Book Review: Open – Andre Agassi’s Autobiography


The other day my young niece insisted that I should read ‘Open’ – Andre Agassi’s Autobiography. I was a little skeptical. I am mostly a fiction person and a sportsperson I am not. Besides gone are those days when I used to stay up nights to see Steffi break her opponent. Yet now I am so glad that I did read it after all. Though almost a decade too late, am so glad that my niece compelled me to open that book – glimpse onto Center Court into the World of Andre Agassi!

And what a World! From Becker to Federer, from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Roland Garros, what a ride! The book is less about stats and more about emotions. It is about aces alright but more about errors and faults. And yes about comebacks. This is a book that has enthralled both my niece and me – two different generations, two dissimilar outlooks. The flow, the style gripped me till Finish Line.

From his rigorous Childhood to his rebellious teens, from his madness on court to his Philanthropy, he has opened his heart, soul and his wounds to us. We get to read it all – his unorthodox appearances, drugs, affairs, family and pain. From the Grass courts to Clay – from Lively Las Vegas to Chic Paris we get to relive it all. From being a School drop to his Education Foundation, he is a Living Legend no less. Yet his battles are so real and his words humbling and reflective.

There are so many heart-warming and inspiring quotes. Some of my favorites –

“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature…..”

“There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired…”

“Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others….”

“You don’t have to be the best in the world every time you go out there. You just have to be better than one guy.”

“I tell the players: You’ll hear a lot of applause in your life, fellas, but none will mean more to you than that applause-from your peers. I hope each of you hears that at the end.”

Surely these words put life in perspective. The book – definitely a must read not only for Tennis fans but for others too. It’s inspirational with a punch of reality, a winner alright.


The Magic of Masoom

The stirring movie Masoom, based on Eric Segals novel is perhaps one of the most memorable movies, I have ever seen. It was released more than two decades agobut even today as I key-in the words, I ponder and smile. This is not a review. But a reflectiona recollection of some sweet moments
Yesterday I was listening to some Gulzaar-Pancham compilations and then I heard the words Lakadi ki kathi, Kathi pe ghoda. And I just closed the book in my hands and started singing with the song on top of my lungs. Hubby started at me amazed and amused. I didnt care. I just continued, remembering those days when my sister and I would sing the song or rather perform the song together

Come to think of it, the movie was released in 1983, fast-forward to 2015 but even today that movie evokes tender feelings! I have seen the movie as a kid, one of the few movies I have seen in theater with family during those days. I still remember, my mother and aunt had taken my cousins, my sister and me to watch the movieI believe at Rahul Theater, in Pune. Oh, how I had loved the movie! I fell in love with the little boy, Jugal Hansraj as I know now. How I had hated Shabana Azmi his stepmom,I even hated his father who was played by Naserruddin Shah in the movie. And yes, I loved the two little girls, especially the younger one, she was so cute. Incidentally, the elder sister was played by current cinestar Urmila Matondkar.

Oh those memories are all coming backI had cried throughout, I had laughed throughout!
And later as a grown-up when I watched the movie yet again on Television, I had cried yet again and laughed yet again. Masoom meaning innocence is no innocent tale. Its a tale about a happy family consisting of a mother, father and two little girls Mini and Pinky. Its a tale about a sad boy, Rahul, who is almost not accepted by the family. The boy is an orphanbut not quite. He has lost his mother but not his father. The father is the man belonging to the happy family. Rahul is the result of a one night-stand. Its a tale depicting the emotions of the woman who is not his real mom, of the little boyof the maneven the little girls

Its a poignant movie, a heart-rending movie.
And the songs are equally heart-rending. Songs like Tuzse Naraj Nahi Jindagi , Do Naina , Hujoor is kadar bhee naa itaraake chaliye
and the evergreen Lakadi ki Kathi are hummed by many even today
Some of the scenes from the movie are still etched in my memory. Rahul making a wish as he watches the Tuta Tara, the shooting star. Little Minis love for chintu(Rishi Kapoor) baba, Rahul making the wooden box for Shabhana for her birthday
It is no wonder that this movie was nominated for multiple Filmfare awards and won so many. The movie was also Shekhar Kapoors first directorial venture and he received India Film Critics Award for Best Film.
I could go and on and on but I pause and I listenand my heart melts as I hear Lata croon

Tuzse naraaj naheen jindagi
Hairaan hoo main
Tere masoom sawaalon se
pareshaan hoo main.
Jaane kab gam huaa, kahaa khoyaa
yek aansoo, chhupaa ke rakhaa thaa
tuz se naaraaj …

ps: I came across Shekhar Kapoors blog on the movie.

Random Reflection: There is something about Forrest Gump

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

This is not a review, but a musing, a random thought about the movie Forrest Gump. There is something about it, which just touches my soul, and fills me with a warm glow

Yesterday hubby was surfing the channels on TV, as always. But of course this agitated me, as always. You know the usual. Heard that men love to browse and women nest. Sure, after all Men are from Mars and Women from Venus, their viewpoints matching, never! And then on channel eleven, we heard the words, Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get”.And thump we descended onto earth, for once together, for once agreeing. And Ofcourse we ended up watching the movie, yet again.

What is it about Forrest Gump that makes you want to watch this movie again and again? What is it?
When the movie was first released, way back in 94, the plot of the movie, the life story of a mildly mentally challenged man didnt quite tempt me. Well, I am a mainstream kind of person, the movie sounded too artsy. But thanks to my best friends persuasive powers, I ended up going to the movie. Thank god for that! I fell in love with the movie from the first shot; right from the time I first heard the words Hello. My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate? Oh I fell in love
There is something about Forrest Gump that makes you fall in love with him and Jenny. There is something

Forrest with his mom
It is a magical movie, which both enthralls and motivates. Forrests simplicity is heart-warming and his rags to riches story truly inspiring. For some its a love story Forrest and Jennys story; for others its a peek into thirty tumultuous years of American history from Vietnam to Kennedy to Elvis; and for many its a truly motivational story about a simple and straightforward human being. Its a wonderful mix of allfor all. Its no wonder that the movie had so many Academy Award nominations, and won so many, six I believe.
There is definitely something about Forrest Gump, something that touches all
Philosophical words like Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you, Forrest. If God intended everybody to be the same, he’d have given us all braces on our legs and Mama said stupid is what stupid does make us ponder and smile for a minute. And words like “Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far. Far far away from here, from Jenny and Why don’t you love me, Jenny? I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is overwhelm.
There are so many meaningful quotes, so many small incidents and big ones too in Forrests lifeThere is definitely something about Forrest Gump that makes me want to watch the movie again and again. …it definitely is my all time favorite, is it your too?

F orrest and Jenny

And as I stroll along Times Square and as I pass the Bubba Shrimp company restaurant, the theme restaurant inspired by the movie, I cant help but reflect that there is something about Forrest Gump
And I hum
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.
Disclaimer: The pictures are downloaded from the net

Book Review : The Five people you meet in heaven

Last year, around the same time this year my brother-in-law bought a book off the racks at the library. The book was ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, a book I really enjoyed! And yesterday, I read another book by Mitch Albom ‘The Five people you meet in heaven’, which touched me immensely. It is definitely imaginative and entertaining yet so thoughtful.

Heaven is a place we’ve all heard about, a place we’ve all imagined and through his book the author takes us on a journey across heaven. Actually it is Eddie’ journey we share. Along the way we learn about Eddie’s life on earth, we celebrate his birthdays with him, rejoice with him and feel his pain. It’s a trip least expected; yet feels so right.

Eddie is a war veteran who finds his life most mundane. But he dies a hero’s death saving the life of a little girl from an accident on his eighty-third birthday. When he wakes up he’s almost back to being an eight year old and finds himself in heaven! As the author states, the story starts at the ending. But all endings are also beginnings we just don’t know it at that time.

Eddie commences his journey meeting the five people who have influenced and affected his life in ways he never knew. From the blue man to the little girl his voyage is insightful. And the words most powerful! There are gems scattered everywhere like:
“Strangers” … “are just family you have yet to come to know.”
“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire.”
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped.”
“We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

This is a book to be read in solitude; yet a book to be shared. It’s comparatively a small book the writing simple and sweet, less than 200 pages. I really enjoyed reading the book. Once I picked it, I couldn’t stop myself ; I read it cover to cover. It took me a couple of hours. When I finally closed the book I felt light-hearted and warm. It’s a book I’ve finished reading but the chapters I’ll revisit again and again.

Published in 2003 there was also a television movie by the same name based on the book broadcast by ABC the following year.

There’s just one thing I’d like to add….read it!