50 Days

There was a Bollywood movie called 100 days, a 1991 film, starring Madhuri Dixit and Jackie Shroff – one of my favourite movies. The plot of the movie is something like this – A young girl, whose elder sister is reported missing, falls in love with the next door handsome rich neighbour, gets premonitions followed by panic attacks. The visions, which gets stronger after her marriage, are related somehow with her sister, and leads her to the wall of the isolated mansion owned by her husband, behind which she finds a buried skeleton that happens to be of her murdered sister, who was a history research student investigating and writing on stolen museum monuments sold in the black market. Well, in the end the criminals are caught—some self confessed, some arrested. Interesting plot, good music, overall a great movie.

Now, if we apply the same plot to the 50 Days of Demonetization in India, then well, no one was practically murdered, but the economy experienced sudden death of the most popular and favourite forms of Indian currency – the 500 and the 1000 rupee notes. And the black money that was stacked in the safe boxes or buried in the walls, ceilings, floors, was either extracted by the one, who placed it there or by the Income Tax Department. Some amount was burnt, some abandoned in dumping grounds, some were torn, some were submerged in the waters, some deposited in the donation boxes, but most was deposited in the banks, were it truly belongs.

Post 8 pm, Tuesday, 8th November 2016, life in India took a strange turn, halt in some cases.

Despite clear announcements, there was a panic attack among the masses, with queues that no bank has ever witnessed. But the banks of India did a remarkable job. Hats off to all the bank employees, who did not shy away from putting in extra hours and efforts, yet stayed level-headed despite the ignorance, the tantrums and the anger displayed by the agitated crowds. The cashier at every bank, not just stayed calm, but was cautious and vigilant of the amount and notes exchanged.

If demonetization was a ‘Project’ with a start and an end date, then Indian Finance Industry has accomplished the project quite successfully. Yes, there were hiccups, but those are expected in a country as big and diverse as India, with a population over 1.2 billion at literacy rate of about 74%.

Demonetization received appreciation and criticism equally. In my opinion, it was an excellent call by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. Our country was facing huge cash deficits due to various reasons, and now banks have funds. Indian economy has slowed down, but this short term risk will bring long term benefit to the nation—obvious to some, oblivious to some.

If demonetization is discussed as a ‘Change in Indian Economy’, then it was a big change and relatively successful due to cooperation by all those citizens who understood the benefit it will bring to the country and to its future. Retired citizens, senior citizens, specially abled citizens, the youth, the housewives, the corporate professionals, those aware, those who tried to get aware—all stood in the queues, Banks and ATMs, for hours, but did the needful and complied to the new rules announced almost every 15 days.

As of now, the news channels are still discussing the effects of demonetization on Indian Economy and the discussions will continue for a long time, into the New Year and post that, because this decision was a landmark decision. Digital India, Cashless India is an achievable vision. All that is required is a lot of awareness and a lot of patience with a willingness to change and to learn. And the past 50 Days have proved that the country can change if guided properly towards the goal.

We still have a long way to achieve the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission). This is just the beginning. Cleaning anything, anyplace, anywhere is always an annoying job, but if done wholeheartedly, the results are sparkling. We are in the process of polishing our economy; it will sparkle, it will be radiant, it is just a matter of time.

I am optimistic. I am hopeful. I can see that Incredibly Incredible India we all hope and aim for.

Wishing all the readers a great year ahead…

Happy New Year!

Jai Hind!

…Ashu Bolar


Time+Love+Death=Collateral Beauty —> Life

Time + Love + Death = Collateral Beauty —> Life

Yeah, the word ‘death’ in the above equation is scary. But in the movie, Collateral Beauty, death personified by Helen Mirren, well, does not look scary at all and looks pretty realistic. And Death does not necessarily mean someone is dying. It could be a habit dying, it could be death of an ever regretting past, it could be…moving on finally, yes along with time and love, which makes you realize and feel the Collateral Beauty.

Collateral Beauty is a beautiful movie, a different concept supported by an amazing cast.

A story of an Ad man – Howard (Will Smith) – as a successful advertising agency founder along with friends – Whit (Edward Norton), Simon (Michael Pena) and Claire (Kate Winslet) until a few years later, after death of his six year old kid, turns into a recluse indulged in domino art, now not being a part of the agency and at the same time refusing to merge the agency with Omnicom—a strategic move which can secure the agency and its employees. Whit-Simon-Claire are struggling to maintain big clients, while negotiating terms and time with Omnicom deal to finalize, which is impossible without Howard’s signatures.

So how to you do it – by hiring a spy to follow Howard and notice an abnormal behavior. Mental sanctity is essential to sign any legal document, and if one looses it, then one is not eligible to vote or finalize a deal. Whit-Simon-Claire plan to prove the latter so as to finalize the deal. And to their luck, the spy finds three of the Howard letters addressed to Time, Love and Death – the three elements he believed were essence of life and of any successful promotional activity.

Whit – divorced due to infidelity and now struggling to prove a good father to his daughter, who hates him – now stays with his mother suffering from Alzheimer’s comes up with an idea while having a chat with his mom in one of her relapse episodes.

The idea is to personify Time-Love-Death through actors and make each of them talk with Howard.

Time: A young energetic man (Jacob Latimore) guided by Claire, who herself is struggling with time and her ticking biological clock.

Love – A beautiful young woman (Keira Knightley) directed by Whit, whose daughter refuses to meet him at all, while he struggles to express his love for her.

Death – A gracefully ageing lady (Helen Mirren) led by Simon, who has a few more days left before he is consumed by malignancy, something which no one besides him knows, not even his wife.

Each of the character, in first round, meets with Howard. Howard listens but still no major change visible in his behavior. The next plan is to record Howard’s interaction with the seemingly invisible Time-Love-Death and demonstrate his abnormal behaviour to the board to make the deal happen.

In this duration Howard starts visiting the group where parents who have lost their children meet to grieve and to cope up with the loss—so does Madeleine (Naomie Harris) – later revealed as Mrs. Inlet—who tries her best to comfort yet support Howard in his grief.

Finally the board meeting day arrives with no visible change in Howard’s behavior. The video is shown, Howard is questioned, Whit-Simon-Claire take the responsibility of their acts, ask for forgiveness for their behavior; but Howards is not upset with them, he signs the papers and calls it the right choice, while tells each one of them that he knows what is going on in their lives and forgives them.

Whit-Simon-Claire all the while think they are guiding the three actors, while in reality Time-Love-Death – all three where guiding them to make the right choice in life, and help them notice the Collateral Beauty in their lives. How? For that you will have to watch the movie.

Movie is slow, but the concept is unique. Each one of us, some time in our lives, have lost someone, something. They say ‘Whatever happens, happens for good.’ And that ‘good’ is the ‘Collateral Beauty.’ We may have experienced it, but we either miss it or refuse to acknowledge it, and thus, many a times never get the so called closure and the past keeps haunting us and has a domino effect in life when the present becomes a curse, and the future, a blurred vision. In life everything is a lesson. Learn it and move on. Easier said than done. But Life moves on, never stops, and so should each one of us. Time-Love-Death, none ever to be taken for granted because together they make us what we are today.

My favourite dialogues (as far as I can remember, not an exact word to word narration)…

 “We’re here to connect. Love, time, death. Now these three things connect every single human being on earth. We long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.”

“…you are taking from them a chance to say good bye.”

“I’m time. I’m a gift, and you’re wasting it.”

“A child does not have to come from you, but go through you.”

“Love became me.”

“I’m love. I’m the fabric of life. Don’t try and live without me.”

“Love, I was there in her laugh, but I’m also here now in your pain.”

“Just be sure to notice the Collateral Beauty.”


Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/CollateralBeauty/

…Ashu Bolar