Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review: Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

This book was given to me as part of the #TSBCChallenge. What is that, you ask? Well, I direct you to go & read this:

The book's blurb reads: "In this wonderful blend of adventure and travel writing, Michael Palin journeys from the forests of North Michigan to the battlefields in Italy and the sites of the Spanish Civil War. He encounters the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the Fallas festival in Valencia, as bar-hopping in Cuba, marlin fishing and daiquiris helps unravel some of the myths surrounding Hemingway's life."

The book is an attempt by the author to recreate the well-known writer Ernest Hemingway's life by travelling to all those places where he stayed and experiencing some specific events there. In Palin's words, "Hemingway's world was close and uncomfortable and itchy and sweaty and frequently exhausting...This stuff was too good to be wasted on school exams. I must be bold and fearless and go out there and do it myself."

Since #TSBC had dared me to read this book, I could not leave it unfinished :) However, I need not have worried. I love travelling and this book is a semi-travelogue. The book is a collaborative effort between Palin and the BBC. Basil Pao has captured the wonderful photographs that are so generously spread out throughout the book.

The author begins his journey in Chicago & Michigan and then travels to Italy, Paris, Spain, Key West, Africa, Cuba and lastly the American West. At each of these places, Palin attempts to give us a sense of what Hemingway would have experienced/gone through. In his inimitable style, he also gives his probable reasoning for the events and Hemingway's reaction on the same.

The book not only captures the unique sights & sounds of each place but also puts a lot of Hemingway's life into perspective for us. Says Palin, "What terrified him [Hemingway] most was not losing his life but losing his mind; losing the ability to write."

In Spain, he gets a chance to witness the bulls running. According to the author, "There is something intoxicating and dangerous and reckless in the way the Spanish celebrate, which is what must have drawn Hemingway to their way of life." In Africa, Palin feels, "Mortality, of one kind or another, always feels close at hand."

I loved Palin's explanation for why he felt Hemingway travelled so much - "I reflect that what motivated Hemingway to travel, apart from natural curiosity, was a mixture of boredom and boastfulness." Don't we all experience that sometimes? I know I do.

The most interesting part about the book is the way Palin meets and mingles with people who may have interacted with Hemingway or who can shed some more light on the writer. Also, the author keeps mentioning Hemingway's books at specific points in time in the book - it helps us see how or what influenced Hemingway to write about a particular incident or place.

The only negative for me was I felt, at times, Palin forgot he was undertaking the adventure for Hemingway, i.e. his personal interests took precedence. Thankfully, that was only in a few places.

In a nutshell, pick up the book if you like Hemingway. Even if you don't, you can still pick it up and travel the world - from the US to Africa to Europe - all from the comforts of your couch :) And since the book was written in 1999 [15 years back], it's interesting to read about things/perspectives at that point in time.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Book Review: The Best Of Ruskin Bond

The book’s blurb reads: “This volume brings together the best of Ruskin Bond’s prose and poetry. For over four decades, by way of innumerable novels, essays, short stories and poems, the author has mapped out and peopled a unique literary landscape. This anthology has selections from all of his major books and includes the classic novella ‘Delhi Is Not Far’.

What review can you write about somebody whose mere name evokes a sense of nostalgia about the hills? Whose writing transports us directly into the markets of Dehradun & Mussoorie?

This book is a collection of his writings categorized into Love and Friendship, Tales of the Macabre, From A Little Room, On The Road, Love Poems & extracts from his novels. It also includes Time Stops at Shamli & Delhi Is Not Far.

For me, personally, the best part about Bond’s writing is his focus – he is passionate in weaving stories around the hills. Pick up any story from the book and you can visualize the sun rising/setting in the mountains, the long winding roads, the smell of fresh air, the varied flora & fauna and the different types of people residing there.

Bond is a keen observer of people and he puts those observational skills to good use in his writing. In addition to the physicality of people that he so vividly describes, he also brings out their nature very well. And the way he brings to life these characters it is almost as if you are seeing a live movie.

Though the theme running through the book is common, each story is different from the other. He speaks about being a pedestrian and loving to walk, the difficulty of making new friends, spirituality at the Ganges, his love for books, the local tea-shop being the gossip spot, falling in love, etc.

And while almost all his sentences seem like poetry in motion, a few that stayed with me were: “Nostalgia is simply an attempt to try and preserve that which was good in the past. The past has served us: why not serve the past in this way?”; “And when all the wars are done, a butterfly will still be beautiful.”

I would strongly suggest reading this book to someone who wants to know what it is like to live in the hills – not as a tourist, but as a local. For someone like me who has lived pretty much her entire life in a big city, this book offered a nice contrast. For me, Ruskin Bond made the hills come alive and become more romantic. Through this book, I have tasted the local tea and snacks, had interesting conversations with strangers after the Sunday mass at the church, foraged through libraries in search of good books, taken train journeys from one small town to another and dreamt of living the big city life while sitting at a window that overlooks the valley. If a single book is able to do all that, would you not want to read it?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Book Review: English Bites! My Fullproof English Learning Formula by Manish Gupta

English Bites! is Manish Gupta’s debut book. The book’s blurb states: “Is the English language your biggest nightmare? It was Manish Gupta’s. Until he decided to cheat and beat the system. Today he is a smooth-talking banker and has written a unique English learning guide that is easy to read, super effective and hilarious. So, whether you’re a vernacular speaker, a GRE/GMAT/CAT/XAT/ aspirant or just a language nut, English Bites! will expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability. It may even help you love the English language a little more!”

What I liked the most about the book was the unique fashion in which it is written. The author has deftly woven his life story from an engineering college to his first job to his experience in an MBA college and finally life as a banker. In between are also interspersed tales about his personal life as well including his marriage.

As with most Indians, Manish considered the English language to be his enemy. Not surprising since English is not our mother tongue; only some have learnt it as a language at school. And unless you take efforts towards learning its vocabulary, it will continue to scare you.

However, unlike most, Manish decided to tackle the language head-on. The book is a funny account of how he managed to do that successfully. The writing style is simple and presented in the form of a story but with a lot of difficult English words thrown in whose meanings are given below each page. In addition to the meanings, the author has also provided the history and origin of the words and also their usage in a sentence. Also, the range of topics covered is huge – from medical terms to Spoonerims and from the different types of coffees to Levi Strauss jeans!!!

What, however, did not work for me was the fact that the book is a little daunting to read in one go considering there are minimum 2-3 words’ meanings to be understood in each page. Since I read the book non-stop day after day, I found myself getting distracted half-way through the book. However, it might be a good idea to keep referring back to the book on an ongoing basis to get a better grasp of the words and avoid the problem I faced.

What Manish has tried to do through the book is dispel the notion that the English vocabulary is difficult and unmanageable. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book especially as I am a huge fan of the Queen’s language and am always on the lookout for books which enlighten and educate me on the same.

* I was provided a review copy of the same by the author *

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Book Review: Beaten by Bhagath! A Tale of Two Writers


Beaten by Bhagath! A Tale of Two Writers is author S. V. Divvaakar's second book. Its blurb reads: "'I'm sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath!' When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin. Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book that's better than India's greatest writer Dr. Bhagath's blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all the twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challenger's journey, upping the stakes at every stage. Will BB catch up with his famous friend? What will their encounter be like? Written from inside the ring, 'Beaten by Bhagath' is a gripping tale...the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction."

The book is light and easy-to-read - the author takes us through the entire process a writer goes through right from the time he decides to write his book to how he goes about it (affecting his family in the meantime) to the painful search for various publishers (including the waiting time till eternity). It gives the reader an insider's view about the whole thing. The author has done quite a bit of research into the entire publishing industry - as a reader, we never think about what exactly goes on behind the scenes before a book is actually published.

And, it does not just stop with the book being published. One also needs to market it on a large scale for it to sell well. Usually, these days, a book launch is invariably done in the presence of a major celebrity. This book does have some hilarious scenes revolving around the same!

Divvaakar's writing style is simple and the narrative flows freely throughout the book. He has also managed to incorporate calculations pertaining to how an author makes money and how online websites are able to sell books so cheap (which was quite a revelation for me).

The negative for me was the several sexual innuendos scattered throughout the book; I felt these were not required. For instance, the author says, "Somehow, the thought of a celebrity unveiling the book reminded me of the old Nath Utarni tradition at the famous kothas of the Nawabs. The Nath Utarni - the ceremony of the deflowering of the virgin prostitute - was always at the hands of an important man, usually someone from the nobility."

To sum up, go read the book if you are keen on how the publishing and book-writing industry works. The book talks about Ketan Bhagath - unless you have been living under a rock, you will figure out whom it is hinted at :) I don't know if the author knows but there is actually a Ketan Bhagat in existence -

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review: The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel

This is one of the most fascinating and incredible books I have read in recent times. It is the biography of the famous Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The book’s blurb states: “The Man Who Knew Infinity is a fascinating biography of the brilliant, self-taught Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan. It is also a history of the astonishingly fruitful cross-cultural collaboration between this young, ill-educated mathematical genius and his mentor at Cambridge University, G. H. Hardy – a relationship that turned the world of mathematics upside down before it withered and died through a combination of Indian bureaucratic short-sightedness, superstition, English spiritual asceticism and the First World War. Robert Kanigel, author of The One Best Way, tells this extraordinary tale, assessing the legacy of a man whose work contains some of the most beautiful ideas in the history of science, and whose major papers are still being plumbed for their secrets today.”

When I picked up the book, I was a bit apprehensive about reading the biography of a mathematician – I wondered if I would be able to follow it. However, my apprehensions were laid to rest. Kanigel’s attempt at piecing together Ramanujan’s brilliant and short life (he died at the young age of 32) is an outstanding oeuvre. Right from his childhood in the small town of Kumbanokam to his dedicated single-minded focus on learning mathematics to his journey to Cambridge and back, Kanigel paints before us a vivid picture of South India in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

The book is outstanding for a number of reasons. Most importantly, because it brings out the human element in each and every action or decision that Ramanujan took. You almost feel pity for the young Ramanujan who is unable to clear his exams because he would not study other subjects due to his interest in Mathematics. At the same time, you are also amazed at how he would sit in the courtyard of his home dedicatedly solving problems on his slate and erasing any errors with his elbows to avoid lifting his arms. But the best way in which the human aspect is brought about is by highlighting throughout the book how Ramanujan craved for appreciation and recognition at each stage; even though he knew he was brilliant and outshone everybody else, he still wanted others to say that.

Kanigel is also able to narrate to us life at Cambridge during those times, how the other mathematicians were in awe of Ramanujan for his genius and how Ramanujan, who never had an Indian degree to his name, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S.) and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

The other important part about this book is the way the relationship between Ramanujan and his mentor Godfred Harold Hardy has been elaborated. The importance of having a mentor at a critical juncture in life and how it leads someone to achieve his true potential has been beautifully brought out. It is as if this relation was meant to be – else why would only Hardy respond to Ramanujan’s letters when the latter had written to two other Cambridge mathematicians as well?

The only sad part which ran through the book is the fact that ultimately it took a foreigner to recognize the genius in an Indian; Ramanujan had to go to Cambridge because his brilliance was not rewarded in his own country. This, unfortunately, seems to be the situation today as well though it is changing albeit at a snail’s pace. Another sad thing was the relation Ramanujan shared with his wife, Janki (who was only nine years old when they got married). Since Ramanujan was so pre-occupied with his work and since Janki was still too young to be a wife, they never really had a traditional husband-wife relationship. Janki also did not accompany him to Cambridge. Neither was she interested in learning about his work and his research.

This book is a must-read for anybody who feels passionately about Indians achieving something in their chosen field. It is about a person who is not afraid to spend time and attention on his passion even though it does not bear fruit initially; who is not afraid to go from door to door trying to make an honest living so that he gets the freedom to do what he wants and ultimately who is not afraid to leave the comforts of his home and family to go pursue a better career abroad (at a time when not many people would do so).

Rating: 5/5

Festivals & Street Harassment

My September-2013 post for the Stop Street Harassment Blog is now up at:

It speaks about the harassment faced by women during various festivals celebrated in Mumbai.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Reminiscing about Jaipur

Call it the Shuddh Desi Romance Effect! Watching the film yesterday made me reminisce about my first and only visit (yet) to the Pink City - Jaipur. Some of what I captured there features below.

Any visit to Jaipur is incomplete without a visit to the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) built in 1798 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Climb its five stories and listen to the recorded explanations provided by Jaipur tourism in the form of an audio to better appreciate the structure. I personally loved the architecture and the intricate work on each of the windows :)

Next up - the Amer Fort built by Raja Man Singh I. Be prepared to trek up a long way to reach the top of the Fort. But believe me it will be worth it. Take along a guide, if you must, or at least a booklet detailing the various locations inside the fort.

Jal Mahal (Water Palace) situated in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake was, unfortunately, not accessible at the time I visited (April-2012). But one could appreciate its beauty from afar. [The beginning of the 'Gulabi' song in Shuddh Desi Romance has been shot along the promenade from which the palace can be viewed.]

And no visit to Jaipur can be complete without indulging in a bit of retail therapy - shopping for the traditional Bandhani clothes and the Lac bangles :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review: Red Turban White Horse by Nandini Bajpai

I picked up an Young Fiction book after a long time and I must admit I did enjoy reading it :) The book's blurb reads: "Can a teenager plan a Big Fat Indian Wedding - in America? It's been several years since mom died-and dad's raised Mini to know more about computers, calculus, and cars than desi weddings-but ever since Mini saw the jewelry mom left them she's wanted her sister to have the wedding mom would have planned. Dad's tech start-up means a shoe-string budget, but Mini has her old Mini Cooper, her new driver's license, her stellar sense of style, and two months of summer vacation to get it done. And she's not letting the persistent, mysterious, and smoking hot Vir distract her, either. Flower garlands, decorations, catering, clothes, even a white wedding horse-everything is in place. But a monster hurricane is headed for Boston and it could blow the whole band, baja, and baraat away..."

The book is written in a simple and easy-to-read fashion. It is the story of Mini and her elder sister Dr. Vinnie Kapoor who falls in love with Dr. Manish Iyer. Mini is entrusted with the task of planning her sister's wedding at Boston from start to finish within a short deadline. What made the book eminently readable was the author's unique way of presenting the story including putting in newspaper cuttings and e-mails which take the story forward.

As with any other Indian wedding, Mini faces the task of organizing and arranging the mandap, clothes, food, lighting, music, transportation and logistics, etc. What makes it interesting is the fact that it is an inter-caste wedding. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that a good-looking guy Vir is sending her "I am interested in you" signals.

The author's writing style is such that the reader can actually imagine the setting - be it the lake where Mini goes for her daily jog or the temple where the wedding is being held. Since the author is staying in Boston, she has mentioned a lot of local places which add to the charm.

On the flipside, the book could do with some better editing. And since the story is based out of Boston, some local references were not so clear to me.

On the whole, however, the book is a good, enjoyable read. I liked being a part of Mini's journey through all the ups and a few downs as she set out to make the most important day in her sister's life memorable.

I was provided a review copy of the book by the online magazine Helter Skelter.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: In the company of a poet – Gulzar in Conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir

I bought this book at The Times Literary Carnival 2012 where Gulzar was in conversation with the author about this book in particular and other general topics. He came across as a humble and easy-going person despite his stellar achievements. He was patiently signing autographs for all those who pushed forward their books at him. I, too, managed to obtain it.
The book’s blurb reads: “In this book of conversations, Gulzar speaks with insight, candour and gentle humour about his life and work: his school days in Old Delhi, where he wrote his early poems; working in a garage in Mumbai before entering films; his association with legends such as Bimal Roy, Balraj Sahni, Sahir Ludhianvi, Meena Kumari, Shailendra, S. D. Burman, Hemant Kumar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Lata Mangeshkar and R. D. Burman, among others; his love of tennis; and his deep connection with his wife, the legendary actor Rakhee, his daughter Meghna and his grandson Samay.”
The book is written in the form of conversations between Nasreen Munni Kabir (NMK) and Gulzar where the author also lets us know if, during their conversation, Gulzar has laughed or smiled at a particular sentence or if something has irritated him. I found this quite unique compared to the other biographies which are more of a monologue by the author.
The book, interviews for which were done mostly by Skype as NMK is based out of London, tells us, in Gulzar’s words, his birth at a place called Dina in current Pakistan, his coming to Delhi and subsequently Mumbai, how he used to read books by a lantern rented from a second-hand bookseller, his association with Bimal Roy as an assistant, his gradual movement to lyrics, screenplay writing and eventually direction. Since the book is in a conversational style, it does not follow any particular format or chronology. One can peruse just about any page of the book at will without having to read it from start to finish in one go. However, I managed to complete it within a day; such is its allure - I kept on turning the pages wishing to unearth some more gems :)
Though most of the information mentioned in the book is publicly available, what makes it interesting and eminently readable is the tidbits that Gulzar adds to it. For instance, we learn that Lata Mangeshkar found the line “Aap ki badmaashiyon ke ye naye andaaz hain” from the film Ghar most interesting. As a result, we can hear her laugh when she sings this line in the song. We also learn the origin of his daughter's name as Bosky and why he took on a pen-name Gulzar (his real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra).
Gulzar shared a wonderful relationship with Meena Kumari. She would make him sit by her side and ask him to read the scene to her while they were making Mere Apne. In fact, Gulzar started fasting during Ramzan for the full thirty days as Meena Kumari was very unwell and unable to fast. Gulzar told her he would fast on her behalf and they would share the blessings. Gulzar considered Bimal Roy as his mentor and learnt a great deal from him. It was because of him that he dared to venture into direction. He also fondly remembers his associations with RDB and Asha Bhosle, his tennis friends whom he meets every morning and his other online friends who maintain a website on his behalf.
Interspersed through the book are examples of his poetry such as: “Roz akeli aaye roz akeli jaaye, Chaand katora liye bhikhaaran raat, Roz akeli aaye roz akeli jaaye”, “Lagta hai kamzor sa peela chaand bhi shayad, Peepal ke sukhe patte sa, Lehraata lehraata mere lawn main aa kar utrega” and “Aankhon ko visa nahin lagta, Sapnon ki sarhad hoti nahin, Bandh aankhon se roz chala jaata hoon, Sarhad paar main milne Mehdi Hassan se”.
The book also brings forth the involvement Gulzar has as a lyricist in the making of a film including giving suggestions where he feels a song’s placement is not suitable. There’s also quite a bit of philosophy in the book which is quite natural considering it is Gulzar who is talking. For instance, he says, “Mood and temperament are different things. Temperament is a combination of personality and attitude, and moods are lived moments.”
Gulzar comes across as an extremely well-read person with an immense interest in literature and theatre which continues to be his first love. He often liberally quotes other authors and poets throughout the book including Rabindranath Tagore, Ahmad Faraz, Mirza Ghalib, etc.
Gulzar holds the record of having received the greatest number of Filmfare Awards for a combination of Screenplay, Dialogue, Direction and Lyrics. Talk about multi-tasking!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I learnt quite a lot about the lyricist with whom I have been fascinated for a long time. But more than the information, what stands out vividly is the humility of this great individual – his easy approachability, his gratefulness for the friends he has and his love for literature. He started writing lyrics in the early 1960s and continues to this day; it is to his credit that he has evolved and changed to suit the modern times and has made himself relevant even today. Though most of his fans, including yours truly, remember his earlier compositions with fond nostalgia (Read about my top five favourite songs here:
Reading the book now makes me want to listen to every song ever penned down by him, watch every movie for which he has written the screenplay and/or dialogues and also the movies which he has directed. It also makes me want to read all the poetry books he has written including his translations of other poets such as Tagore. So much to do, so little time! Sigh.
I leave you with this explanation of Gulzar of why he wakes up at five: "I wake up at five when it is still dark. I want the sun to look for me instead of my looking for the sun. Just as the first serve in tennis can be advantageous., so the first serve must be mine. The second goes to the sun."

Book Review: A Maverick Heart: Between love and life by Ravindra Shukla


The book’s blurb reads: “Resonance – We often use the term, “frequency matching” in our daily life to define compatibility. Our frequency does not match, we do not get along? We are not in sync? We are not on the same page etc.?
When people of similar frequencies (wavelengths or within the same range) come together – output is not a simple sum of individual work, but exponential. In science we term this phenomenon as resonance. Output at this stage is beyond any logical limit.
Three young kids, with different family backgrounds and outlook meet during their graduation days at IIT-Bombay campus and become close friends. Although, individually they are in sync, but the same is not true for their interaction with the world.
How will their relation withstand the conflict of family and society pressure?
How do their characters shape out, as they traverse from an educational environment through the corporate world to the realm of the socio-political world?
Inspired by the real events across the globe from the last decade, Ravindra Shukla brings you the characters based story – struggle and triumphs of a young generation and their relevance in the current socio-eco-political era.”
The book deals with the lives of Rahul, Richita and Neerav – three students at the prestigious IIT-Bombay who enter the engineering college with big dreams in their eyes and wanting to make something of their lives. During their academic sessions, Rahul and Richita get attracted to each other and fall in love. Neerav and Rahul become best buddies.
The author has described their interaction well, in addition to painting a realistic picture of the campus as well, including the famous lake where Rahul and Richita spend a lot of time discussing about their dreams and their future.
Do Rahul and Richita come together? Will they convince their respective families for this alliance considering they are barely qualified engineers? What importance does money play while deciding a career vis-a-vis wanting to contribute to society and make a change? Can both these meet at a common point? Does having a lot of degrees make you a better person? Can you truly forget your first love and move on with your life? How do you measure success – by your material possessions or by the impact your work has made on your surrounding environment? These are some of the questions Ravindra seeks to explore in this book.
His writing style is easy-going; the three main characters have been well-developed and you are interested in knowing more about their lives as the book progresses. Since the author himself is an engineering graduate, he has written quite in detail about the technical aspects.
The only negative for me was that I felt the book resembled the movie Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi a lot – it, too, talks about some of the points I mentioned above including the critical decision – to sell your soul for money or to enter the social sector without any financial concerns.
This book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to

Happy Birthday Gulzar Saab

As Gulzar Saab turns 79 on 18th August, I list down five of my favourite songs composed by him. The beauty of his writing is how evocatively he is able to present things across to us - be it love, separation, celebration or mourning. His astute observational skills and his command over Urdu have enabled him to pen down amazing masterpieces over the years.

Considering his body of work and the fact that he has been writing forever, it is a difficult task to select only five songs. Nonetheless, here goes:

1. Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi from Masoom released in 1983. It portrays the angst between the relationship of a son and a father beautifully - the son cannot understand why his father won't take him home and the father cannot understand how to make his son understand. For a long time, I didn't know the real meaning of the first line of this song. Recently, I read a book titled In the Company of a Poet - Gulzar in conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir where the meaning was elucidated. It was a revelation to know what it actually meant. But that, I guess, is the case with most of Gulzar's songs. They need to be deeply and thoroughly understood to be better appreciated; it's not enough if one listens to them in the background. And, as they say, adversity tells you who your real friends are - "zindagi tere gam ne hame rishte naye samjhaye".

2. Mera Kuchh Samaan from Ijaazat released in 1987. This movie was directed by Gulzar. In addition, he was also its screenplay writer and dialogues writer besides being the lyricist. Talk about donning multiple hats. This song sounds almost like a conversation between two lovers where one is asking the other to return all her memories as the relationship has ended. My favourite line in the song - "Ek sau solah chaand ki raatein; ek tumhare kaandhe ka til". What a beautiful way to show their intimacy!

3. Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli released in 2005. It is the wonderful capacity of Gulzar to adjust to the changing times that he was able to come up with this beautiful and foot-stomping number. And the poetry and the romance is not amiss, especially the ode to Delhi towards the end of the song.

4. Tere Bina Zindagi from Aandhi released in 1975. This is another movie where Gulzar in addition to being the lyricist was also the director, co-producer and screenplay writer. This song particularly strikes a chord because it says, "I don't have any complaints against life without you; without you life itself will not be life for me."

5. Aanewala Pal from Golmaal released in 1975. I have already written in detail in my previous Kishore Kumar post about why I love this song so much. The song tells you to "carpe diem" - "seize the day" in a no-nonsense and almost romantic way. When I have had a tough day at work, I retire to my room at night and listen to this song - "thodasa hasake, thodasa rulaake, pal yeh bhi jaanewala hain"