Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The past month, I was facing what I would like to call a terrible case of writer’s block, when my attention was drawn to the unusual and alarming number of people from my Facebook friends list getting married. The wedding season is here, and the difference this time is that a lot of college seniors of my time are getting hitched, one of whom is my closest friend.

It has been a good 6 years since I last attended a wedding, thanks to the definite clash between exam season and wedding season. My memories of the last wedding I attended involve waiting for the chaat stall to open, and for the shagun distribution ceremony. There’s also a faint recollection of a pretty simple Joota-churai event and the disappointment of not dancing in the Baraat. Probably the most fun that I had as a kid in a wedding was in a friend’s aunt’s wedding, which was held in our colony, and all of us friends danced like crazy on the DJ floor, a literal case of “Begaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana”.

So I am pretty much out-of-touch with whatever new trends have come into wedding mainstream since Band Baaja Baraat. Photo-ops have become quite common I am told, and so has the trend of the groom helping the bride onto the stage during Jaymaal, borrowing from the English sitcom style of weddings, romantic as it is. I also heard that rotating stages and huge screens for live streaming the ceremonies are quite a rage too. Nevertheless, I am excited about the only one that I am actually going to attend, hopefully. And this excitement came about after a pretty long time.

Let me first give you a background of the happy couple. The bride is my friend, philosopher and guide since the time my only major worry in life was getting done with the homework. She also went on to become my college and department senior. The groom is this awesome batch-mate of hers she used to rave about over the phone even before I entered college and is also my society senior in an oddly contrived way. Theirs is one of the most well-known love stories of our campus.

In my group of school-friends, the full acceptance of our best friend going over to the other side came with all the seven emotional stages of change. When my friend - let’s call her Minny, the Great – first told me that her parents have met with the parents of her fiancée` and she might get married in less than a couple of years, I laughed it off, arguing that they have just met, and she has just graduated, and there’s still time as she is the youngest in the family. And more than anything else, she is what – just a year older- to us. Those were the unmistakable signs of denial, soon followed by the realization that it is happening, the day she told me to save the date. I still remember how dazed with the news I was when I told my mom about it, and was amazed, and a little annoyed, at how naturally she took it, asking me to congratulate Minny, the Great. That is when the resistance kicked in.

Another school-friend of mine and I declared, “Dude, it is child marriage. You need maturity to handle a marriage”. We realized as soon as we had said this, that Minny, the Great had been far more mature than her years, even as a kid, and if there were any children in our group, it were just the two of us. We tried to reason with her, and appealed to her feminism. We reminded her of all her old crushes, quickly realizing that this strategy will do opposite of what we want. We finally let go when she showed us a picture of her trousseau.

Now that there was no going back, we decided to ensure that she is making the right choice by scrutinizing her fiancée`. Now, I knew that there wasn’t a simpler and sweeter guy in our college, and definitely in her batch. But I considered it my sisterly duty to interrogate and warn this poor chap in true big-brother style of how well he is going to take care of her. This really mature guy happily obliged us with the most romantic answers and won the ultimate approval of her best friends, long after he had won the approval of her parents.

As I analyzed what this wedding really meant, I couldn’t help feel elated for Minny, the Great. Here was this great woman, the kindest one I had met, and she found this great guy, and they saw to it that they stick together, whatever be the odds that actually came their way. It is inspiring, really, in this age when it is cool to be a lost and confused twenty-something, they found something of value and honored it, and that is a wonderful reason to get married.

For us girlfriends now, the wedding is all about train reservations, sangeet rehearsals, Saree selections, extensive diet plans (at which I am failing miserably) and all that girly stuff. My best friend’s wedding should be the most perfect wedding to attend after so long an interval, and I get to be a part of both the bride and groom’s parties. But it is also about the realization that we are growing up, and it’s great that we are still there in each other’s lives, in these important stages.

Congratulations Mrs. And Mr. Minny, the Great. May you have the happy ever after.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The King of Hearts

This week's blog is dedicated to the very first love of my life, whose looks and charm defined the minimum requirements that all my future crushes had to fulfill, whose wit and confidence is enviable and who entered his 50th year yesterday - the King of Hearts, Shah Rukh Khan!

My infatuation with SRK dates back to when I was a 4 year old, and my favorite songs to perform in front of doting relatives were "Ye Kali Kali Aankhein" and "Jati hun Main, Jaldi Hai Kya". I am told that I used to cry every time SRK was beaten up by a villain in a movie, and that used to happen a lot. Like many kids that age, I tried to contort my face into having dimples. Growing up, I tended to crush on guys with dimples. And sure, there was a phase in which I claimed that Aamir was my favorite Khan because he made <air quotes> sensible <air quotes> movies. But eventually I realized that it's important to be true to yourself, and proudly accept that you love seemingly <air quotes> senseless <air quotes> movies such as Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express and Happy New Year, sometimes only because they star SRK. Oh, and Happy New year is absolutely hilarious.

As I skimmed through all TV channels looking desperately for a good SRK movie to watch on his birthday, I thought about my favorite movies of his, the ones I could watch any time, from any point of the story, any number of times. They do not include some of his more celebrated performances such as Baazigar, Darr (I don't remember watching them, and some SRK fan clubs would disown me for that), Dil To Pagal Hai, or Kal Ho Na Ho. But they entertain you, and I guess that's what SRK is all about! So here are my favorite 9, do watch them if you haven't yet, they will leave you feeling great!


This movie was inspired by a lot of Hollywood movies, Nick of TimeRush HourIf Looks Could Kill,Mr Nice GuyThe Mask. A comedy about a detective called Baadshah, who foils an assassination attempt at a Chief Minister, using gadgetry like sunglasses through which you can see through clothes or shoes that allow you to walk on walls, this movie was a kid's paradise, especially with the song "Main to hun pagal", and SRK's antics in it. "Wo Ladki Jo" and "Hum to Deewane" were other great songs. Abhijeet had given voice to SRK in all songs in the movie, as was the case in most movies at the time, and I truly believe that it was one of the better actor-singer combinations in Bollywood.

Yes Boss

This was the story of Rahul (surprise, surprise!) , who kissed his boss's ass to no end, and managed his multiple extra-marital affairs in order to earn more, only to fall for one of the boss's girlfriends. Frankly, it was a pretty ordinary story, but still a nice entertainer. The Abhijeet-SRK magic was to be found here too (Main Koi Aisa Geet, Bas Itna Sa Khwab, Jaata Hai Tu Kahan), as was the SRK-Juhi chemistry. I know I am going to hurt a lot of sentiments when I say this, but I truly believe that these two had a much better timing and chemistry than SRK-Kajol.

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

This one had SRK and Juhi play two competitive, TRP-hungry reporters who stumble upon the story of a man sentenced to death for killing a politician who had raped his daughter, and try to help him, going against the nexus of politicians and media houses. Though the plot seems serious, the movie had a generous amount of comedy and romance, and some fun songs. The debut production of Khan,Juhi and Aziz Mirza's production company, it was actually a flop at the box office.


You would think that casting the two most beautiful people of Bollywood as siblings, and casting them opposite Priya Gill and Chandrachur Singh would be a big mistake. But this flick went on to prove that what matters more is a good story and strong performances. SRK as a Goan gang leader was a big departure from his usual characters, and his effortless performance in this one proved his mettle as an actor. Again, I am in love with the music of this movie, and am beginning to think that Anu Malik composed really beautiful songs if they were for an SRK movie.

 Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

Even though I would hardly ever admit it, I do like DDLJ, regressive as I find some aspects of it. Whether it was him playing soccer (was it? or rugby? or who cares?) in the rain , or wooing Kajol in Ruk Ja Ae Dil, helping Himani Shivpuri select a saree, or doing chores in the house of the wedding, SRK had a screen presence that other actors could only aspire to have. 

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na

Now this is one sweet movie everyone must watch, SRK-fan or not! Shah Rukh played the mouth-organ-playing, navy-cap-wearing, Sunil who keeps trying to tamper his band's lead singer's attempts to woo Anna, the female singer of the band. The movie also had Ashutosh Gowariker in a small role, and you also see the famous Rustam Paori of Munnabhai fame. There was also a wonderfully choreographed song inspired by Boney M's Rasputin. The best part of the movie, though, was that Sunil doesn't get the girl in the end. But as the Don (you have to watch the movie to know) says, life goes on.

Main Hoon Na

Farah Khan's directorial debut had something for everyone: rickshaw-fight scenes for the kids, 70's songs for the parents, a sexy Sushmita Sen for the guys, and a never-been-cuter Shah Rukh Khan for the girls. Some of the college stereotypes, such as the forgetful Principal or the spit-spraying professor, were spot on! The scene where Zayed gifts his mom locks of his hair, or the one in which he enters the library for the first time, or the ones in which Shahrukh serenaded Sushmita were simple comical situations executed to perfection. And for many more scenes like these, MHN gets full marks!

Chak De India

I seriously doubt if there has been made a better sports movie in Bollywood. In the 153 minutes of this movie, it touched upon regional differences among players, the class difference between cricket and hockey, the disdain with which women sportspersons are treated by the sports committees, the ego issues of senior players, the woes of married female players and the haunting past of an ostracized coach. SRK did an impeccable job as Kabir Khan. Even though he was the star of the movie, the rest of the cast held its own and the result was a sports-oriented movie and not a star-oriented movie. Finally, the McDonalds scene always lightens up my day.


Every time I see this movie, I discover something new to think about. There is a lot to like about this movie. The tussle between the two main leads over Kaveri Amma. The modern girl trying to provide primary education at grassroot level. The Indian origin NASA scientist who slowly adapts to the lifestyle of a small Indian village. The mature love story which doesn't tie the characters down, but allows them to follow their own passions. The admission, that India is not the greatest country in the world. The portrayal of the problems of the country without blaming either the people or the government. Because in the end, it is our country and our people. Apart from these things, the movie boasts of SRK's finest performance, in which the thinking Mohan Bhargav had completely displaced the dimpled star we look for in every movie of his.

A brilliant actor, a smart businessman, a witty star , Shahrukh Khan is rightly called the King of Bollywood. Here's wishing him a great life ahead and hoping we see a lot more of him in the future!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

It's been a long time since I last visited my own blog, and a lot of major things such as graduation, relocation and employment have happened to me since. But what actually compelled me to pick it up again is an interesting thought that I want to share tonight.

As the despair of a cold Monday morning gradually turned into acceptance of two months of all-work-and-no-play, I looked back at the three trips that I made in the month gone by, which not only elongated my perception of a vacation, but also recreated some precious memories.

Go Goa Gone!

The first of these trips was to Goa. I had been to Goa before, but this was a triply special trip. My two month internship at Goa was the reason behind the most beautiful summer of my life. So I was glad that I could revisit the place. What was extraordinary was the fact that I went there for a friend's bachelorette, with girlfriends I have known since we hadn't even touched double digits. An all-girls bachelorette trip with school friends is stuff movie such as "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" are made of, and it happened for us, complete with the melodrama of the movie! And it wasn't even the spookiest part. Ten years ago, when slam books were a thing, I had put this as my dream tour in my brother's book, something we discovered after the trip happened. Dreams do come true, it seems.

So there we were, 20-something women acting and feeling like gushy high-schoolers. The activities and conversation were in the same vein, just the setting was different. Instead of first crushes, it was about sasurals. Instead of philosofying near the kids' swimming pool, we were contemplating the waves on a beach. The high pitched renditions of Dil Chahta Hai were made in a car rented for a road trip and not on Ladybird cycles. Though a lot of credit for coordinating this trip went to Whatsapp and other social apps, it was the determination of a bunch of girls to make Goa happen that proved that there are some friendships that time and distance couldn't touch.

Home Sweet Home

I've lived away from home for 5 years, and made several trips home from hostel. But this one, from Pune to sadi Dilli, was different. Having interned in Delhi for 6 months, living conveniently at home, the rebellious streak of college had disappeared and one can safely say that I had become spoiled for comfort and unconditional love. My departure from Delhi was marked with the dramatic realization that I was going to get out of the safe cocoon of family and friends that I had become so accustomed to. Close friends arriving at my doorstep with chocolate cake to bid me goodbye didn't really help with the emotion. And at the end of the day, Delhi is Delhi!

So when I went home from Pune after two long months of living independently, adjusting with others, managing groceries and utilities and worst of all, handling maids, it was with a lot of confidence, that comes with living on your own, and relief, that there is still beauty and peace in the world. (Someone told me that this relief of going back to home goes on till you have kids coming to your home, relieved that there's beauty and peace in the world.) Moreover, there was deep admiration and heartfelt respect for my parents for managing the mundane things of life and making it enjoyable for us. 

So much was different, but it was still the same. At home, it was perfectly okay to prefer Bang Bang over Haider, it was okay to break a fast if mutton biryani is around, and even 10 years later, my brother and I ended up being the only kids our age in parties. Our lives may change by leaps and bounds, but the only thing constant would be the endearing familiarity of home. Our experiences could only make this more valuable.

Ghar se Dur Wali Diwali

The icing on the cake was a trip to Bengaluru to celebrate Diwali with my brother. A lot of fuss had been made about #GharWaliDiwali this year, but it was not an option for many, including me and my brother. But that didn't deter us from celebrating. We reconnected with relatives we hadn't met in years, met nieces and cousins for the first time, and celebrated Bhai Dooj over a chocolate that we had somehow forgotten to eat. 

I also met a couple of college friends. I realized that college life is a rush of events and incidents, most of which will fade from your memory as time passes. But you don't need them to bond with your true friends. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was glad that I went to Bangalore, and had an unconventional Diwali.

Which brings me to the thought that compelled me to write again today. Some relationships in our lives provide a stability that is otherwise not present. They may be your school friends or old college friends. Your memories with them will always be cherished, but you need to show up to recreate those memories in your new circumstances to sustain those friendships. They may be your family, but you need to let your new experiences teach you how truly valuable they are. Change is good, but if you play it well, some important things will stay the same.

In the same string of thought, I decided to revisit my blog, and refresh it with new perspectives and experiences. And so must you, for any thing that is close to your heart and provides stability to your life, make an effort to enhance your old memories and passions with your new situations. That is the only way of sustaining anything that is good.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Musings in the Metro

The week gone by marked the beginning of my first brush with working in a multi-national, as a part of a 5-month internship program offered by my college. This essentially means that not only do I have to give up the joy of waking up late and forgetting the difference between a weekday and a weekend but also that I have to travel 17 kms one way to reach my office, and that too during rush hour. But thanks to the Delhi Metro, the time taken for this one way commute has been almost halved to just 75 minutes. And even though I spend 2.5 hours daily just in travelling, as a friend recently pointed out to me, I do not mind it (yet) since I get ample time to come out of the early morning inertia, and also to contemplate on questions raised by my observations of my fellow commuters. Here are the 5 things that caught my attention so far.

Tune mujhe pehchana nahin...!

Whenever I had to wait at the Metro station, I made sure I was standing in a well-lit and crowded part of the station, for safety reasons. In one such scenario, my over-thinking mind brought up the question, "how well would I be able to describe a person to a sketch artiste if I was a witness to a scene significant for a crime?" The next day, I tried to describe the face (and not clothes, because it's easier to remember clothes :P ) of my fellow commuters in the Women's coach of the Metro. It turned out that the more discernible features are the face shape, the complexion, color of hair, shape of nose and lips and the height and body structure of the person. Prominent features such as moles, dimples, chin dimples are also good pointers for describing a person. While this activity seemed tough at the beginning, it became easier with time, though admittedly I took my own sweet time in performing this exercise. The takeaway from this daily Metro ritual was that even though we pray that we do not face any such circumstance, we should be prepared for it. We can't all be Sherlock, but we could be a little more observant.

Gandi baat...!

The Delhi Metro is considered the symbol of progress and development. Radio ads for the Indian Govt. mince no words in driving home this point. Personally, I like travelling in the Metro. But sadly, there are no dustbins in any of the Metro premises. This has caused me to end up with too many chocolate and biscuit wrappers in my bag. Surprisingly, the stations are quite clean, though I did spot a couple of chips packets and disposable tea glasses on the tracks. The people of Delhi show immense discipline, responsibility and maturity when it comes to the Metro. However, installing conspicuous dustbins will go a long way in helping commuters who eat/drink on the go and in keeping the stations pristine.

Ye chhori badi Drama Queen hai..!

To entertain themselves during the journey, people resort to a variety of activities. Some read books, some play Candy Crush, some catch up on their sleep, some catch up with their friends on the phone. Some listen to Yo Yo Honey Singh, while others either get lost in their own train of thoughts or completely judge everyone else on the train. And then there is the class of people whose favorite pastime is just creating a nuisance value. They would make irritated noises and frustrated faces because they, just like everyone else, don't have enough space to stand in the jam-packed coach. You can hear a lot of "Oh my God!"s and "Excuuuuuse me!"s from these people. All these antics serve no purpose at all, since everyone is in a similar condition and no one is going to budge. For their part, they are just ensuring that their inconvenience is heard, but it would be a lot better for everyone if they make peace with the predicament, just like everyone else has made peace with them.

Dauda dauda bhaaga bhaaga sa..!!

A single minute can make a difference when one is in a hurry to reach a destination during the rush hour. A minute is all it takes to ensure that you'll get a red light at every traffic signal. A long queue builds up at the station exit within a minute of a Metro arrival. And if you are at the wrong end of the queue, you might miss your bus, which is why people go in a frenzy to reach the exit first. The queue for men to enter the platform premises sometimes starts at the foot-over bridge itself. But to my relief, in such a situation, the one for women is considerably shorter. This survival instinct of feeling grateful for a shorter line is quite contrary to my prudence when it comes to gender equality. The shorter line represents not just the skewed gender ratio but also the smaller number of working women. I guess that if we are given a legitimate head-start in any race, we won't think twice about the merits of a merit-based system. And it is this natural tendency that makes it all the more crucial that appropriate checks be implemented in any policy that aims to eliminate differences at the start of a race, so that only the needy can take advantage of it.

Jitna khaya meetha tha, jo haath na aya khatta hai..! :D

On most days, I don't manage to get a seat in the Metro, and travel standing and looking out of the glass windows. One such evening, while I was sulking about the drawbacks of travelling in public transport, a beautiful scene caught my eye. The Metro was on a bridge across a road, which looked like a black sheet with sparkling rubies kept on it. Except that the sparkling rubies were actually the red lights of cars stuck in traffic, hardly moving. It was then that I realized that a thing that had brought joy to me was a state of misery and frustration for the people sitting in those cars. And suddenly, my not getting a seat wasn't really a problem. The saying, "Those who wear the shoe know where it pinches", holds true after all.

The last few days were exciting but they were just the first few days of a long, long time. The Metro might lose its charm in a few weeks but there is no denying its importance in the life of a Delhiite. And while the journey may become a burden some day, it will have enough adventures and life-lessons to compensate for it. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Top 10 Songs of 2013

A new year is upon us, and my resolution this year, like every other new year, is to start and maintain a blog. This desire to blog stems from the fact that I like to write and I think too much, and while the repercussions of this tendency have not been pretty so far, here's hoping I'll make something worthwhile out of it.

The end of an year calls for lists, and I believe that the most important list for any year is the one about the Top 10 Songs of the year. Back in school, when I was a kid not yet exposed to the amazing world of JEE and engineering, I dreamed about hosting my own year-end special on radio. Though that dream may go unfulfilled, this blog provides a beautiful opportunity to share "My Top 10 Songs of 2013". Also, it makes for a good "New Year" post. So, presenting before you, the ten songs that I could put on loop and not get bored, a glimpse of the gems that stood out in the year of "Saree ka fall" , "Tamanche pe disco", et al.

10. Gulabi  (Shuddh Desi Romance)

Music   : Sachin-Jiger
Lyrics  : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Singers: Jigar Saraiya and Priya Saraiya

What I like: All the pink! The song and its picturization have a kind of freshness that I found missing in most songs of 2013. I absolutely love the way it has been shot, capturing Rajasthan in all its glory. The entire team was successful in bringing the rosiness and mushiness that people normally associate with the beginning of a romance, just what the song intends to portray.

Others from the album: The remaining songs in the album had a lot of spunk (or was it just Parineeti Chopra doing her act?). I kind of liked Tere Mere Beech Mein, but a large part of it was because I liked to say "gaflat" with g from the epiglottis.

9. Zinda (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)

Music   : Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy
Lyrics  : Prasoon Joshi
Singers: Siddharth Mahadevan

What I like: The strings at the beginning of the song, the unusual lyrics, the powerful chorus, and how beautifully Siddharth Mahadevan has sung the stanzas. It is the perfect "Pick-yourself-up-and-do-some-work" song. Siddharth Mahadevan definitely is a singer to watch out for.

Others from the album: The album had a good mix of songs from different genres. My favorites are Mera Yaar for its sweetness, Ghulmil Launda for its jolliness and more importantly, Hawan Kund Maston ka Jhund, for the sheer fun it induces.

8. Rumani (Akaash Vani)

Music   : Hitesh Sonik
Lyrics  : Luv Ranjan

Singers: Thomson Andrews and Shalmali Kholgade

What I like: The spirit and enthusiasm of the song, definitely not apparent from the video, which turned out to be a huge disappointment. I love the lyrics, and the freedom and attitude they promote. If the phrase "Be Yourself" needed an anthem, I would have suggested this one.

Others from the album: I had half a mind to replace it with Pad Gaye Ji, because it has brilliant and naughty lyrics and has been sung superbly by Sunidhi Chauhan and KK (I love almost all his songs, for the record). Bas Main Aur Tu is also a very sweet romantic song. Akaash Vani is surely a surprisingly good album.

7. Khoon Choos Le (Go Goa Gone)

Music   : Sachin-Jiger
Lyrics  : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Singers: Arjun Kanungo, Suraj Jagan, Priya Panchal

What I like: The lyrics, the power-packed chorus, the hatred spewed by the song, Vir Das, and the subtle yet deliberate sexual innuendo made in the song. Frankly, I never thought that someone will ever write a song about how nasty Mondays are, and hit bull's eye about the emotions.

Others from the album: Slowly Slowly is undeniably a popular and fun song, mostly because of "Aisa na kar na kar...mere yaar". But the surprise element of the album is Khushaamdeed, sung superbly by Shreya Ghoshal and shot in the beautiful falls of Netravali in Goa.

6. Raanjhanaa hua main tera (Raanjhanaa)

Music   : A.R. Rehman
Lyrics  : Irshad Kamil
Singers: Jaswinder Singh and Shiraz Uppal

What I like: Its simplicity and how it is a typical A.R. Rehman song. As was required by the story, this song is a pure celebration of a lover's homecoming. Of course, Dhanush's screen presence makes it more endearing. So dothe dholak beats.

Others from the album:  As was expected from an A.R. Rehman album, Raanjhanaa had a brilliant song for every mood of the movie. The immensely popular Tum Tak has a delightful classical touch, Nazar Laaye Na's sweetness was only enhanced by the on-screen chemistry of Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor, and Piya Milenge was one of the better Sufi offerings this year (Murshid Khele Holi from D-Day being another one). But the song that caught my fancy, apart from the title track, was the rebellious Tu Mun Shuddhi. Clearly. A.R. Rehman can bring out the best in Rabbi Shergill.

5. Shubhaarambh (Kai Po Che)

Music   : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics  : Swanand Kirkire

Singers: Shruti Pathak and Divya Kumar

What I like: I know that "Nagada Sang Dhol" is everybody's favorite Garba this year, but in my opinion, it can't hold a candle to this one. The way the beat gains pace, as Garbas usually do, how smartly Gujarati phrases have been included, and in general the Feel-Good factor makes it my favorite song for Dandiya since Dholi Taro.

Others from the album: The whole album bursts with positive energy. Both Manja and Meethi Boliyaan are your characteristic Amit Trivedi compositions.

4. Yaaram (Ek thi Daayan)

Music   : Vishal Bhardwaj

Lyrics  : Gulzar
Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan and Clinton Cerejo

What I like: Sunidhi Chauhan's soulful rendition, the gradual increase in the pace of the song, and the magic of Gulzar Saab's words. I seriously doubt that anybody else can relate the passion and devotion of a lover to the mundane things of daily life.

Others from the album: The hauntingly sung Kaali Kaali also makes for a very sensuous number. Tote Ud Gaye is a refreshing wedding song, different from the usual ones. It's a shame that it didn't get more popular. If you listen to the lyrics closely, you'll find more than one muhavara (saying) associated with parrots. That is the unparalleled genius of Gulzar Saab.

3. Mann Mera (Table No. 21)

Music   : Gajendra Verma

Lyrics  : Aseem Ahmed Abbasi
Singers: Gajendra Verma

What I like: This song was introduced at the beginning of 2013, and I liked it instantly, probably because it was a long time since I heard a new ballad. This song has been composed and sung by Gajendra Verma, the same guy who had actually composed Emptiness. There is another non-movie version of this song available on the internet, but I think that the music arrangement for the movie version is much better. Gajendra Verma, who has also sung a song in the upcoming movie Yaariyan, gives one reason to believe that there will be talent for ballads even after KK.

Others from the album: The album basically has another song and multiple remixes of Mann Mera. The other song O Sajna is nice to hear but not extraordinary.

2. Meri Aashiqui Ab Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2)

Music   : Mithoon

Lyrics  : Mithoon and Irshad Kamil
Singers: Palak Muchhal and Arijit Singh

What I like: The important question is why I choose this version over the insanely celebrated solo Tum Hi Ho by Arijit Singh. The reason is that once you get past the slow prelude, it is not as morose and self deprecating as Tum Hi Ho. The song leaves you feeling happy and you still get to listen to the passionate chorus by Arijit Singh. Palak Muchhal, who was last heard in Lapata from Ek Tha Tiger, has done an impressive job complementing Arijit Singh's baritone.

Others from the album: Sunn Raha Hai Na Tu has two versions, one sung by Ankit Tiwari and one by Shreya Ghoshal. Both are moving, but as with Tum Hi Ho, the female version has a positive vibe. With Piya Aaye Na, KK again proves the range of his voice. Chahun Main Ya Na is the only other song that I find worth recommending.

1. Balam Pichkari (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)

Music   : Pritam

Lyrics  : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Singers: Shalmali Kholgade and Vishal Dadlani

What I like: It is a holi song that doesn't talk about choli but still allows for flirting. The beats and tune are catchy, you are instantly drawn to the dance floor and you can never be bored. Unlike other songs from the album, you have no trouble memorizing the lyrics and singing along. The enthusiasm of Vishal Dadlani, the simple choreography of Remo D'Souza and the impeccable chemistry of Deepika and Ranbir make it an absolute treat to watch.

Others from the album: Almost all songs from the album were loved by everyone. Badtameez Dil, Ghaghra and Dilliwali Girlfriend rocked the charts and the dance floors alike. Kabira and Ilahi  provided a much needed balance in this album full of dance-numbers. But what this album did was much more than elate people with good music. It proved that you can have hit music without unnecessary skin show, pelvic thrusts, seductive choreography and vulgar lyrics. Quality doesn't need tantalization, and hopefully, 2014 will have more albums that demonstrate the same spirit.