Monday, 30 July 2012

The Story of a Village

I recently visited my father's family at their village - Wathar, Maharashtra - after a year. I used to visit the village when I was younger and still in my early teens. I was then of an age that granted me all the liberties of ignoring whatever the hell elders did. Then last year in July, I decided not to be that little boy to my family anymore. Nearly seven years had passed since I had visited my family, and hence found it necessary to reconnect with them. That was when my journey to the village as a grown man began.

I set out to meet my loved ones again, this July. It was during this visit that I began noticing a change, a big one at that, occurring throughout the the network of villages, but more so in ours. The vast expanse of greens, which in the past captured my sight wherever I went, were now being compromised in favour of something that "ought to" indicate "progress": development.

I saw plenty of buildings - tall, short, wide, angled, indulgent, minimalistic and so on - scattered across enormous stretches of land. New businesses were flourishing, evident in the massive numbers of people flocking to stores in search of PCs, cell phones, tablets (yes, iPads too), LCD TVs and high-end music systems. It wasn't only the electronics market that attracted great numbers; there were plenty of electrical and automobile repair and maintenance shops, mobile recharge stores and sufficiently expansive stationary and gift stores. Even more astonishing was visiting the local shop to ask for Pasta and still be seen as perfectly human.

I asked around about the cause of such startling flourish and vigour, and almost unfailingly received the same response: the building of the flyover. It is said that the building of a flyover, which leads all the vehicles travelling along NH4 over the village, in effect leaving it undisturbed to a certain extent from all the earlier traffic and commotion, helped all future development in the village. It may have been that Wathar felt more independent, and that its unforeseen ability to cope with an entire flyover project from construction to finish may have given it the much needed confidence to keep going.

A section of the national highway, NH4, extending out from and through my village towards the nearest developed town, Kolhapur, was seen littered with industries. Some of the notable companies I glimpsed were BMW, Mahindra, Toyota, Porsche, Ford, and so on. One part of the stretch, locally known as the MIDC, which is actually a corporation established under the Maharashtra Industrial Act on August 1, 1962, boasted a whole range of full-fledged industries functioning in full fervour with assistance from the Maharashtra government. I witnessed an aerospace manufacturing lab and a process plant, and tens of other small and medium-scale factories, all employing sufficient manpower from nearby villages, enabling greater production and higher economic output through increased employment.

I stood surprised, both pleasantly and otherwise, as I witnessed all this development in action in a village that I knew in the past to be just a small place washed in divine beauty; where seemingly innumerable species of birds chirped and sang merrily and where every person knew everyone else; where when it rained, the skies seemed more generous, and where the rays of the sun fell only as though meaning to make the atmosphere pleasant; and personally for me, where I could wake up at dawn in a sweater and sit sipping a half-chai, watching all the trucks of different sizes and tourist buses pass by. The copious dwellings with their trademark thatched roofs seemed only to reduce the distance between people. Now, the homes were even closer, but it didn't indicate people living closely; rather, it symbolised building of more and more houses, mostly for purposes of monetization, by eliminating some more lush green.

I must admit, however, with great joy that the transformation has enormously benefitted the lives of the people of Wathar. Medical clinics are available within the village and can be reached in a few minutes; whereas, the advanced hospitals are not further than a couple of tens of kilometres. The medical stores are within walkable distances, and so are the financial institutions; for example, the cooperative society that enables financing opportunities. The marketplace has always been thriving, and the "mini" supermarkets have now taken on a life of their own. There are two schools in the village, each with its vibrant classrooms and playground, and the presence of many committed teachers who unconditionally support and nurture their students. I had the opportunity to visit one such school where my lovely sister is a student of class seven. I witnessed an amazing joy and celebration within the school precincts, and was immediately taken in by the experience. I knew at once that these were bright times.

I leave you with the words of M. K. Gandhi,
"I would say that if the village perishes India will perish too. India will be no more India. Her own mission in the world will get lost. The revival of the village is possible only when it is no more exploited. Industrialization on a mass scale will necessarily lead to passive or active exploitation of the villagers as the problems of competition and marketing come in. Therefore we have to concentrate on the village being self-contained, manufacturing mainly for use. Provided this character of the village industry is maintained, there would be no objection to villagers using even the modern machines and tools that they can make and can afford to use. Only they should not be used as a means of exploitation of others." 
Source of Gandhi's lines:


Monday, 5 March 2012

Ramachandra Guha's Makers of Modern India

As I read through the pages of Makers of Modern India, my ignorance strikes me hard on matters relating to Indian history, especially on the contributions of the great Indian writers who have, without a speck of doubt, changed the course of India towards the better. The first few pages of the book, as introduced by the erudite writer, Ramachandra Guha, enumerates, and discusses in short, the various writers he chose to bring forth to the reader, and the reasons for choosing those particular ones. The point that stands out for me, which Guha implicitly conveys, is that these were writers who wrote (or rewrote) the Indian condition as much as they wrote about it. Guha also goes on to say, that although India is a very unusual case in having had “so many politicians who were also original political thinkers,” it is not an entirely unique case, as demonstrated powerfully by the first generation of American nationalists - Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson and Franklin. There are some other names that must be mentioned, and I will have you hear to Guha’s own words. 

“This was also true of Jose Marti of Cuba, Leopold Senghor of Senegal and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who participated in movements to free their country from foreign rule while writing important works of propaganda and/or scholarship.”

Guha, in his introductory remarks, also claims India “to be the most interesting country in the world,” and calls it as “the impartial judgment of a historian, not the partisan claim of a citizen.” I have no wish to be accused of having such a remark be plucked out of context, for which reason I provide his elaboration on the given point.

“For one thing, India is very large and contains one-sixth of humankind. For another, its territory is astonishingly diverse, with its peoples differentiated by religion, language, caste and ethnicity, as well as by ecology, technology, dress and cuisine.”

I welcomed Guha’s remark, not because I partly shared it, but because I could now question it, and go over my entire train of thought. I do agree with him to a large extent, but I would be lying if I said India is the most interesting, simply because of my knowledge of various other regions in the world that have stunningly beautiful and breathtaking histories and cultures that flow down to produce the wonderfully complex, yet heart-warming and elegant societies. But even as I differ with him slightly, I most certainly agree with him on something that he draws attention to, which I wasn’t aware of, or at least not in the form that he gives it. He says,

“There were, and are, five revolutions simultaneously occurring in India: the urban revolution, the industrial revolution, the national revolution, the democratic revolution and the social revolution. The key word here is simultaneously.”

The makers of Modern India have lived through these revolutions writing about it, as they continually shaped and reshaped it. Their highly insightful yet laborious writings are with us, and form the backbone of the book.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Journey of 1876

Lying untouched on my bookshelf for nearly two years, Gore Vidal's glorious 1876 - one among a series of books comprising the Narratives of Empire - found itself glued to my palms drawing a nervous zeal. My endlessly insatiable lust for the written word had me starry-eyed with 1876 in my grasp. Closing the bookshelf door, I carried the book with me on to my bed. The immediate flip of the cover after a minute-long look at it gave me the inkling of an exciting journey that lay forth.

The return of Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler to the land in which he was brought up - New York - is captured in a manner invoking heartfelt emotions, warmly associated with the 'coming back home' of a near-and-dear one. 
"Grey clouds alternated with bands of bright blue sky; sharp wind from the northwest; sun directly in our eyes, which meant that we were facing due east from the North River, and so this was indeed the island of my birth and not Brooklyn to the south nor Jersey City at our back."
Ironically, a near-and-dear one is accompanying him during his return to the city. More than thirty-five years have swept in time since he last breathed the familiar air, and Schuyler along with his widowed daughter Emma, the Princesse d'Agrigente, are soon swarmed by a mass of journalists who are thrilled to greet Schuyler and The Princess! The Harper's Monthly, the Herald, the Atlantic Monthly, and others, exhale a slew of questions about the princess and, more importantly, Schuyler's position in support of Governor Samuel J. Tilden. 

Schuyler, at this juncture, details at length, and at every stage, the need for him to seek sources of money by capitalizing on his journalistic writing. He measures the dailies, the weeklies, the monthlies, all against each other in the hope to secure the highest bid. For he knows his duty of having Emma fed and housed in comfort, at least until she is married off, must be fulfilled. At this stage, a critical pursuit comes to light: Schuyler is banking on the election of the Tilden administration as a means to his future livelihood, for he hopes to seek a diplomatic position with the administration while returning to Europe.

In the meantime, Emma and Schuyler find themselves attending all kinds of social and political gatherings where they get acquainted with a number of interesting people. Emma, especially, takes a liking towards Denise Sanford, who, co-incidentally, also finds a warm place in Schuyler's heart. However, Denise's husband, William Sanford, turns out to be quite the pseudo-intellectual, boorish person who raises a strong dislike in the minds of the father-daughter duo. 

John Day Apgar's love for Emma and her apparently equal but conditional reciprocation forms an interesting part of the book. The rather dull and uninteresting lawyer, belonging to the wealthy descendants of Apgars, falls in love with Emma. However, Emma, although feigning reciprocation, calls off her love for him towards the end and, in haste, marries William Sanford after the sorely tragic demise of Denise during the process of childbirth.

Schuyler, along with his close cohort of journalists, cover the entire lead-up to the 1876 presidential election. The run-up to the election proves closely contested, but Tilden emerges victorious. The celebration that ensues is heartwarming. Schuyler's retirement plans seem highly secure with everything falling into place the way he had hoped with Emma's marriage, too, around-the-corner. However, in what seems like a dubious decision, the state of Florida, after initially reporting Tilden as victorious by the popular vote, declare the election in favor of the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in what may be called as one of the most cunning last-minute indulgences in debauchery and abjection.

Schuyler is left puzzled by the turn of events, which doesn't just include his professional future. He comes to know of Emma's marriage with William, and it shocks him. However, it turns out that he is not to be affected by anything more. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Threat To Our Freedom & A Case To Protect It


Twenty-four years have passed since The Satanic Verses realized itself in print and needless to say, in full glory in the hands of the public before it was, to incisively emphasize, snatched away from the public purview in many countries by slapping it with a ban. However the wounds, entirely self-inflicted I must say, lie fresh on the skins of the deeply religious. Sometimes  I wonder if any of the Muslim protesters have ever even read the novel, or considered its "blasphemous" parts for once with an open, inviting mind. The latter doesn't seem likely at all, for in order for it to happen, one needs to keep his or her faith aside. One who fails to do so, make no mistake, is harboring a large incoherence, knowingly or not, in his or her world view.

That a man, who can easily lay claim to being an architect of a whole new branch of literature, is being made a part of a political plot that aims to keep him outdoors - based on "hurt religious sentiments" - is a nightmarish scenario. That Rushdie must be stopped from gracing the Jaipur Literature Festival is not only ludicrous, but hate-laden and blasphemous, if you, gentle reader, can permit me the use of the word outstripped of any "godly" or "religious" connotations otherwise deeply drilled. That Rushdie should be declined a visa was a highly ignorant proffer in the first place, so smoothly discarded by Rushdie through his tweet, "Regarding my Indian visit, for the record, I don't need a visa." However, he decided against it for the fear of having to face death in the eye swiftly arose.

The cancellation of Rushdie's visit made possible by a mere minority group - political and religious - and the silent spectators dealing in obfuscation - the government - cannot go down well as India boasts of its secular-soaked nature and being the largest democracy in the world, a proud upholder of its constitutional rights. The one question that ought to have taken the center-stage, perhaps much more important than the question of freedom of speech and expression, very aptly pointed out by Soli Sorabjee, the prominent Indian jurist, can be asked thus: Could preventing Rushdie from setting foot on the Indian soil when he was not deemed a criminal by any court of law be constitutionally accurate? The book had seen its ban twenty-three years ago, but could that amount to the author being regarded a criminal? Rushdie was not a 'criminal', in which case he could not have been blocked from entering India.

The right of a citizen to freedom of speech and expression, yet again, is requiring to fend for itself with little or no support from the upholders of the constitution, the government of India, which is now clearly open to all forms of appeasement. In recent history, when the Bhagvad Gita was slated towards a ban in Russia as it was called upon as "extremist literature," there was a large hue and cry, and an almost explosive fit of rage firmly declaring, in indignation, the labeling of Gita as a result of gross misinterpretation. The Indian government had to interfere, and hold talks with the Russian counterpart, in order to explain to them the "hurt sentiments" of the Indians in both India and Russia. The same India has been intently pro-active in banning a large number of books, including the ban on The Satanic Verses in 1988, displaying a severe incoherence in its stand towards the freedoms of speech and expression.

The blemish has also been brushed on to the lively fine art forms that are painting and cartooning. The regrettable case of M. F. Husain being driven out of India by the shameful forces of the violent right-wing Hindutva groups will be forever etched in memory as a disgrace in gargantuan proportions. He was responsible for influencing a whole generation of artists and, not unlike Rushdie, dared to go beyond the ordinary to create works of art, which portrayed the gods and goddesses in a glittering new light. However, he had to face such traumatic experiences such as to watch his house under attack by Hindu groups, and to be slapped with the unfair and pity-invoking charge of "hurting sentiments" of people. That the Picasso of India was banished in such a third-rate manner is impudent and shameful.


In a sparkling mellifluous speech on the Freedom of Speech and Expression at the Hart House, University of Toronto, Canada in November 2006, Christopher Hitchens dared, in supreme confidence, to summarize the works of John Milton's Areopagitica, Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty "in one go," and here is what he said,
"It's not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard; it's the right of everyone in the audience to listen, and to hear, and every time you silence somebody, you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something. In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases, as is the right of the other to voice his or her view." 
He went on to add,
"Indeed as John Stuart Mill said if all in society were agreed on the truth and beauty and value of one proposition, all except one person, it would be most important - in fact, it would become even more important - that  one heretic be heard because we would still benefit from his perhaps outrageous or appalling view. In more modern times, this has been put best by... Rosa Luxemberg, who said that the freedom of speech is meaningless unless it means the freedom of the person who thinks differently"
Hitchens's arguments - in the form of the authors he quotes and explains - are now ostensibly more relevant than ever before. In the case of Rushdie or Husain, who dared to "think differently," they were banished and made to shut up, in effect, stealing our right to hear them out. The buck doesn't stop there. Not only are we blocked from, say, reading Rushdie's books or viewing Husain's paintings; we don't get to decide what we see or read or hear. Then may I ask you, as did Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who gets to decide? To whom do you grant the right to decide which speech is harmful? Alternatively, who is the harmful speaker? The law does suggest the need for a person to decide for you. Should you accept such a law?

Consider the Danish cartoon controversy. A Danish newspaper (and other European publications) displayed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in 2005 and early 2006. All hell broke loose after the cartoons were out, since it failed at distilling sufficient humor, one would think, to the Muslims across the Middle East and Africa, and much of Europe, who resorted to rioting, and burning of churches and embassies in the process of which 200 people lost their lives, and many were injured. Would you say that such a mass-violence was justified? The cry of "hurt sentiments" was utilized once again to cause grave damage to life and property. When Jytte Klausen decided to publish her book The Cartoons That Shook The World, the "Yale University Press decided to ask two dozen experts on Islam, terrorism and diplomacy, whether it should include the cartoons in a forthcoming book..., the answer Yale received was unanimous and vehement: do not print the cartoons," reported The New York Times. I can as much claim to be offended as the religious do when such an act as that of publishing cartoons is prohibited.

David Irving, a British historian, was arrested by the Austrian police in the southern state of Styria on November 11, 2005, under the arrest warrant issued in 1989. He was arrested in accordance with The Verbotsgesetz 1947 (Prohibition Act 1947) which, in its 1992 amendment, introduced the prohibition of 'denying or grossly minimizing the Holocaust or other Nazi war crimes,' which was the cause of Irving's arrest. Now referring back to Rosa Luxemburg's proverb, would it not be the case that Irving's right to speech, in the form of his holocaust denial, ought to have been protected? Instead, he served his sentence in a prison, only to be released in December 2006, and banned from ever returning to Austria.


Many more cases are crying to be opened up, but their services may not be required any more for my purposes right now, for I think, the point, if not already made, is mildly but surely crystallizing.

Where does one draw the line?
Who qualifies to decide when a speech becomes a 'hate-speech'?
What measure of one's speech leads to another's right to claim offense?

On making such an inquiry, I think there is none who qualifies for it. And that any form of speech and expression must be allowed for, and not gagged by certain politically-and otherwise-motivated groups.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Leading Babudom of Asia

Welcome to Babudom - the Kingdom of babus.

Have no doubts,
They rule the roost.
Show no bouts,
When they steal your fruits.

As if India hadn't had enough of the kings ruling their provinces in the past, the inept, inefficient, money-monger rulers - the babus - seemed to have claimed the top spot, if only from the bottom-up.

Indian bureaucrats have been given a rating of 9.21 on 10 for the "terrific powers" they seem to make use of so well, which deems them terribly efficient, if only in corruption. However, is this a thing to be surprised at? I think none of us are surprised. It was a well-known fact. But as always, the power of numbers - often the representation of accountability - seems to have created an embarrassment, and a big one at that! After all, India likes to think of itself better than at least Vietnam, or South Korea, or Taiwan, or Philippines, or Malaysia, or Thailand.

Nope, sorry, they have bureaucrats who are able to do more.

In my recent post - Political Commentary For 2011 - The Year Gone By - I mentioned the "plummeting confidence in investing in Indian markets," which, among many things, "led to the crash of the rupee." This lack of confidence is a product of the wide-spread scope for graft allowed by the licence-permit raj, and the brakes that stop us while heading towards holding civil servants accountable. The world sees it; certainly, the investors - foreign or national - see it clearly, and hesitate making any investments, and in some cases, keep away from it, the result of which was slapped down our faces in the past year, and continues to leave us red-faced.

Pursuing the underpinnings of such an embarrassing performance takes us for a walk through our slow judicial processes and "fickle" regulations. That trying a corrupt official under the law is such a long and difficult task makes it even worse for investors and businessmen.

For the citizen, too, it spells a nightmare. You wouldn't need to move very far in order to find out for yourself. Just walk to the nearest state government office - the Regional Transport Office (R. T. O.) - and you will be caught in a web of bribes and snail-paced slow-moving, unnecessary processes. My experience at the R. T. O.  is recorded here - read it here

Although caught in the act, the one thing we ignore, as Indians, is that there are plenty of honest bureaucrats who are presently battling through such stormy environments put in place by the "system." Much too often, we treat bureaucrats and the corrupt as synonymous, but in most cases, it is far from truth. It is important as citizens of India that we put things in perspective and don't gun down every bureaucrat who walks the streets. Lately, a motivation towards getting ourselves immediately out of the rut has been flowing bottom-up, and is now resonating even among the top officials, bureaucrats and politicians. In the process, a number of bureaucrats have been ordered to move their belongings, only some, to the four-walled cells, that we so warmly call jails. Other measures like the installation of a Lokpal Bill and the institution of Lokayuktas can only have us positively move towards weeding out corruption.

Good things are due in the next few years. For now, we will have to deal with the blemish.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

"Speak in English da"

How many times do you hear your friends ask - "hey, where are you going da?" Or have someone exclaim - "we will have so much fun da.."

When I hear it, I sometimes wonder - why do I do it? I certainly don't do it while I'm writing. In fact, it was with much difficulty that I placed "da" in the above sentences. Why do we do this here in India?

I actually googled the term "da" and didn't find much other than the usual suspects - Dearness Allowance and the unit of measurement, popularly known as 'deca'. That's how far Google was ready to go. Or, rather that's how far I was ready to go with Google - a few seconds of search.

My train of thought regarding the state of affairs in the English language in India started one night when I was reading Hitch - 22 where, in his memoir, Christopher Hitchens talks about his friend Martin Amis's love of the English language.

"Martin never let friendship take precedence over his first love, which was and is the English language. If one employed a lazy or a stale phrase, it would be rubbed in (there, I have done it again), no, it would be incisively emphasized, with a curl of that mighty lip and an ironic gesture."

This had me think about the level of importance we ascertain to the phrases we use in our conversation. Of course not everyone needs to be the genius Amis is, but do we take our speech for granted? We are usually very careful about the clothes we buy; certainly in shopping for gadgets. Also about our food, our home, our pens, and certainly our drinks! Then why is it that we choose to ignore our incorrect use of the English language. I'm a co-conspirator, too, mouthing off da whenever I find the need to connect with another person at the same level. I don't use da when it comes to conversing with people who don't use it. But then, that's a social trait. There is a need in all of us to connect, and in the process, we mutter things we don't want to and utter thing we don't wish to.

To continue further into the memoir,

"If one committed the offense in print - I remember once saying "no mean achievement" in an article - the rebuke might come in note form, or by one's being handed a copy of the article with a penciled underlining."

When I read this, I was struck with a sudden awareness of how we borrow phrases from every where else and use them, or almost molest them. Like Hitchens's use of "no mean achievement," we borrow a number of such phrases over and over again not being aware, even for a second, that we are stifling our creativity and squandering it. I think it is the age-old classic of die before think that gets a man to use stale phrases. Let me quote Bertrand Russell,

"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact they do so."

The all-pervasive aversion to thought is no secret after all. All you need to do is to climb down the ladder of history a bit, and you'll find the enlightenment thinker repeatedly being tortured, kept at a distance, and condemned in very many cases, in spite of his thought sowing the seed for the growth of the scientific, political, national and industrial revolutions. I have from a very young age adopted the method of the thinker and love to bring forth a spirit of inquiry into all things important to me. Socrates himself put it so powerfully with a wisp of inspiration,

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

It is in fact in Socrates's or Russell's spirit - of inquiry - that I write this post. Hitchens closes in on the paragraph saying,

 "He could take this vigilance to almost parodic lengths. The words "ruggedly handsome features" appear on the first page of Nineteen Eighty-four and for a while Martin declined to go any further into the book. ("The man can't write worth a damn.") He was later to admit that the novel did improve a trifle after that. Years later, when I gave him the manuscript of my book on Orwell, he brought it to our next rendezvous at a Manhattan bistro and wordlessly handed it back. He had gone through it page by page, painstakingly correcting my pepper-shaker punctuation."  

Such was the tenacity of Amis over the English language. Now, most of us, whether in India or else where, speak more in English than in any other language. It is only fair that we, to begin with, stop taking our words for granted, and further, learn to have a deep-rooted respect for the words we choose to use - be it in print or speech. For it is you who is the creator of those words, and it is your personality that is reflected in your speech.

To finish up and gather the argument in one place, I think our choice of words, in any language whatever, needs to have its place rightfully beside our choice in shopping, clothing, buying, reading, so on and so forth.

Happy Speaking!



Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dan In Real Life

To be honest with you, nothing Steve Carell ever does is boring. Also, nothing he ever does is fancy. It is his uncanny ability to act-out awkward circumstances artfully and to bring to life the very same "regular" routines of our every day that makes him a "must-watch."

This movie, if you can go the mile and trust me, is no different. It starts with Dan (Steve Carell) - a father of three daughters - who, after losing his wife a couple of years ago, has become morose and lives in a sullen home comprising of what we may call a dysfunctional family. In spite of the gloom environs, he manages to keep himself happy through his writing. He writes a regular column in a newspaper that is seen to bring about a positive change in the lives of many a readers that go teary-eyed over his stand on principles of honesty, authenticity, and the age-old maxim of family comes first. While he finds joy through his writing, it is increasingly hard for him to get into the lives of his fast-growing daughters.

On the day of every year that they visit Dan's family at their house in a small country-place, which I know not where, the father and his daughters set out in the car towards the country-home. On reaching, everyone is delighted to meet them, but unknowingly set into motion a cloud of concern over Dan's reluctance to move on with his life and do something for himself. After a day or so, Dan's mother "orders" her son to "get lost" intending for him to go to the serene environs nearby to get some fresh air. He obeys, and visits a bookstore - Book and Tackle Shop - by the windy shores of a brook. He then finds a beautiful and vivacious (the vivacious bit was at the least what I definitely thought) woman - Marie (Juliette Binoche) - glancing around the bookshelves to find books that match her rapidly altering, diving and flying emotions. Mistaking Dan to be a salesman, she takes his help, and he kindly, and expertly, obliges with a whole set of books. She immediately finds out that he isn't a salesman, and calls him smooth. He replies with that joyful wit of his - I'm definitely not smooth. I'm Dan.

The meeting at the bookstore leads to a long and interesting, albeit intimate, conversation. They fall into a place where they are bound to each other.

Let me not indulge into any more scene-setting, and let you go ahead and watch the movie if you like what you hear.

I think the movie is humorous. It captures, so brightly, the essence of family. It stands for a love that doesn't depend on judging another carefully in order to make the right decision. It stands for the love that people dismiss so easily by calling it "infatuation." It outlines the feelings of a single-dad, contrary to the popular scheme of things where we are used to seeing single-moms going through hard and turbulent times to raise their children, going through the difficulty of raising his 3 daughters. And it really melts the heart to see them all come together in happiness towards the end.        

A special mention - gorgeous soundtracks. You can listen to them over and over again.