Too much tosh on sale…by Pritish Nandy

We live in solipsistic, self indulgent times. Even if you don’t endorse the desperate need for self promotion, as indeed many of us don’t, there is too much of parental and peer pressure to simply ignore it. Look at some of the reality shows on TV and you will know what I mean. Grown ups are making a spectacular fool of themselves in front of millions. So are kids, some of them barely struggling to enter puberty but with no qualms about shaking their booty in front of crowds of hired strangers paid to clap at the end of every performance, however stupid or talentless it may be. There is an even bigger audience of idiots out there so desperate to express their opinion on which talent deserves to be protected or sacked that they will shell out Rs 15 per sms. If the channels are to be believed, more votes are polled during these reality shows than during elections, earning the channels a neat profit marketing pure drivel.

I have nothing against drivel as long as we know and recognise it as such. But the problem is that an entire generation is now growing up on tosh masquerading as genius. Just as an entire generation is growing up on tabloid gossip believing it is news. Perhaps I was lucky I grew up in times when some of the India’s finest talent in music, art, theatre, movies, poetry flourished. So I can still make out the difference. But a whole new generation is now out there, with blinkers on. They buy anything that’s packaged with hype and sold to them as success. They see it as sizzling talent. If you have never heard the music of RD Burman I’m not surprised you think Sajid Wajid is next to God. If you haven’t seen Shombhu Mitra on stage, can I blame you if you think Balika Vadhu is the ultimate in staged entertainment?

That is why we need history, knowledge. They context our experience. That is why classics are revered. If you haven’t heard Nusrat Fateh Ali sing, how can I blame you for believing that Himesh is the greatest singer of all time? That’s the problem with our times. We are too self obsessed, too busy with ourselves to realise that there’s much more to our art, music, culture than what we see happening on TV today. How can a critic who has never watched Manmohan Desai or Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies ever figure where our cinema is coming from? Unless you have heard Kishore Kumar or Mukesh sing, how will you ever know where the roots of our popular music lie? No, I am not trying to sell you nostalgia. I am only trying to expand your imagination by assuring you that there’s much more to enjoy if only you were to enlarge your scope of sampling beyond Munni’s charming exertions.

If you haven’t seen Sunil Janah’s photographs of the great Bengal famine, how can you ever understand the power and passion of visual journalism? Pablo Bartholomew’s one iconic picture of the aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak has survived millions of words to remain the strongest reminder of that human tragedy that still aches our conscience. I see so much abstract art around but nothing compares with the work of my friend Gaitonde who died a lonely, broken man in a Delhi barsaati, years after he stopped painting because he thought he had nothing left to say. His works still come up in auctions and sell for a million dollars whereas he died penniless and I know few people today who are even aware of his work. There’s no access to it either, apart from a few private collections which remain in godowns collecting dust and appreciating in value to be eventually sold off.

Yes, we have reduced art to auctions, music to reality shows, journalism to staged hysterics on TV, dance to item numbers, religion to unbearably noisy public festivals and the intemperate politics of hate. We have reduced our living literature to boring text books that have to be mugged before exams where your memory and cheating skills are tested more than your knowledge. We have reduced love to V Day cards and bouquets of cut flowers. We have reduced our pride and honour to the crude symbolism of murdering our own kids who want to make a marital choice different from ours. We have reduced all enterprise to the making of profit and bred a nation of carpetbaggers. Raj Kapoor teetered on the edge of bankruptcy all his life even as he made his most memorable films. Guru Dutt killed himself because he felt unfulfilled. Today’s film makers only boast their box office takes.

Are we losing out something somewhere or is this a new culture we want to build where the past does not exist and the future can go to hell?


111 Responses to “Too much tosh on sale…by Pritish Nandy”

  1. Sharmila,

    This is a SMART one from Mr. Nandy. Specific, Measurable, Adequate, Relevant and Timely!!!

    Let me make a quick punch-list of topics that I can dwell on:

    1. Media: If something is not in the media it doesn’t exist!

    2. Television: The journey from entertaining house-wives to educating couch potatoes to prime-time opinion makers of the internet-classes

    3. Epistemology: Who wants to learn? Why are tabloids preferred to facts

    4. Cinema: Was there culture before the invention of cinema?

    5. Should the new generation wait for the older one to understand it?

    6. Is the new generation really growing up on tabloid journalism? Or is the older generation finding excuses?

    7. Is it fair to think of classics while discussing plagiarism?

    8. How is the new generation’s speed and irreverance solipsistic or self-indulgent?

    9. Did we miss the bus, Mr. Nandy?

    10. How are iconic honor and other personal values tied into past literature?

    11. Is there anything called current literature? Are comments on current affairs literature?

    And probably some more while I post on these…


    • It is fascinating how many questions can be raised with his one post alone! The other one is what are parents doing with children who spend all the time in this world on tv? What is considered a “good” cinema? Is it just BO numbers that drive this definition?

  2. Sorry.. re-submitting.. forgot to toggle the “Notify me” switch…

  3. There is no translator in google from English to Kannada. The transliteration doesn’t make sense!

    Looks like this:

    ೧. ಮೀಡಿಯಾ: ಇಫ್ ಸೋಮೆಥಿಂಗ್ ಇಸ್ ನಾಟ್ ಇನ್ ದಿ ಮೀಡಿಯಾ ಇಟ್ ದೊಎಸ್ ನಾಟ್ ಎಕ್ಷಿಸ್ತ!

    Hmmm… let me try word translations:

    Media: ಮಾಧ್ಯಮ

    Epistemology: ಜ್ಞಾನಮೀಮಾಂಸೆ

    Cinema: ಚಿತ್ರ

    Tabloid: ಪುಟಾಣಿ ಚಿಕಣಿ-ಪತ್ರಿಕೆ

    Plagiarism: ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದ ಚೌರ್ಯ

    Honor: ಗೌರವ, ಮರ್ಯಾದೆ

    Mr. Nandy: No results found.

    Okay. Give up. I’ll continue in English. Kannada is a complex language. Translating from English to Kannada is a herculean ಭೀಮಬಲದ task.

  4. There is a movie called “Idiocracy”. It seems that we heading that way.

    Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.

  5. Sharmila and all Tiger lovers,

    Watch out for the unveiling of the TEEB report in the United Nations Biodiversity Conference at Nagoya in Japan. “Save the tiger and make a killing” says one of the titles. The conference discusses the economics of reducing biodiversity losses. Billions/ trillions of dollars on the way.

  6. Sharmila,

    Mr. Nandy’s post speaks of the frustration that most of my generation is forced to endure every day in every walk of life! I sometimes wonder whether my parents too felt the same that I do today, when they were as old as I am today? Did they worry and feel bad about me listening to Binaca Geet mala on Radio Ceylon every Wednesday?? Has such a drastic contrast in the values and interests of different generations always existed? Talk of movies, articles in magazines, TV shows, Newspaper headlines and even editorials, the deterioration in standards has been tremendous! This is something which is difficult to understand and accept. I used to enjoy watching SaReGaMa on Zee TV, when Sonu Nigam used to anchor the show…look at what the show has been reduced to today! Some of the singers are very good but the package served is beyond my level of tolerance. Is this really what our masses enjoy??? In contrast to this, the same show on Zee Marathi continues to be very good and is one of the channel’s most watched shows! Any singer who croons on a high pitched note trying to make it sound like a Sufi soulful number is held in awe by the audience and judges alike! 😦

    Where have magazines like the Illustrated Weekly and Dharmayug disappeared? Why don’t we get to watch TV shows of yesteryears like Ados Pados (directed by Sai Paranjpe) Why are Kavi sammelans today more like cheap ‘Laughter Challenge’ shows? Why don’t we have a Shivani or an Amrita Preetam writing a Krishnakali or a Nina, and a Sahir Lyudhianvi penning lyrics for our film songs?? Like what Mr Nandy says if one has never heard good music, appreciated art, and read some of our classics how would one know the difference? It is here that parents can play a very important role! To preserve our values, ethics and culture the past has to be introduced to the younger generation so that their future doesn’t go to hell!!


    • Shubha,

      Brilliant. You have accurately described the situation.

      A child depends on parents, teachers and the community in general for sources of inspiration.

      When all these mediums are invaded by strange influences what chance does the child have?

      In the past too the colonists employed services of people like Max Mueller and H.H Wilson to cripple the young minds. They even rewarded those who submitted to them.

      But fortunately there were extraordinary teachers like Radhakrishnan, Gokhale, Vivekanand, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Tagore and a host of scholars who simply brushed the colonial influences away.

      How does anyone do that against today’s Yehudi business models and propaganda that have colonized the world with their new world order?

      • Reader,

        Yes, we do need extraordinary teachers who can inspire, influence and guide the young minds into making the right choices and instilling the right values!

    • Shubha – Brilliant set of thoughts here. The new generation want it all quick, from life, to arts , to technology, the entire gamut is a game of 20:20. They have no patience, impatience sells. It can be tied with a big red bow and sold for millions. Time is money!

  7. I don’t understand art and music a great deal to understand the frustration of Pritish Nandy or some of the people commenting.

    But I can understand it from the analogy of Test cricket and the dumbed down format of T20. T20 is definitely interesting and challenging in it’s own right, but I hate it when people who only love 4s and 6s then start comparing some T20 hero to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar.

    • Thats right Ninad. about time people also realize that Tendulkar cannot be compared to anyone or anyone cannot be compared to Tendulkar, with the Don being the only exception of course.

  8. Sharmila and EF,

    Here is a small experiment in physics that I have demonstrated many times to children and friends:

    Take a small plastic cup that is around 2-3 inches round at the base. Something like a batla that we use for saar, rasam, sambhar in the food plate. Only ensure that it is plastic and non-metallic, something that does not pass electricity.

    Now, take two iron nails about 2 inches long and pierce them through the base of the plastic cup about one inch apart.

    Tie the two ends of a 1.5 V battery (one we use for hand-held torches) to the two nails with normal thin electrical wires (single core).

    Pour some salt water (common salt) in the cup, a little below the tips of the nails.

    Place two glass test-tubes on the nails.

    Leave the set-up alone for a few minutes.

    Then remove each test-tube covering the mouth of the tube with the thumb so that the gas does not escape.

    Remove the thumb and at the same time hold a small lighted match or a candle light at the mouth of the tube.

    The gas in one tube explodes with a small “Pop!” sound.

    The gas in the other burns slowly with a blue flame.

    The first one is hydrogen, the second is oxygen.

    When I demonstrate it to children, they roar in excitement. And also try it themselves till they get it right.

    The elders / adults mostly appreciate the process and then they think of hydrogen bombs!!!

    Some even go the extent of asking if it is safe to teach children such dangerous science! What if they make dirty bombs?! We already know some who do!

    My answer to that is: Submarines use sea water to make fuel from the electrolysis and also supply oxygen to the sailors when it is under water.

    Every process of learning can be used and abused. As teachers, we cannot hold back learning because we are not sure of what’s right and wrong in ethics.


    All my maternal uncles were PhD in some subjects. One in Optics, one in pure math and one was a double PhD in Soil Mechanics and Geo-technology. The optics guy settled in Delhi. The math nerd retired from MIT in the US. The Dr. Dr. (double Dr :P) retired as the dean of his department from IIT Powai, Mumbai.

    All scholars, brilliant and extra-ordinary achievers in their fields. I, sometimes wonder how it is that we are always introduced to great uncles on the mother’s side. “Dad, what does your brother do?” “I don’t know, Son!”

    One of the uncles once boasted of his scores in Applied Mechanics (It’s an elementary subject for Engineering students). He kept talking about some great researchers Timoshenkov, Young etc and how he had mastered the basics in ’50s even before I was born!

    My reply to him was, “Mama,” (Mama is Uncle in Marathi, not mom) “Whatever you studied in your university is taught in schools nowadays. Now (1982) it is called Statics- Mechanics, and we are designing vacuum tunnels!”

    And that caught his attention. He rummaged books; read for days on end till he knew exactly what I was learning.

    To cut it short, the modes of engagment may change with each generation. It is not the younger generation’s responsibility to wait for the older folks to catch up.

    50 years ago people learnt from gossip in the neighborhood and newspapers. Children today have better access to high quality information through the electronic media.

    How we measure the impact depends on the scale we use and the conditions that we apply.

    A person associated with glamor, advertiseing and public opinion is likely to mistake TV and cinema as character building mediums.

    A person in active sciences will look at them as distractions. India, of 1.2 billion, has some of every type.

    Too much Tosh may be for sale: But who is buying? The kids or the parents?

    To be continued…


  9. Sharmila and EF,

    Before I proceed further in the logical sequence of my punch-list, I want to jump to a question that Sharmila has asked in her first reply.

    i.e. What are parents doing with children who spend all the time in this world on tv?


    It’s a Wednesday evening. My harmonium class is from 0800 pm to 1000 pm.

    Father suddenly announces that we are going to the theater to watch a black and white movie called, “Do beegha zameen” starring Balraj Sahni – a Bimal Roy classic. The next day is a national holiday.

    “But I have to go to my music class now!”

    “Go. We are going for the movie.”

    “I want to see the movie too!”

    “So come. Who is stopping you?”

    “We can go to the movie tomorrow, na? Tomorrow there’s no class”

    “We are going now! If you want to come, come or go to the class. Your choice!”

    “Who’ll give me dinner?”

    “It’s in the fridge!”

    “Who’ll lock the gate?”

    “Leave it open!”

    “Who’ll open the door for you when you come back? I’ll be asleep.”

    “Lock the door. We have the keys”

    “Who will…”

    “Hey! Never mind who will what.. decide quickly and change your clothes, you are stinking!”

    “I am coming for the movie”

    And the whole family walked 5 Kms to the theater. My elder brother kept teasing me about missing the class. My younger sister joined him like a chorus. I stayed calm, and quietly decided to get even once we got back from the movie.

    We returned late after midnight. Everyone was busy preparing to go to bed.

    I removed the harmonium from it’s box and dragged it along the floor to the drawing room.

    Once there, I began to practice my lessons!

    Brother and sister went berserk! But slamming doors and screams wouldn’t work on me.

    Dad was smiling. Mother knew I was being adamant. Both ignored us.

    And after half-an-hour of unbearable music I retired happily to bed.

    To answer Sharmila’s questions:

    The movie was my dad’s choice. A great movie, a classic and one with immense socio-economic content. He loved it. He shared it with us.

    He knew I was passionate about my music lessons. And he left me alone to resolve my conflicts – ignored some silly fool-hardiness, but never lost the plot.

    Children are keen to use their energy in something that inspires them. Surely TV does not give much scope for that. Yet, most teenagers today are addicted to TV, cellphones and consumerism in general. It appears to be safe and harmless, which it certainly is not.

    I feel, parents lead by example consciously or otherwise. Children always find something to mimic their parents.

    The maximum that a parent can achieve is the minimum benchmark that they set.

    To be continued…


  10. Aishwarya Says:


    The generation of the postindependence era, the 40s and 50s, probably had the best in terms of movies, music, and art. It was like rain after a drought or spring after a long cold winter. The creators of art were passionate and inspired by their dreams of a free young nation. They also had the benefit of artistic freedom and of having no past greats to be compared to because movies with sound were made only during the 40s! We have to be honest and agree that there has always been a market for sleaze and sex. The rapid advancement in technology has only made exposure to filth easier.

    The generation then seem comfortable with their values and the generation now is comfortable with technology. Its the generation stuck in the middle that is torn between the two and is trying to glue the past with the future. Why dont we let the future celebrate Kishore da and Sonu Nigam, Khayyam and A.R.Rahman, Lata and Shreya Ghoshal? Why not give them the liberty to enjoy the best of both, without comparing?

    I believe that values are personal. Its an understanding that one makes with one’s inner self. Choices do not decide our values. Our values decide the choices we make. I recently took my daughter to enrol her for dance classes. The teacher asked me which reality show she would be competing in. I replied, none. She sent us our way saying she is busy training students for shows! Her choice was made. And so was mine. No compromise. The world hopefully has better bigger brighter things to offer the future generation besides reality shows. As for now, they didnt invent the remote for nothing!



    • Aishwarya Says:

      Oops…too many errors in my comment…please edit as you read.:P

      This is a favorite song. The little girl here is sweet and talented. But the choice of song is so wrong for a child. Thats where adults make a mistake.

  11. Continued…


    TV had a visible impact on information and entertainment when it come into our territory.

    The first TV set that came into our house was a large black and white unit called Crown.

    There was just one channel. Doordarshan.

    Kamleshwar, a learned literateur from the banks of the Ganges, was the director in Delhi and later moved to Mumbai.

    Mumbai doordarshan was hogged by RSS hindus and predominantly centered on bollywood enterprise.

    I remember, Shashi Kapoor was the first person who wanted to start a private channel in India.

    But Mrs. Gandhi had other plans. She knew the power of the TV and had already confined it to function as a propaganda machine for her government.

    There was a good reason for that too. And I wholly agreed with her idea then.

    From 1875 to 1950 several hundreds of Indians went to England and were educated in cambridge, oxford eton etc to become lawyers, teachers, writers, journalists etc. Those who didn’t make it to London studied in elite public schools in Simal, Dehradun or Naintal.

    One common thread among the alumni of these English institutions was that they either scorned or mocked at their own culture or fiercely campaigned for social transformations. Those who were too timid to stand up and be counted became humorists, satirists and poets – albeit with some visible clues like wearing english clothes all the time and generally performing for elite clubs. Those who were more forthright became politicians and businessmen.

    TV was the perfect medium for them if they had got a chance to sneak in.

    But Mrs. Gandhi ruled with an iron hand and an iron glove that left nothing to doubt. Only those who were in touch with the soil and sympathized with the people got any slot on the propaganda machine.

    To balance that, she did make exceptions when it suited her. She knew her nation.

    For example, once, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was to make a speech in Delhi at the Race course ground. It was Sunday morning. Everyone who knew Vajpayee was well aware of his fine eloquence.

    The speech was in the morning.

    Doordarshan changed it’s agenda and telecast Raj Kapoor’s ‘Bobby’ – uncut!!!

    The mischief did not go unnoticed. Newspapers like Hindustan Times, Pioneer etc wrote about it in their editorials next day.

    Back to television, the first private channels with some real distraction was the Zee Network based out of Andheri, Mumbai. The comination of Hindi with English words suited the metro culture.

    Zee was followed by Rupert Murdoch’s Star Network.

    However, none of them could ever reach the audience in the villages across the nation as Doordarshan could.

    Even to this day the overseas propaganda machines continue to rely on their conventional networks of educational institutions. About 9000 Crores, 180 million dollars (official figures) still continue to pour in every year from various christian missions in US and London.

    In short, television is a propaganda tool. Even channels like Fox and Discovery have programs like “Reading Hitler’s Mind” etc.

    It is for us to protect children by giving them such access as will help them to make informed judgements.

  12. Continued…

    Was there culture before the advent of cinema?

    Around the time that the first experimental cinema appeared in town, India was a large cluster of hundreds of thousands of colonies of labor connected by a network of roads and railways. Virtually all businesses were owned by a handful of Parsis in Mumbai and Surat and their network of big-time landowners spread over the rest of the nation.

    Cinema came in more as an engaging medium of entertainment for the children of the rich. They employed stage artists and musicians who found a new medium to sell their art.

    Religion and humane themes were the obvious best-sellers as the country was mostly in slow agricultural occupations. No one was ever in a hurry!

    Religion gave way to romance for a change. Romance gave way to violence for a change. Violence gave way to special effects for a change. Everything in cinema happens for a change!

    Since the foundations of it’s market were laid on religion, actors, mainly female, did not come from respectable families till much later in ’50s. Most female leads were from families of dancers and free-lancers and they married within the fraternity.

    Mumbai was flooded with migrants and refugees from Pakistan. The Kapoors, Khans, Chopras, Kohlis were all those had moved in from the borders and set-up shop in Mumbai. Hindi film industry welcomed them with open arms or rather they made the industry what it is today – a dream destination.

    This generation of refugees changed the equations. They made socially relevant films and knitted the whole of north, west, east and central India into one cultural fabric – their own!

    Socialism, Patriotism, Women’s rights, History etc each subject was studied and scripted into storylines to make timeless feature films. Music and literature played a critical role in their concepts and making.

    Then the wheel of time rolled back. After a short stint of anti-establishment rhetoric that manifested as the angry-young-man, the industry was taken over by merchants and investors – make what sells – item numbers, murder mysteries, underworld violence, thrillers etc.

    The middle ages of cinema saw a few occasional brilliance from the likes of Govind Nihalani, N.N. Sippy, Hirshikesh Mukerjee who held their fort for a while.

    And now with TV and DVD the economics of film making is firmly in the drivers seat.

    In other words, culture has gone back to where it was before the advent of cinema – which is in our homes and communities.

  13. Continued…

    Two items:

    1. Should the new generation wait for the older one to understand it?

    My answer is obviously no. Keep going. I know a lot of parents who are far less literate than their children and I can see their pride when I say, “Your son / daughter is more intelligent than you are!”

    2. Is the new generation really growing up on tabloid journalism? Or is the older generation finding excuses?

    Who needs the print media when all the information is available live and online? The state and centers gazzettes, the acts and bills in the parliament are all posted on the government portals. If I can form my own opinion knowing the actual stuff why do I need a Jug Suraiyya, bachi karkaria, or Shobha De to tell me what to think?

    Even when the Times of India became available at 1 rupee I read it on the public stands at the bus station. Most of the headlines is already heard and seen on TV. The notion of national newspapers is so old school.

    The tabloids are an ideal replacement for the expensive film glossies. They are cheap at 5-10 rupees as compared to 30-50 rupees for a filmfare of stardust.

    Not even a retarded nay mentally-challenged baby reads a tabloid for growing up. Tabloids are fun and full timepass. For any serious information there google and wikipaedia.

    Journalists like to call themselves opinion makers, which is such a vain idea. Culture and national psyche are not held by their words any more than it was before the rise of the internet era.

    Culture still begins at home and ends in social interaction. It is on shaky grounds for a nuclear family and a working woman. That doesn’t make any difference. it still remains the domain of the family.

    Generations and their culture do not grow up on the quality of journalism in each era. They grow or perish with the family values.

  14. Continued…

    Last topic in the list. Living Literature.

    Mrs. Indira Gandhi was once asked by a BBC reporter what her take on history was. It was a mischievous question given that the wooden throne in London had ruled the country for more than 150 years and that was all the history that a BBC correspondent could be intersted in.

    However, Mrs. Gandhi charmed her way through.

    “I don’t read history” She said, “I am too busy making history”

    Ofcourse her reply is far from the truth. Both “History of the World” and “Discovery of India” were written by her father and occupy pride of place on the shelves in the Trimurti Bhavan, her house.

    She knew far better and far more about what to do with that history than any colonial reporter could understand.

    Literature, has a time and place in the life of each person.

    In my lexicon, journalism is not literature, even if some of the journalists try to carry that halo on their shampooed heads.

    Literature dwells in the philosophy of virtues, values and metaphysics in real time.

    Historical literature gives me a frame of reference and a conceptual model to work upon even if it may or may not be relevant many times.

    Current literature is for me to discover, evaluate and record. It is an expression of reality as it appears here and now, yet it is not restricted to a commentary on perceptual phenomena. It is a reality that underscores real facts.

    Every generation knows this and creates it’s own literature.


    bahut thak gaya hun ma… Sharmila ke blog pe likhate likhate… bahut thakk gaya hun… mujhe bahot neend aa rahi hai… aaj thursday hai.. mera weekend…

  15. Anand Khare Says:

    Reality shows in India are turning in to comedy shows. All comedy shows are increasingly becoming sex-comedy shows (a vulgar version of ‘carry on’ series).Kids are being exploited in the name of giving opportunity to the budding talent. At least this must be banned by descendants of Mrs. Gandhi.I am sure it will be appreciated by public at large.Sitcoms are more of crash course for bahus and saases.They teach them how to behave badly and how those suffer if they live with the values given at their homes.

    However, it is not correct to say that all entertainment currently on sale is trash and all the contents of yesteryears were ‘out of the world’ class. I feel it is exaggeration.I don’t subscribe to this view of PN.We still have KBC 4. There are some very good contents coming on SAB channel.Yes Boss is my all time favourite. There is another show at Star Plus called ‘Sasural genda phul’. I will recommend this and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai on Star one.

    Anyway I feel that this article is not of PN’s class.


    • Aishwarya Says:


      I have watched a few episodes of ‘Sasural genda phul’ and really like Suhana. I also like the joint family system on the boy’s side. Something we dont see often nowadays unfortunately.

  16. Mr. Nandy needs a grand-child who will sing this for him:

  17. The spirit of my childhood: See the whole song

  18. Plagiarism?

    Anari – Old and New… The new version has got better color, music, more cinema but something seems to be missing in the new, I don’t know what…

  19. Being in silicon city and I struggle with connectivity , will be back in a jiffy

  20. Aishwarya Says:

    Forty years from now, this will be a revered classic…

  21. Aishwarya,

    Thats a wonderful thought.

    How will the current generation look like 25 years from now?

    Self-actualized teenagers. A retired single widow. An 80 year old bachelor. An old-age home packed with grumpy old women and men.

    Or perhaps Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World of Robots and Machines.

    Or Ayn Rand’s Anthem with a cooperative of zip coded numbers instead of names for people.

  22. This is Ayn Rand. This is her Anthem.

  23. Aishwarya,

    Here is the essence of the whole issue. Civilisation is a myth. Religion is a myth. A family and a community are myths.

    The truth is this:

    • Aishwarya Says:


      Wow! Thats a great speech, esp. the creator against the parasite.

      I dont agree with the myth part though. Not that Ayn Rand needs my approval!

      • A myth is a practice that is far removed from our daily lives.

        Gandharva marriages became a myth after ceremonial marriages became the norm.

        Joint families became a myth when nuclear families became the norm.

        Joint parenting became a myth when single parenting became a norm.

        Religion became a myth when secularism became a norm.

        Civilisationn became a myth when globalisation became a norm.

        A family became a myth when migration of children became a norm.

        A community became a myth when neighbourhood became a norm.

        And so on… we do what we do… the future generation will do what it will do…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        That is change. Like looking through a kaleidoscope. Every once in a while, we shake it and see a change. The components remain the same.

        My daughter went for a farm trip from school and came back super excited. She had seen a cow for the very first time! I am afraid the cow is soon becoming a myth!

        When something becomes extinct, does it become a myth unless its existence can be proven?

        I hope not.

      • Not at all.

        A myth is just something that is not practiced or something that does not exist, and it makes no difference whether it is believed or not.

      • While on myths, here is one that has become real.

        The Moon is called ‘Chandra” in Sanskrit which also means Silver. in Hindi it is “Chandi”

        NASA has discovered yesterday that half the surface of moon facing the earth is made of silver ores! Ofcourse, the discovery is credited to one of their scientists!

      • Water, silver…amazing discoveries. Perfect nomenclature.

        I wonder if it would be very girlish if I ask for the moon now.:)

  24. This is Ayn Rand. And these are her words.

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Beautiful lady. Priceless words.

      • A very curious thing is I became suspicious of Jewish and Jain Marwari syndicates after reading Ayn Rand first time. That was back in the college days in the ’80s. That’s when I started reading Jewish literature to verify my doubts.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Suspicious? Why?

      • Some of her angst was directly aimed at collectivism and mysticism but I found that the causes of those came from Jewish and Jain Godless philosophies.

        That lead me to synagogues and Mahavir temples, to manstries in Nasik etc.

        This whole idea of ‘The-earth-is-my-backyard’ began with Moses and later Mahavir and Buddha.

        I was amazed and amused how simple a thought captivated an entire race!

      • Correction: Monastries, not manstries. What is manstries?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reminds me of the book review you posted recently.

        Thats a very good idea by Sharmila and you, a section for book reviews…

      • That is right, I hope Reader starts some serious reading now. Reader’s digest we could call that section Aish ..:)

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Whats a single widow?


      • Oops.. I meant a lonely widow, some we find in the metros these days.. living alone in an apartment or penthouse.. ordering everything on the phone… there are many in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune… some are filmstars… some are abandoned by their roots… some are simply rootless…

      • Where is Sharmila?

        Seems like the connectivity in BLR is slower than Bush in deep thought.

      • Not anymore, I wish I could be the brand ambassador for Reliance Net connect. Maybe AB can put in a word to Ambani!! lol

      • Aishwarya Says:

        If this was the Macau post, her reply would be “Never mind.”


      • Aishwarya,

        She cannot “Never Mind” anymore. Her blog has had 81,700+ unique visitors so far and the number keeps increasing.

        Thats quite a large number. Even if 10% are on RSS that would make 800 pingbacks every time she writes a post!!

      • Aishwarya Says:


        That explains it! It isnt clairvoyance. Sharmilasays is just one of the most happening blogs!

        And so I am trying not to be surprised that yesterday evening AB spoke about the changing face of Indian Cinema and our culture on CNN-IBN!


      • Aishwarya,

        Hmm… do you think we should test this?

      • Aishwarya Says:


        Can we? I am for it. How about Sharmila?

      • Aishwarya,

        Without involving Sharmila.

        Do you have a list of all AB, Abhishekh and Aishwarya Rai’s forthcoming films and their storylines?

      • Aishwarya,

        I’ll avoid any subject even remotely associated with those themes. Then we’ll know if only the post is RSSed or even the comments.

      • Aishwarya Says:


        I have an idea of some of the forthcoming releases but not the storylines…Budda, Guzarish, Khelein hum jee jaan sey…

        But what if it stops after the test? The coincidences are fun.


      • There is one more of AB you have missed…let me see if I can dig more info on this

      • Aishwarya,

        Hmmm… you are right.

        There is one other way.


        Use an abstract that cannot be deciphered unless the person who reads it is directly associated with the subject.

        That will eliminate 90% of those who can relate to the subject and also prevent it from appearing on other platforms like blogs, twitter, facebook or orkut.


      • Aishwarya Says:


        Sounds good to me.:)

      • For example:

        Punchlist of ideas thrown up by Mr. Nandy would read like this:

        Media rewound the crystall ball. A bacterial culture of parasites was released by the lab. It has invaded space. Cinema is too slow and expensive. Should I wait for you Paa? I am searching for Rap Literature.



      • Aishwarya Says:

        Lol, Reader…thats superb! Then you might receive a cryptic reply from the man himself, “Decoder necessary.”


      • Aishwarya,

        There is a secondary advantage too.

        This way there will not be a feeling that I am demystifying, deconstructing, ridiculing or unmasking delusions, fetishes or luminaries.

        The fun will remain clean.

      • Sharmila – Lol…Reader’s Digest fits.;0

        Reader – If there has been a feeling like that, I wasnt aware… As long as we can follow your abstracts, I’m cool.:)

      • I do feel that way many times. One comment usually covers only one aspect. It takes several comments for me before the whole perspective becomes clear and that becomes too boring and confusing at times.

      • Reader,

        Speaking for myself, I refresh this page every hour or so to check for your pink avatar on the side pane. I enjoy reading your comments and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who feels this way. As for the number of comments, you are after all the angel of Sharmila’s blog…

        Kidding. 🙂

      • Kidding is right. That’s what AB’s Angel does on his blog.

      • Woh toh hai… Chaliye mein aapko khush karne ke liye fish banati hoon. ❤ Hmm…teekh se nahi aa rahi…chalo achcha hua…aap toh vegetarian hain.

        At this rate, I could give you some tough competition for the post of Sharmila's angel!


  25. Aishwarya,

    Some sort of wierd coincidences going on. Mentioned Raj Kapoor’s “Bobby”, (uncensored version) yesterday, and it is showing now on Zee Classic!!!

  26. Aishwarya Says:

    Gosh, Reader…someone here is clairvoyant and it isnt me!

    • Clairvoyance is uncanny! Hope it is not me either!!!

      As a piscean-aries cusp, I have a pea-sized brain of a fish and the arrogance of a mountain goat.

      These are evened out by some extra-sensory perceptions of a deep-water fish and the live-and-let-live vegetarian spirit of a goat!


  27. Plagiarism?

    Two super duper hits. Same storyline. Same characters. Even same names – Jabbar Singh and Gabbar Singh.

    The Classic: Mera Gaon Mera Desh; The re-make: Sholay (AB called it a spaghetti western because one scene was also copied from ‘For a few dollars more’ the one about 6 bullets and 3 men…). The main content and plots were taken straight from the original Mera Gaon Mera Desh – it’s maker Raj Khosla was known for his original works that were re-done into super hits by others.

  28. Sharmila lost in the crowds of Bengaluru.

    (This is Mumbai. For BLR just replace taxis with autos and sea-side with more traffic)

  29. When I was losing in life there was every one of my family with me, each playing his/her part. Now that I have a few good moments to share there is no one around!!!

    Is there a time and place for missing someone or something? Following are 3 songs that sum up the entire gamut of feelings. All songs written by Sahir (who else?). All timeless hits.

    The opening flute notes of the next song were also used by Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker. The lyrics are touching. Sahir in top-form.

    In the next song Sahir underscores the philosophy and facts. His final judgement on all that we call success.

  30. Sharmila,

    Where are you? The blog-world has gone ahead.

  31. Sumit Goyal Says:

    Hello Sharmila….how are you!!!!!!

  32. Aishwarya Says:


    Intriguing question. What are parents doing with children who spend all the time in the world on TV?

    My parents lived in Abu Dhabi/Dubai from the 1960s to the 1990s. In the early years, UAE wasnt so developed, Indian families were few, and there were just 1-2 channels with Arabic programs, Egyptian serials etc. My parents were members of the Indian Social & Cultural Center and the Malayalee Samajam, and get-togethers were the main source of entertainment. On one occasion, friends came to know that my mom, who was a Hindi teacher at St. Joseph’s then, is a trained classical dancer. They coaxed her to train their kids and she relented. So we had kids come over to our home to learn dance. My sister was a student too. I was about 3 years old, never keen on dancing, but loved to run around zig-zag between them as they practiced. I also was a part of the audience for the stage shows, nodding off on dad’s shoulder. Mom was mostly backstage or sidestage, encouraging and prompting her students. She was a wonderful teacher. I remember how proud she was when her students collected prizes. There would be celebrations soon after and we all had a really good time. I was always awake for that!

    Parents love to watch their kids being appreciated and applauded. Whether the child is 3 or 53, their achievement is always a moment of pride for the parents, no matter how big or small the event is. Being a mother now, I know the feeling.

    Many children are grateful for a platform where they can perform before reputed judges and a vast audience. Many even go on to make careers as playback singers and start their own dance academy etc. They spend money and time there because that is a door for them that opens out to an ocean of opportunities.

    What I feel is missing now is the simplicity and the innocence. The hype , the vulgarity in some dance reality shows, and the schooled expressions that TV shows force them to put on makes a mockery of precious parent-child moments.

    • Anand Khare Says:

      I am expecting (fearing) sequel of Bangalore series from Sharmila.


      • Anand,

        🙂 Nothing to fear. That would be really fun. Like Ossibissa on a concert tour!! Non-stop samba, zulu and calypso!

        Hope Sharmila is okay. There is no word on the blog in the past 24 hours.

        My antakshari is running out of stock on Mr. Nandy’s theme!


      • Reader – Heartwarming that the EF noticed I was amiss..I am good, my internet woes sorted out. I am on Reliance net connect, marvelous to say the least and I am here while I am stuck in Bangalore’s usual traffic!

      • Lol..I was a bit upset when my connection was amiss but now I think this place is the paradise that I always thought it to be!

    • Aish – That is right, it is great to encourage new talent and one hopes that the talent does not go unnoticed. But, it is the vulgarity at that age which is appalling ! This is what that breaks my heart, where is all that innocence gone?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Sharmila – I agree. And to think that training in classical music and dance was started out to keep children rooted to Indian culture! When they decided to turn it into a money-spinning business beats me…

  33. Anand Khare Says:

    Yeah Reader,

    That was just in the lighter vein.Pls continue with ur philosophy.Should I sent you a very entertaining and enlightening Geeta-Chapter 19 (subject-junk mail) on ur previous email id.


    • Anand,

      I have never heard of chapter 19 of the Gita. Please post it here for the enlightenment of all.


      • Anand Khare Says:

        It will not be proper to post it here as it doesn’t relate to this subject.May be some other time when the discussion is on junk mail.


      • Anand,

        There are only 18 chapters in the Gita that Krishna told Arjun. Was anything cut by the censor board? Or was something kept for the DVD version? I don’t know.

        Or is there another Geeta? Like Sadhana’s Geeta Mera Naam?


        Kahaan philosophy bhai… I am scared of saying anything philosophical on any public platform that is open to comments. Each person has a philosophy.

        Expressing it and then defending it for no practical reason is very tiresome.

        What I indulge here in, and that which Sharmila does not mind, are simple assorted ideas and sentiments.

        Philosophy is the raaga in music as compared to the light hearted bhav geet of entertainers on stage and in cinema.

        Even the bhav geet is now replaced by digital polyphonic sounds. Some of the ring tones on my handset are better than the alleged music in new films!

  34. Anand Khare Says:


    A woman is most active when she is non-active.
    (Courtesy- Abhiman)


  35. Anand Khare Says:


    You r correct.Geeta has only 18 chapters. This 19 th chapter is brainchild of some creative soul on net and forwarded as email. It is a kind of parody of Krishna’s sermon to some Arjun who doesn’t want to forward junk mails to his relatives and friends..Like me who is hesitating pasting that mail here.


    i knew u wud like sasural genda and suhana.Didn’t know u watched it.Pls check one of her bhabhis named rajni.u wud like her more.


  36. Anand, Aishwarya, Sharmila,

    New series: Miscellaneous discoveries of Reader.

    The back of my head is elliptical like an egg or a bean. This feature of the skull is probably because there were no cradles in the house at the time of my birth.

    The general arrangement for laying me down was a piece of handloom cloth tied at the ends to two pillars in the kitchen like a hammock. The rocking and rolling never gave a chance for the skull to acquire a shape. So instead of a normal flat-head I became a fat-head.

    Now after 4 decades and a half I have discovered some do’s and don’ts about this shape.

    Firstly, I cannot rest the back of my head on a hard pillow because it topples on one side – the head topples, not the pillow.

    When I use a soft one, the head sinks into it till the ends of the pillow come up my nose.

    I found a way forward though. I support the back of my neck with a hard pillow which keeps the head above sea level.

    The most important discovery is this:

    When I lay the egg to rest vertically, I get nightmares! Dreams, dreams, dream… the past, the paster than past and the pastest of the paster than past… people, faces, events come alive out of the dormant dark.

    When I turn over one side they all disappear and I sleep dreamless.

    I am not sure there is a structural science behind all this. But no harm in testing it.

    So I am going back to sleep.


    • Aishwarya Says:

      You could try face down too, like on a massage table. Egg up.
      Sleep well, Reader.


      • Aishwarya,

        The massage table has a face-sized opening in the headrest. So, the nose has some air to breath when I am lying like a god-fearing Missionary.

        In fact, you are right about that, the position is very comfortable for the muscles of the neck.

        Since that is not possible on a conventional bed, I keep one pillow between the shoulder blades – that holds the cervical from pulling at the connections at the base of the skull; another pillow below the neck that fills the space between the neck and the bed. And the third one below the bean.

        And after a few minutes I turn on one side scattering all of them.

        By morning, one pillow is under the right leg, another is on the floor and the third one is in the armpit!!!

        I usually wake up gracefully and thank the lord almighty that I am still on the bed, instead of somewhere under it…


      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader – Thanks to the dressing table by the side for blocking your fall and awakening ‘gracefully’! 🙂

        Sharmila – A 2-page writeup on Rajnikanth in today’s Hindu supplement! Hope you can catch it when time permits.

      • Thanks Aish..doing so now..

  37. Dear Mr. Nandy,

    Come to Sharmila’s blog. There is a lot of tosh in the comments section, mostly from one chap who calls himself Reader.

    But it’s not for sale. We just love tosh.


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