A Glimpse of Bharath’s Life!

Owning a BMW is quite an expensive proposition. I am realizing it in the fifth year of owning one. Yesterday, my car started flashing a warning signal that tyres have been deflated, though tyres seemed to be OK. But my wife got deflated more because of this warning flashing on the dash-board and so I went to the BMW workshop to check. There was this bombshell waiting for me! They told me that all the four tyres need to be replaced as they are more than four years old or there is risk of tyres bursting due to extreme hot weather of Doha. That replacement does come with pretty  hefty bill! But I had no choice and I would rather pay than risk some tyre burst! So I had to leave my car at the workshop for a day.

Without my car, I had to rely on a taxi to ferry me from home to office and back for one day. I called up Karwa Taxi booking hotline and was surprised to get connected to a call centre agent without any waiting (On all previous occasions, I had to wait for 10 to 15 minutes before any call agent attended me). This instant service from hotline is might be due to reduced calls during this Ramadaan Holiday period or may be due to competition from recently started rival Taxi service! I booked taxies for the trips, one from home to office in the morning and one from office to home in the evening.

My morning trip to Office went off without any hitch as the taxi was on time and I reached office well in time. But the return trip was interesting!

At two in the afternoon, I came out of the office and did not find any taxi, though their call centre had told me that taxi is waiting in front of my office building! I called them up and asked where is the taxi and call centre told me that it is waiting in front of building 1 (incidentally, my office block has four buildings). I told them that I am waiting in front of building 1 but there is no taxi. Then taxi driver came on line and told me that there might be some confusion and he will take a round of entire complex and find me. I waited and finally he found me and I got into taxi and I was a bit disturbed as I had to wait for him in the hot afternoon of Doha. While passing other buildings of my office complex, the taxi driver gently showed me that where I was standing was building 4 and not building 1. Then I realized my mistake. Thus we started our conversation.

The taxi driver was initially speaking in broken English. Then I asked him whether he is comfortable in Hindi, as he was of Nepali origin. He was happy and we started conversing in Hindi (his Hindi was heavy with Nepali accent which was a bit difficult for me to understand clearly). He told me that his name is Bharath (same as India, he told me). He is in Doha for the last three years. When I asked whether he likes Doha, he just smiled!

Bharath is from Dolakha Town of Nepal which borders China (Saina, as he says). It takes about 10 hours by bus from Kathmandu to reach his place. He has studied up to 10th class. I asked him whether he is married and he told me that he will be visiting his place this year to get married. Then I asked him how will he find his bride? He told me that there no such need as he was in love with a girl since his childhood i.e., since he was in class 6! Our conversation after this information was more interesting.

His lady love, let us call her ‘Ms D’, has now completed her graduation. Bharath felt that she will be able to get a better groom than him and he told her so. But she will have none of it. Moreover, her parents are economically better off than Bharath’s family and did start searching for a groom for her. But Ms D stopped them from doing so.

Bharath also tried to dissuade her by telling her that he is labourer in Doha with very little income. She was not deterred by that.

Bharath told me that in his three years in Doha, he has been able to save and remit about Twenty Lakh Nepali Rupees (i.e., two million Nepali Rupees) and now is confident of leading a good life in Nepal. He told me how difficult it was to arrange for funds for his mother’s treatment and ultimately he lost his mother due to that. But now onwards, no such thing will happen in his family. He told me that he is also helping his villagers financially for their medical treatment.

Once he gets married to Ms D, he will ask her about her preference – whether to come back to Doha, where Ms D can also get some employment or stay back in Nepal. He has a plan ready for his career in Nepal. He will buy three taxies in Kathmandu and will drive one himself and remaining two will have drivers employed by him.

I was impressed in many ways. With his plans, his savings and above all, the determination and undying love of Ms D. I wished him all the best, as I got off in front of my residence!

One more thing to note here is that Middle-east, especially Doha has made many people like Bharath to realize their dreams of leading a better life back home!

I too saw “Ek Tha Tiger”!

I go to see Salman Khan’s movies more for their hype than the content! In recent times, his one movie after another has been a blockbuster. So invariably, I went to see Dabaang and Bodyguard and now Ek Tha Tiger!

As I am writing this on 23rd August 2012, I see reports that this movie has raked in Rs 150.40 crores nett in the domestic market in eight days. Ek Tha Tiger was released on 3,300 screens in India on August 15. Due to the Independence Day holiday, the movie received an earth-shattering response with its collection reaching Rs 32.92 crore nett on the opening day. The movie has shattered all records of previous blockbuster films like Ra.One, Agneepath, 3 Idiots, Dabangg and Bodyguard. Trade analyst feel that it has set a new collection record, which is difficult to break!

At the outset, Ek Tha Tiger is a smartly scripted, crisply edited and stylishly told love story. The action sequences, shot on locations as far apart as Zakho in northern Iraq, Istanbul Dublin and Havana, make a great viewing and yes,  Ek Tha Tiger has stunts that come close to taking your breath away.

Filmed on locations around the world, including parts of the world where Hindi cinema has rarely been to before, the story is about a RAW agent called Tiger who is sent to Dublin to investigate the mysterious ways of an anti-missile technology expert of Indian origin, Professor Anwar Jamal Kidwai (well portrayed by Roshan Seth). The scientist is suspected of passing on classified information to the Pakistani defence establishment. So the Indian spy befriends the part-time caretaker of his home, Zoya (Katrina Kaif) and his pugnacious pug (the dog is called Rocket). No mission is impossible for our man Tiger, and once he marks out his territory and goes in for the kill, his foes, no matter how wily they are, end up in body bags.

However, in this tale of a valiant spy and his all-out war to save the woman he loves from the intelligence agencies of two nations, the outcome isn’t wholly predictable. The hero takes uncharted detours to get to his eventual goal. When the spy struggles with the conflict between head and heart and weighs the pros and cons of falling in love with a girl as shadowy as him, the film tends to slow down a little. But such scenes are few and far between. With actors like Girish Karnad (as Mr Shenoy, a RAW Officer) and Ranvir Shorey (as Gopi, Tiger’s trusted operational aide) in the supporting cast, the Ek Tha Tiger manages to hold the interest of the audience till the end. Though in between one feels that movie has almost ended!

The action scenes appear to be very well filmed, especially the one involving a tram in Dublin! Katrina’s action scenes are also breathtaking! Katrina finally does much more than just singing and dancing in this movie!

There are many lose ends in the movie like instant availability of a get-away aircraft, withdrawing huge amount in Dollars from an ATM (from apparently an INR saving account!). But in the end, these do not matter. When you come out of the movie theatre, you feel as if you have achieved a land mark of having seen a “must see” movie – mainly not to lag behind in any discussions in social gatherings!