Sunday, November 28, 2010
When you get First hand movies and Second hand books, you know you are in a Big City in India and when its the vice versa: Second Hand Movies and First hand Books, you know its a small town. Patiala is one such small town where almost everywhere you can find posters of movies that probably were a part of your childhood in the big city. Names like Tabu, K.C Bokadia, T. P Aggrawal, Sunny Deol still adorn the re-hashed movie posters and titles like Khuda Kasam, Maharaja, Trinetra are posted on the market walls, fly over pillars and street light poles. Of course there is the regular fare 'Break Ke Baad' and Guzaarish which do below average to bad business. After all who cares for stuff like 'Mercy killing' and 'Live-in, Break-up' type pseudo stuff. And oh yeah, there is a new Mall, yes..those bloody creatures have invaded this small beautiful town of Patiala with a dreadful caption: 'Patiala will never be the same again' - but I happened to meet one of my colleagues from dairy technology who lives in Patiala and had a different opinion of the Mall - he said: 'at least now there is something for us to look forward to on weekends' - well, so why am I cribbing?
A fascinating aspect of small towns of Punjab: In early winter mornings, sometimes one can see scores of young boys, girls running in their sportswear and spiked shoes - I got a feeling that our various Asian Games, Commonwealth Games medals actually come from here and of course not from those smoke-emitting cities. While having a conversation with actor, Kamal Tewari (he's the guy who played Kareena's father in Omkara. Remember the legendary dialogue he spoke: 'Jo ladki apne baap ko thag sakti hai, woh kisi aur ki kya sagi hogi?'), he gave me a list of few places to visit here: The Central Library ( a grand building but has more bricks than books), the Baradari Gardens, the Palace, the Museum and the best place he suggested: Dukh Niwaran Gurudwara: what a place! Its almost as big as the celebrated Golden Temple in Amritsar and they say the pond, or should I call it a Lake, inside the Gurudwara has some great healing powers. One can see pilgrims come here in huge numbers and the fish inside the lake in gurudwara come frighteningly close to your feet almost as if they have been kept there for some kind of pedicure!
By the way, If one wants to know what exactly was the small town before it joined in the race of becoming a part of 'modern India', then go beneath the newly made Flyovers. Its where you will see myriads of eateries, markets, shady bars and of course something that we have forgotten completely: 'Railway Crossings'. When a Big train comes, the world around the Railway crossing comes to a standstill. The Tughlakabad-made Diesel engine passes by with great arrogance in the form of a blaring horn. Such is the aura of the passing train that vendors, shopkeepers, customers, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, passengers - all stare at the passing train and a smart sardar kid gets an opportunity to steal an apple from the fruit cart, while the vendor stares at the train that might take him to his village where he migrated from.
Music Video Madness:
What's Punjab without its Music videos. A few years ago, One day, Psycho, my best buddy was reading an interview by Punjabi singer Sukhbir published in the Times of India, where his statement was printed in bold: 'People do not take Punjabi music seriously' and I still remember Psycho remarked: 'Dude, Punjabis do not take their music seriously' - which pretty much sums up the way the Music Industry operates here. Of course by now we know every third person has launched a music album in Punjab, but now the music video madness is reaching to extreme levels. The Videos are shot in Dubai, London, San Francisco, Montreal with cheap-blonde girls and generally you will find the singers with their high-pitched voices standing against a swanky Merc, or a big Hummer or any such flashy SUV or if one wants to go even bigger then they show the lead hero having his own chopper or a Cessna-kind of an airplane - believe me - I see these videos daily while we travel to locations that are generally an hour from the city. And you will see a 40 year old dancing on words that go something like this: 'College ke bandeyaaan, mauj-mastiyaan kar diyaan..Saaanu koi kuch naa kahe..' Another intriguing aspect would be about alcohol. Almost 50 to 60% of songs are made on one topic: Daroo (alcohol). Its like my colleagues and me are waiting while the song plays and within two to three lines every singer will come up with his version of this poetic line: 'Daroo da nasha chad gaya..oye!' Poets like Pash must be turning in their graves, while seeing these music developments in the cities of Punjab.
Let me end this adventure of Patiala with a quote by Pash that I really admire:
न होना तड़प का सब सहन कर जाना
घर से निकलना काम पर और काम से लौटकर घर आना
सबसे खतरनाक होता है हमारे सपनों का मर जाना..
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