I have never stopped to take stock of my passions in life. Why, I do not know. There aren’t many that I have in any case but an inventory should be on now that I am half way through my life!
Well, let me start with my biggest passion – books! Who are the authors that I like. Ayn Rand…she has elevated my reading to another level of fundamentalism. I have read her over and over again through the years and have understood the Roarks and Tooheys differently each time. Dominique is no more that youthful enigma but I am still yet to understand her fully. Howard Roark has influenced me and I dare say here that except being a sociopath as he was I have relentlessly followed his path to originality! Others may differ but…
Khushwant Singh has influenced me too. Now, ask me why I had to be done in by that dirty Sardar. Then, you must read Delhi – a novel. He is a fabulous historian and a storyteller. I have yet to come across a more qualified Indian writer writing about India as he has done. Suketu Mehta follows in close on the basis of his sole book, Maximum City! Boss, what energy..I could not sleep after I had completed the book at one go on a Sunday. Since then, have read it many a time. There were many others..Bruen, Bach, Henry, Wilde, Forsyth (I love that man!!), Grisham, Lawrence, Satyajit Ray, Sunil Gangopadhay, Tagore, Marquez, Menon, etc and I shall never tire of those page and gum smells!!
My next passion is Movies. Scores of people are passionate about movies but only a few watch movies alone from the age of 12. I did. Don’t ask why. I don’t know. For me, movies are a therapy, a taraana, a thrill, a study, a fantabulous occasion that I could never escape even for a big party or a daawat or even religion. Well, movies are my religion.
I saw Chemeen sitting on my Dad’s shoulders. I saw Aradhana when I was two and I am able to recollect my own lusty singing after the movie ended. I remember Johnny mera naam, Hare Rama Hare Krishna from then on. Then, a hiatus and after a few years I got introduced to Ray straighaway. Pather Panchali, Jalshagar, Apur Sansar, Mahanagar, Teen Kanya and Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne..they were classics even then for without even getting the full import.
I launched into my Hindi movie phase again with Sanyasi. Manoj Kumar and Hema Malini served up Masala movies to me like never before. I was hooked. Sholay followed and what a follow up!!
Then, was a phase that I was seeing a movie every week dutifully one-way or the other. Good ones, vague ones and downright horrid ones. Does anyone remember “Oh Bewafaa”, a ‘The lonely Lady’ rip off starring Anil Dhawan and others. Bambai Ka Badshah will also not ring any bells. Amjad Khan in a double role. I caught up with the Hrishikesh Mukherjee jewels during this time. I also tried a few Bimal Roy ones. Then, I hit upon Kishore Kumar and Guru Dutt films. The movies had me for life.
I have torn shirts getting tickets for Sharaabi and Hero in Nagpur. I have seen Pataal Bharavi alone in Hyderabad grooving to Jeetendra’s pots and pans. I have copied Mithun’s “Kasam paida karne wale ki” muffler style all winter of 1985. I saw Ghayal after curfew in an illegal video parlor in Guwahati in 1990. “Tridev” was seen with CPM and Trinamool Congress going great guns at each other just outside a hall in Kolkata. Sathya, the Tamil one, was with a girl whom I never met after that day. DDLJ was in Panjim with my spouse. Tezaab was in a place called Alampur in Howrah district in West Bengal with my brother. Taal was in Siliguri when my daughter was being born at a nearby hospital. Takshak was in a bus to Pune to see my mom.
Now, I see movies on DVD or at the nearby multiplex. I enjoy. We enjoy. My wife is a freak too. She even worked with Inox and institutionalized her freaking out for two good years. Indian movies changed. We get a Khosla ka Ghosla. We also get a Matribhoomi. We get a Bheja Fry and we also get something as radical as “No Smoking”. I still love the movies.
I am passionate about music too. A R Rahman is God. RDB is up there with all the Gods. LP, KA, Madan Mohan and other greats are also as revered. I can listen to a Pritam too. I can get along with Salil Chowdhury (that genius..) too. Kishore Kumar, Asha, Lata, Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant, Manna De, Jagjit, Ghulam Ali, Alisha, Bappi Lahiri, Salma Agha, Abhijeet, Alka, Sanu, Sonu,Udit, Nusrat and his tribe..all of them have contributed to my ears and pleasure over the years.
I even enjoy Bombay Jayashree, Anuradha Sriram, Harini, Sreekumar, Unnikrishnan, Hariharan, Nachiketa, Zubeen, Indian Ocean, Mohit Chauhan, Remo, Richa Sharma, Vishal Dadlani and others who are not heard all that frequently.
As they say, music has no boundaries.
My last and foremostest passion is work. Here, it shall suffice if I mention that I have toured the country only through my job locations. I went where work seemed interesting. I went where there was opportunity. I am the later day diamond prospector. I cannot give up. I cannot lie in a cocoon. I am still innovating myself. I am still at it. Kitchens, restaurants, Hotels, Banquet Centres, Multiplexes, Discos, Heritage Parks, Clubs, Resorts, Spas, Health Clubs, Amusement Parks, Entertainment Malls and Waterfront developments. I have seen it all and done it all.
Operations, Marketing, Sales, Events, IT, Business Strategy and Projects. I have been all over the place. Ah yes..there are places I can go to from here. Sports Management, Talent Management, Content, Themed Attractions…the list goes on!!
So, here they are…my Passions…then there is Cricket..ah..umm..well..yessss!!!!!!!