Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remembering Smita Patil

Today my mind goes back when I was just out of school ...It was the early morning of 13th December 1986. My house was full with guests who had come for my cousin’s wedding. We all had chit-chatted through the previous night and hence had slept very late. Early morning on 13th December as usual, Dad had put on the radio in full volume and I was struggling to sleep. I really didn’t want to wake up on cold chilly morning in Pune...but the radio news was blaring away. It is then the news reader read out the tragic news of Smita Patil passing away...I couldn’t believe my ears, I was up in the next instant, trying to catch the balance news in numb state. Smita Patil ,one of the most talented actresses in my time, had passed away due complications post childbirth. Then Newspaper and Radio were the only means to get news( no media circuslike today). In my growing up years say from std 8th onwards I was fortunate enough to be exposed to meaning full movies on good old DD read parallel cinema. And in those years Smita Patil made a strong impression. It was her earthy and natural acting of course that connected and also had a soft corner for her because we shared a common name and a place ( Pune) too. Her roles in Arth, Bhumika, Manthan , Mirch Masala , Jait Re Jait , Umbartha ( Marathi) , Bazaar along with commercial films like Naamak Halal and Shakti or even Ankhir Kyon , Warris etc were unparalleled . She started as news reader and went on to become the most applauded actress in just a decade. She brought in the trend of wearing Puneri Cotton Sarees or even the Irkaal Sarees in grunge style( which were worn only by construction workers then). So much so that I often went to weddings wearing sarees of same kind and often in the plain jane got evoked severe comments from my relatives like- ‘he ka lankecha parvaati sarkhi aaliye’ etc. Till date I love those kind of sarees and own a collection of them. I remember half the class running to the nearby Hiralal’s bunglow where Smita was shooting for Umbartha to catch one glimpse of The Smita Patil. I also remember having countless arguments with my friend ( Smita Sethumadhavan) on which was better Commercial Cinema or Art Cinema. My friend was a big fan of movies like Himmatwala and many other South produced movies. (my friend Smita actually added color to my life from commercial movies that she loved, I realised this much later in life and much later I stopped watching realistic cinema as it left me pained).. She was a feminist and yet she married a much married man, that evoked strong criticism against her imagery, her stand and we -Smita’s fans found it very hard to defend her then. It broke our hearts ( today of course I would say that it was none of our business but back then I was kid who idolised her). So after many years we still watch all Smita’s movies with same gusto and probably that’s why even today when I see Prateik on screen (who inherits her acting skills) I end up searching for Smita Patil in his expressive eyes and smile. This earthy and superbly talented actress who won all accolades nationally and internationally was all of just 32 years old and yet left behind an enviable body of work which remains and will remain untouched for ever..
( Disclaimer-The author has no copyright on this picture)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teio completes four years with us

11th November 2007 was a remarkable day. Teio - our pet, a beautiful golden lab, walked into( actually garced) our lives. It all started about 4 months prior to that. Riddhi, I think, was in 6th std and she learnt that my Sis-in-law was preganant. She bawled her lungs out, stating she too wanted a baby at home or then, she bargained, atleast let us have a pet. And so, I melted finally seeing how much my daughter missed having sibling.

We had gone to Pune for Diwali and so we checked on a place that sold dogs. He said he had two pups. So off we drove to Kalewadi. He had one pup with him at that time. It was 40 days old, he said. Both Rajesh and me felt it was a lot less than 40 days and it was a female. The pup was curled up on the floor, tied with a string. It ws a poor little thing, golden brown with limpid eyes. I took it in my arms, it licked my palms. The other option was 3 month old Rotweiler and a 6month old Cocker Spaniel. Rajesh ofcourse ws very keen on Rotweiler, I said, we wanted a pet not a hound..and the Cocker Spaniel ws a little older. So we settled on this little cute pup.
That evening, Rajesh got a wicker basket put lovely satin cloth and ribbons and put the pup into it. This was our surprise bithday gift to Riddhi. She had an unbelievable expression on her face.

 We travelled back on same night. Through the journey the pup slept on my lap. We reached Thane at midnight and at home we made small cloth bed for the pup by our bedside, but she refused to sleep, she missed her home and cried thru that night. I kept picking her up, rocking her to sleep. She kept crying, chewing my finger. I was very worried but next day onwards Teio settled into our home. We decided to name her Teio.

 Teio quickly responded to her name. The next few days was busy, trying to work out her feeds, poos and pee timings. I normally warmed her food in microwave. So eachtime she heard the microwave beep, she would come bounding back to kitchen. She was very sharp and playful but never destructive as a pup. Though she was left alone at home, she never tore or chewed on anything valuable. I have a huge open bookcase but till date Teio has never ever shredded a single book.As a pup she liked eating the left over wick of the oil lamp that lit in front of God. First few days I cudnt understand as to why the whole of wick vanished. Teio loved the oil left in the lamp and so with that the wick was also consumed. She loves sitting for puja right next to me. Once I had bought lovely lotus flowers and offered them to god in the temple at home. I had gone down for about an hour to run some errand.  When I returned, I opened the latch and was aghast at the sight. The whole hall was strewn with lotus flowers shredded and spread across the huge hall. That was a sight I still can never get out of my head. I feel, to recount every single thing that Teio does, will take me pages and pages. She never ceases to amaze us with her ability to comprehend whatever we communicate. Infact it is a standing joke in our house that though we both are experts in the field of communications, Teio is Master in Communications.  All I can say is that we are truly blessed to have in our life. She has filled our life with love and lots of love.