrative structure of The Hero’s Journey. Discovered by Prof. Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey (also known as the Monomyth) postulates that in most myths and folklores and religious texts (and thus popular culture and books and films), the protagonist typically faces a challenge. To sort it, he has to leave his current world (and often, the ordinary and comfortable one), spend time in the other (and often the challenging world) where he would fight a demon, and then come back to his ordinary world. In this journey, there are 17 distinct stages, and at each stage, he grows as an individual. A pictorial representation looks like…

Prof. Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

I first wrote about The Hero’s Journey. Then, along with Shreya (of Green Grandma fame), I did a deep dive and wrote the Hero’s Journey for Munna Bhai MBBS. And I decided that I would read and publish as many as I could to learn as much as I could.

So, The Hero’s journey for Deewaar is the second in the series of explorations that I am doing, this time, with Hemant Joshi (who I met at one of the SWA sessions).

Here we go!

The Plot of Deewaar

Deewaar starts as the story of one Anand Verma and his family (wife Sumitra Devi and two young sons, Vijay and Ravi). Anand works at a local factory and is an honest, hardworking, and righteous worker. And naturally, the leader of the union of workers.

These workers are at loggerheads with the factory owner, who in turn is, well, like any other factory owner – a conniving, scheming bastard! The workers go on a strike and mandate Anand Verma to negotiate on their behalf.

The factory owner abducts Verma’s family and asks him to pick the family or the worker’s rights. Verma, like a typical Indian, chooses his family. The workers are disappointed and thrash him, leaving him in a hospital. Verma is unable to handle the emotional turmoil and runs away, leaving behind the mess that he’s created. While Verma is drifting, his family continues to be ridiculed whenever they step out. One of these days, the elder son, Vijay is manhandled by goons in the market and they tattoo “Mera Baap Chor Hai” on his forearm.

Sumitra Devi moves herself and the sons to Mumbai where they are forced to live on the footpath and sleep under a bridge. Sumitra picks up odd jobs and is unable to meet the expenses. This is when Vijay steps up (not even a teenager at this point) and decides to support his mother with Ravi’s education and upbringing. He starts as a boot-polisher.

On one of his regular days, after he’s cleaned the shoes, one of his customers flings a coin at him. Vijay is angered and says since he’s worked hard on shining the shoes and he deserves respect. Dawar, a local goon, is accompanying the customer spots the talent in Vijay.

We take a leap in time and Vijay is now working as a coolie at the docks. Vijay strikes against the local goons (controlled by Samant) collecting hafta from all the laborers. Furthermore, he goes into their den and thrashes them.

This is noticed by Dawar (who’s another adversary of Samant) and he invites Vijay to join him in his business. His first job is to ensure that Dawar’s smuggled gold is safely brought into Mumbai. Vijay hatches a smart plan that involves duping Samant and is able to execute flawlessly. Samant pledges revenge!

Vijay’s life starts turning around – he buys his mother a better house, gets himself a better car, his clothes get better. Everything in life starts seeming better.

On the other side, the younger brother, Ravi completes his education and goes away to train for being a police officer. When he returns, his first case is to rein in Dawar’s businesses. Ravi realizes that he would have to catch his brother to solve the case. He refuses initially. In fact, he goes and asks his brother to surrender. Vijay refuses. The brothers have a dispute over this. Their mother takes the side of the righteous one, Ravi, leaving Vijay all alone in his giant mansion.

A few days later, Ravi decides to take the case again and starts catching Dawar’s men one after the other. Dawar realizes that Ravi must be stopped somehow. One of his gang’s members suggest that Ravi be killed, but Vijay stops them. Vijay tries to convince Ravi to back away from Dawar’s men, but Ravi holds his ground. 

Their mother falls sick but Vijay cannot visit her – the cops are staking around the hospital. Vijay is distressed. Around the same time, Samant, who had pledged revenge, kills Vijay’s girlfriend. Anguished, Vijay goes to the hotel where Samant is staying and kills him. In the process, he exposes himself to Ravi and the cops. Left with no choice, Ravi fires at Vijay. Vijay manages to drive away, only to hold long enough to come to his mother praying at the temple she frequents. He eventually dies in her lap.

And the story ends.

Phew!

The Hero’s Journey for Deewaar

In our opinion, the Hero of this film is Amitabh Bachchan’s character. And we would use this vantage point to explore the Hero’s Journey.

As always, before we get in, here are a few disclaimers.

  1. This is our interpretation of The Hero’s Journey for Vijay’s character. And like all interpretations and opinions, we may be wrong.
  2. If you disagree please do point out. We are always open for inputs 🙂

Here we go…

SNoBeatHero’s JourneyAdditional Notes
1Film starts with a bravery medal being given to Ravi Verma. He talks about Sumitra Devi (his mother) being the reason that he got the medal. Makes the mom accept the medal.This serves as a hook into the world of two brothers – Vijay and Ravi.
2Flashback

We see a bunch of laborers on a strike with Anand Verma leading it. He is demanding that the laborers get a better deal.

On the other side, his sons are all praises for the father. The wife mentions that kids look up to him. Anand mentions that he loves kids more than anything else.
The ordinary worldThis scene establishes the milieu. The ordinary world. And the fact that there is this huge divide between the rich and the poor.

Plus we get to know the family dynamics.
3The workers continue the protest at the factory owner’s bungalow. The owner calls Anand inside and offers a deal. Along with that he blackmails Anand and asks him to choose between his family and the workers.

Anand chooses his family and goes back to his workers and admits defeat. The workers thrash Anand and leave him bedridden.
The flaw in the character of Anand is showcased. We also establish a conflict in Anand’s life. This sets up for a larger conflict in the life of the hero – one that would eventually grow into the inciting incident for the Hero.
4The wife and two children discover that Anand has abandoned the family.

Some drunkards round-up Vijay, the elder son, and tattoo “mera baap chor hai” on his forearm.

The mother decides to move to Mumbai. She has no money and is forced to take up odd jobs and sleep under a bridge.
Challenge from the outer worldThe hero’s life, as we know it, is about to change.
5The younger brother, Ravi, wants to study.

Vijay, not even a teenager, decides to man-up and tells his mother that he would work as well so that Ravi could get a good education.

Vijay becomes a boot polisher.
Call to adventureThe hero accepts the challenge and decides to do whatever he could do to get his younger brother education.
6Dawar buys a racebook and gets his shoes to polish. Jaichand (Dawar’s associate) throws money at Vijay, who refuses, saying he is not a beggar.

Dawar asks Jaichand to pick the money and hand it to Vijay. Also, he predicts that Vijay will go on to be a winner in his life!

We see a juxtaposition to Ravi who’s topping the school.
The seed of separation between the two brothers is sowed.

This also shows us the character of Vijay where he has taken a stand without worrying about consequences; unlike his father!
7The mother is now working at a construction site. She has to face an abusive manager. Vijay sees it and hits the manager and runs away.

The mother compares the two brothers. She tells Vijay that Ravi is kind and sorted.

Vijay is angered and flashes his tattoo, demanding an answer.
We realize that the hero will stand up against anyone that does not respect him or his family. He seeks respect.

The suffering of the hero is also showcased. The wound becomes visible.
8The mother takes two kids to a temple. Vijay takes a stand for himself yet again, stating he will not enter the temple.

Time moves on and sons grow up.

Ravi asks what does mom seek from God. She says “tere liye sukh and Vijay ke liye Shaanti“.

The two brothers go their separate ways
Crossing the first thresholdThis parting of ways is both symbolic and thematic.

Plus, by refusing to go into the temple, Vijay is protesting against the injustice in his life.
9Vijay now works at the docks as a coolie. He gets a badge with the number 786 engraved. Rahim Chacha tells Vijay that 786 is a lucky number to have and asks him to keep the badge on him all the time. They also talk about the hafta the coolies have to pay to the local goons, controlled by Samant.

A coolie, Gangu gets killed when he refuses to pay the goons. Something stirs in Vijay. He says, “agle hafte ek aur coolie paisa dene se inkaar karne wala hai
The road of trialsVijay is challenged again.

Gareebi ka jurmana” is a trigger for him to fight the norm. He wants to change things.

The badge with the number 786 could be the Supernatural Aid.
10Ravi on the other hand is struggling to find work despite his numerous attempts.
11At the docks, Vijay refuses to pay the goons. Fights and comes out on top.The road of trialsAgain the same characteristic is showcased – when someone challenges his respect, he will revolt.

The path for Vijay is full of such “trials”.
12When he comes home, the mother scolds Vijay.

In response he says, “Tum chahti ho main bhi mu chupake bhaag jaata
Again, the pain is showcased.
13Ravi continues to struggle to get employment. We see that he gives up an opportunity for someone who’s struggling more than him. We see a comparison with the idealist father.

The father is spotted drifting in a train.
The two worlds of two brothers are now completely different.
14Dawar gets Vijay to work with him.

The iconic dialogue, “Main aaj bhi faike hue paise nahi uthata” is played out.
Meeting with the mentorDawar acts as the mentor who helps Vijay into this new world.
15Ravi meets his girlfriend’s father (who’s a cop) and he recommends that Ravi join the police forceAgain, the contrasting paths.

The elder brother is being mentored by a goon; the younger by a cop!
16Vijay gets his first assignment of getting a gold consignment to Mumbai. He schemes Samant in helping him do so.

We hear, “Suna hai lift ki deewar ke kaan nahi hote“.
Road of trialsEstablishes Vijay as a formidable personality. And in the process he makes allies and enemies.
17Vijay shows a giant house to his mother. She gets suspicious of Vijay’s work.

Ravi comes running and shares he got a job as a cop and goes away for his training.
Vijay starts to see success. He is getting deeper into this new world.
18At the poolside of a swanky hotel, Vijay suggests to Dawar that they plant someone in Samant’s gang. They plot a scheme to get Darpan recruited in Samant’s gang.

Darpan goes to Samant and gives out information that Vijay would be at Sona bar and they can kill him. Samant and gang plans for that.
He continues to make friends and enemies.

He is getting sucked even deeper into the new world.
19Vijay meets his future love interest, Anita at the bar. She and the lucky badge (786) save him from the Samant’s sharpshooter. This is a case of setup and payoff – the lucky badge does two things – makes him meet Anita, his love; and saves his life!
20Dawar says he wants to take a backseat and installs Vijay on the throne.

However, Jaichand had eyed this for a long time.
Belly of the whaleAt this point, Vijay is deep into the new world.

He has conquered the new world – or at least he thinks so.
21Ravi comes back home as a police officer. Vijay realizes that at some point the paths of the two brothers will cross.

He laments with Anita that Ravi and he are different.
This is the point of no return for the hero. The final battle for the hero has been seeded.
22Ravi finds out that as a cop, his top two targets are Dawar and his own brother, Vijay.

Ravi is shocked. He is initially in denial. However, an incident with a young boy inspires him to take up the case.
23Vijay buys the building where his mother worked when he was young.Classic case of “high” before the low! – Second false victory for Vijay
24Ravi and Vijay have a face-off in front of their mother. Ravi asks him to surrender by signing on the confession. He famously asks, “bhai tum sign karoge ya nahi

The word Deewaar is introduced for the first time.

Mother decides to leave Vijay alone and moves out.
25Vijay back to Anita. She mentions that she wants to settle down and get married.

The mother on the other hand tells Ravi that she loved Vijay more than she loved Ravi.
26Ravi continues his crusade against Dawar and Vijay. To a point that the gang starts thinking about eliminating Ravi.

Vijay opposes the ideas and admits that Ravi is his brother.
27The two brothers meet at the bridge where they grew up. Vijay asks Ravi to back out from the case – arguing that because of his dirty work, Ravi could get educated!

The iconic, “mere pass maa hai” is showcased.
Refusal to returnVijay has yet another chance to surrender, but he refuses to give away everything he’s earned in the new world.

He is refusing to go to his original world.
28Anand is found dead on a train. Ravi realizes it is their father when he is filing the report. He finds a picture of the family being held as hostages.

Ravi stops his mother from putting sindoor.
Such amazing symbolism!
29Ravi lights the fire to his father’s dead body, as Vijay watches from a distance – he is still wanted by the cops!
30On a call recording, Ravi finds about a meeting where Jaichand is present and leaves right away! Ravi arrests Jaichand and makes him confess about Dawar and Vijay.

Ravi arrests Dawar. However, Vijay manages to run away and goes into hiding.

On the other hand, Samant vows to avenge the loss in business by killing Vijay before the cops could arrest him.
31Vijay gets to know that his mother is unwell and wants to meet her. He however can not as the place is swarming with cops.

Vijay is lost and doesn’t know what to do.

He goes to the one place which he never would have – the temple his mother frequented. We hear “aaj khush toh bohot hoge tum…

Maa miraculously gets better. She visits the temple, where the priest tells a shocked mother that Vijay was there!
AtonementVijay realizes that he has dragged himself too deep into this new world and escaping is impossible now.

But he does want his mother to get better. This entering the temple is his atonement!

In Prof. Campbell’s journey, atonement happens before the refusal to return. We see the sequence slightly altered, but the concept holds.
32Vijay gets to know that his mother is now home.

Anita announces that she’s pregnant.

Vijay decides to get married to Anita and surrender. He also tells his mother to wait for him at the temple.
Crossing of the return thresholdBecause of Anita, he has a reason to give up everything and go back to the original world.

We find this a tad weak compared to all the imploration by his mother.
33Anita however is kidnapped by Samant.

Unknown to Vijay, who in a separate meeting is being told of a plan to escape. He tells his gang that he would not go along with them.

When Vijay comes back to Anita, he finds her dying. She in fact dies in his arms. He discovers that it was Samant that had hurt Anita.

Vijay storms into Samant’s hideout. He kills Samant’s flunkies but Samant is not there.
34Ravi gets to know that Vijay is on his way to Samant’s other hideout.

He and other cops surround the building. However, Vijay is still able to kill Samant by throwing him off the top of the building.
35Despite all the cops, Vijay manages to escape, with Ravi chasing him.

While running, his lucky badge falls off. As Vijay tries to retrieve it, Ravi comes in close and shoots at him, injuring him.

He however gets in a car and drives the car into the temple. He eventually dies in his mother’s arms!
Master of the two worldsAt this point, Vijay has conquered the two worlds – he has realized that his path of getting the respect that he craved, actually took away from his family.

Even though short-lived (since he died right after), he is briefly able to earn his mother’s respect too.

The symbolism of the lucky badge is reinforced for at least the third time!
36We go back to the opening scene where Ravi is getting an award. The film ends with a thundering applause.

So, there! 

Even though NOT all stages of the Hero’s Journey are evident in Deewaar (they weren’t evident in Munna Bhai MBBS either), the story clearly follows the structure. Enough to warrant an investigation and research!

That’s it from our side. Please do give us feedback on our interpretation. 

Also, should you want the open files and notes that we made that we have not published, please email us and we’d be touch. We have Deewaar’s script broken into a beat-sheet (our interpretation and may not be right), and various stages of the Hero’s Journey, as adapted for Deewaar. Happy to share those!

Oh, a disclaimer for the millionth time – these are our interpretations and could be incorrect. This is merely an academic exercise to learn more about Hero’s Journey! Do help us.

That’s all folks! 

So, that’s about it from us! Let us know what you think. 

Hemant + Saurabh 

Nov 2020

Oh, one more thing. Please do let us know what next film we do this deep dive on. 

The Money Plant Companionship

What if I told you that a money plant mimics the way my life moves? Would would believe it? Wait. Why should you even? Read on to find out.

Again, a day where I don’t have anything specific to write about. Well, except, this! And since there is nothing else to write about, I am going to talk about it. After all, I have committed to writing for 30 minutes every day for 30 days.

Like I said yesterday, I want to be attached to as few things as possible. And I want to own as limited things as possible. And as a result, over the next few days, I will throw / discard most of the things I own.

Of the things that I will retain is this money plant.

3

Why?

Lemme tell you the backstory.

To be honest, I don’t know when I got this plant. Or how I got this plant. Maybe someone gifted this to me? Or may be my sis left this behind when she moved back to Delhi 3 years ago. But I do know that I have retained this plant for at least 4 years now and I have moved this particular plant every time I have moved houses. And over these four years, I have seen the plant flourish and I have seen it withered down to just 2 leaves. And each time, the state of the plant has sort of mirrored the state of my life!

In fact, I think, like in the Last Leaf (a masterpiece by O Henry) the way protagonist attaches her life to the leaf on a tree, I believe my fortune is attached to the leaves on this money plant.

I am serious. I have data to prove it. Since I have started tracking, the plant has hardly had any leaves and my life has been topsy-turvy. In fact, I don’t recall when was the last when the plant really flourish. And honestly, I don’t remember when was the last time I flourished. I mean I have had a fairly decent life, but I haven’t really flourished per se.

For a large part of the past 2 months, the plant had just 2 leaves.

But as I was prepping to move on to a new one, I spotted another leaf. The third one. So, there is an improvement. And thus, I am hopeful that the new house will be luckier than the previous one. I hope the plant goes back to having many more leaves. May be this year on, it will flourish again? May be I will flourish again?

Or, may be I am merely being a fool and I am confusing causation to correlation What do you think?

This post is a part of 30 minutes every day for 30 days project. This was Day 8. Other posts are at 301031100111021103110411, 0511.

PS: Realised that the trouble with writing AND publishing every day is that I hardly get any time to edit. And thus a lot of bugs slip through. Need to find a way out. Any ideas anyone?

400102 to 400053

So, the annual ritual of changing homes just happened all over again.

This time, I moved from 400102 to 400053. The last time, I moved from there to here.

The drop happened not in just the Pincode but also in the lifestyle. From a 2 bedroom house to a 1 bedroom. From “lavish” (by Mumbai standards) to a cramped space that people in Mumbai are used to. From a newly constructed building to a tower that is probably older than me!

Like all moves in life, this one is also full of excitement, anxiousness, sadness, happiness, and most importantly, hope! And even though I have downgraded things, I remain hopeful that the tide shall turn and I will see that hockey-stick chart again. Let’s see when.

Meanwhile, since this is a post in the 30 minutes of writing every day for 30 days thing that I am doing, lemme try to write more. The announcement of the move took me less than three minutes! And lemme try to write more about the move.

So as I was getting my things moved, I realized, that each time I move, I am surprised by the number of things I own.

Why?

Well for starters, I have always believed in minimalism, and yet I have a billion things. I mean look at the pictures below! The house is anyway tiny with all these things, I hardly have any space to walk around. It’s like living in a walk-in closet! #note2self – throw things so that I can move in just a car. I dont know how I’d discard them books though 🙁

Plus, I anyway don’t buy too many things. I have one pair of denim pants. I have two pairs of shoes. No fancy accessories. And yet I have some million boxes of things.

The other thing that I am surprised at is that while I was packing, I was bereft of any emotion about the place where I lived for a year. I am, after all, quitting it for good. After things were moved out, it felt that the soul of the house was sort of stripped away. It looked like a naked body, sans any character. And yet, I felt no emotions at all. I should’ve ideally welled up. I even tried. I imagined all the good things and the bad that came along with the house. But I could not bring myself to tears.

Which is, good! The idea is to not get attached to things!

Ok, lemme pick the thread on the bit about quitting the house for good. And while I do that, how about I replace the house with a person and my occupation of the house as companionship with that person? Now, I would’ve ideally liked to stay in the house for longer (probably, till eternity) but because I could no longer afford the rent, I had to move out. Similarly, I could have people that I want to stay together with forever (say, a girlfriend) but due to some circumstances (say, differences), she and I have to move away. The million-dollar question is, when that happens, would I continue to be bereft of emotions?

Wait. Is this comparison even valid? Is this some coherence in my personality where I am afraid of attaching myself to people and things? What am I afraid of? What stops me from developing an attachment to people and / or things?

And, if not attached, am really detached? There are people I refuse to give up on, despite the unrequited connections I have with them. There are things that I refuse to throw away even though I have not touched them in ages. Is this how detachment supposed to work? Can I ever be that nomad that I have always craved to become? And if that’s what I crave for, where would I land up when I want to be home? What is that identity that I must attach myself to?

No, I don’t have answers.

And no, I don’t think of these things on a regular, typical day. And it’s funny that shifting houses is bringing these questions to the top of the head that’s got no hair and all meddled ideas!

Of course, the answers remain elusive. May be they’d come in one such shift? Till then, over and out.

This post is a part of 30 minutes everyday for 30 days project. This was Day 7. Other posts are at 30103110011102110311, 0411.

Day 6 – I don’t know what to write about…

A journal of sorts of how I spent my day on the 4th of Nov 2020.

But I will.

After all, I am on this trip where I am hoping to write every day for 30 days for 30 minutes. Today’s the 6th day. On the trot. Yay!

As the entire world awaits the outcome of the US elections with bated breath, here I am, in a corner of Mumbai, thinking about what to write about. While I do have a million things on my mind and I could write about those, there’s no one thing that’s popping in my head as a clear leader.

So, in absence of anything specific to write about, I will just do a recap of sorts for the day.

9 AM

I started my day with a meeting that got canceled. I was up all night, last night preparing for this meeting!

The spare time I had, I used that to speak to one of the people I talked about in yesterday’s post. I sort of “coached” him on productivity and gave him simple tips about how to do things better. The biggest tip I gave him was Paul Graham’s Maker Day and Manager Day. In case you don’t know about it, go read it. It’s worth its weight in gold!

10 AM

The other big thing that happened today is that a friend connected me with one of his friends and wants me to give gyaan on effective notes. Notes is another thing that happened to me just because I wrote a post about it. The post went to a lot of people and some of those implored me to “teach” them the methods. And when I did talk to them about the methods, they seemed to enjoy it!

So, a clear case of how the work you do in public has unintended consequences! The lesson for you? Do more public work!

1 PM

Next, I met a friend for a coffee (and I had green tea) and he gave me dope about, well, me!

He told me things about me that I could not see and yet everyone around me could! You know, things that you don’t know that you don’t know?

If I talk from the lens of Johari Window, he showed me my Blind Area.

It was quite a revelation. He actually pointed out things that I was clearly unaware of. And these things are deterrents, to say the least. And I need to clearly work on those. I also need to clearly work on not using the same word in three consecutive sentences.

10 PM

Lastly, I just finished a meeting with my writing group. We met via Twitter and we try to help each other with writing.

In fact, this series of posts is actually an outcome of an idea that someone threw at me in the group. No, my notes don’t have that person’s name. Good that I don’t. The kind of writing that am creating, I am so embarrassed!

1137 PM

So yeah, I think this is it for the day.

Again, this is not one of the best posts I’ve written. But I wanted to get the words out of my system. And I wanted to write for 30 minutes. I think with this summary, I’ve done both. And that means, its an over and out from me.

Take care!

This is part of the ’30 posts in 30 days’ project. This was Day 6. Other posts are at 3010311001110211, 0311

May you live in interesting times!

A rant on how “interesting” the 5th day of ’30 minutes of writing for 30 days’ project was. Read at peril.

This is the 5th day of this new project where I try and write every day for 30 minutes. As I start writing this, it is 11:17 PM (ended at 11:54 – well over 30) and I don’t have a lot of time (have some work) and thus I may not get 30 minutes under the belt. Plus, what I have to say is anyway not going to take much. So let’s see.

Today was an “interesting” day. For a lot of reasons. Lemme see if I can describe the reasons for interestingness in an interesting manner so as to do justice to the grandeur of this day.

A. The Helping Hand

For starters, three different people asked me to help them today.

One wanted help on writing, second on managing time, and third on reaching his life purpose. I know these three people from three different circles (one from MDI, second from Twitter, and third from work). Each lives in a different city.

And yet each of these people thought that I could help them with their respective predicaments.

While I am not sure I can help them, but I am glad to know that people have started to recognize me as someone they could reach out to when they need help. This is definitely a step in the direction of my #lifeGoal! So, yay!

B. The Good and The Bad and The Resolve

I have recently picked a few gigs where I am giving away fixed hours in exchange for money (counter-intuitive to every advice that I have ever held dear about how to get rich). And even though its not even been a month, I can clearly see why its a bad idea. And why its a good idea. Lemme elaborate.

Bad

I believe life is far larger and far meaningful than wasting time by doing things that don’t matter (to you!). Such as, wasting an entire day at an office, only to pick a laptop! And spending your night, working on a presentation that did not require any urgency per se.

Good

I had to pick these gigs cos the work that gave me the money to live a fairly good life? That has dried up (thank you, COVID. And thank you, SG for some really stupid decisions). And if I did not have these “stable” businesses wanting to hire explorers like me, we’d die hungry.

And I also appreciate that there may be people that like the idea of “stable” work that sucks their soul, in exchange for money that allows them to experience grand things in life on the weekends. Even though it is not for me, it’s not a bad tradeoff if you ask me.

So yeah, bad and good.

The resolve?

Well, I promise that I will get back to a point where I work for anyone but myself. The way things are, I don’t think that will happen before a year and each day in the year would be, well, interesting. I’d ideally love to run away from it as fast as a rat runs away from a ship that has hit an iceberg!

But I promise to myself that I would stay for at least a year (if not more). And I will use each “interesting” day to make my resolve stronger. And my hustler, harder. All in hopes that I don’t ever have to see these interesting times again.

C. The Notches

I wore denims and a formal shirt and sports shoes. My typical work attire. Or any formal occasion attire for that matter. And while I did that, I also wore a belt and I realised that I have put on so much weight that I need to add a notch on the belt.

While I should be gunning for removing notches from the belt, here I am, growing (quite literally) in the other direction. When this lockdown thingy started, I had resolved (where did I hear this word recently?) to lose weight, learn guitar, finish #book2 and I dont know what else. Of all the goals, I was fairly confident of losing weight. After all, I am not a foodie. Wait, lemme munch onto this Egg Roll that I just ordered. So, yeah, I am not a foodie and I could have lost weight but I put on weight! And I need to do something about it.

That’s it. That’s the third part. Nothing more. Nothing less. A reminder to self that I need to lose weight.

***

So yeah. This is for the post of the day. A ranty one. But at least I shipped. After all, real artists ship! Even on interesting days.

PS: If someone wishes you that “may you live in interesting times“, you now know what to do. Don’t you?

This is part of the ’30 posts in 30 days’ project. This was Day 5. Other posts are at 301031100111, 0211