Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 idiots

was quite enjoyed.

To start with, its not really based on 5 point someone. It just picks some characters and settings from it, very loosely at that, and pretty much has a separate thrust, pitch and story. 2 college friends go looking for their third friend, and a lot of the story is in flash back of their college days.

Now that that part is out of the way, lets move on to the movie. Its definitely funny, and thats a large part of whats going for it. Even tho its loudly slapstick, in your face, it is nevertheless enjoyable. Various scenes are hilarious and brilliant in isolation. And for some I suppose, it will also evoke a sense of nostalgia for their college days. Not much for me tho.

However when we string it together, I wouldn't say its necessarily very even in pace, and specially the second half, has some very dragged out sequences. The baby scene comes to mind as a particularly lousy one,  and yes thats even after discounting the fact that sequences of women screaming and giving birth put me off very firmly. And actually keeping in mind the rather over the top tone of the movie, its no suprise that its got rather a fair share of over acting and preachiness. As another complaint, couldn't they really find 3 young guys to play the parts??

So yes, all in all, I'm not sure you can give it full marks on any cinematic parameters, however in terms of good old entertainment, its a must watch.

ps - I used to love Aamir Khan's chocolate looks as I was growing up. I also thought he was a halfway decent actor. But somewhere along the way, he stopped looking cute, and I couldn't find any brillant performances to hold on to. He was brilliant in patches, yes, but I can't think of a single movie, about which I could say, yes this was it. This one perhaps summarises it quite thoroughly, yes he looks cute ( not 18 yes, but still say cutely 30) and in parts he's good. However he overacts quite a bit, and I really think he's been over hyped as an actor. Wonder why I never could see that quite as clearly till now?? Hmmm, must've something to do with his looks.... !

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2012

Very very forgettable. The only way to get any kicks out of this one, is to watch on the hall , with a bunch of other people, all very determined to have fun, and to clap and maybe whistle as each larger than life scene comes along.

Nothing else would make it worth watching, certainly nothing in the movies itself.

The hungry tide - Amitav Ghosh

This one was beautiful. Lyrically and hauntingly written. In some ways it reminded me of hazaron khwahishen aisi. Not that there's any similarity in the story or themes, but somehow in the open endedness of its narration. Every time you think you can take a side, you realise there's another layer, and there are no simple answers.


An american , whose parents were from india, comes back to research dolphins in the river. And while at it, she learns a bit about the trecherous, tenous balances that consitute the sundarbans.

Whether its the people and the ecology, whether its political idealism and stark reality, whether its selfishness and altruism. The themes are evocatively woven together. And the simple truth, which is always so hard to take in - that my enemy's enemy is not necessarily my friend. Because nothing in life comes with easily drawn boundaries. And as I've said before - there are no easy answers.


A must read for sure.

Two States - Chetan Bhagat

I'd been rather disappointed with five point someone when I had read it many years ago, having got the feeling that the writing was rather juvenile.

So this one was picked up without much expectation. Primarily since a copy was lying around and I didn't have anything else to read. Keeping that in mind, I was rather pleasantly surprised. Yes its not high fiction, and yes its full of stereotypes, and yes it is rather juvenile, but it was time pass fun anyway. Sort of like a half way decent mainstream bollywood movie, so to speak!

Not bad to spend a couple of hours, and good for a few laughs.

Wally

I guess the law of averages ( or some law or principle somewhere) must result, inevitably, in the existence of a wally for every place.

http://tinyurl.com/yl5gqmh

And having let our workplace wally expand out of all sense of proportion, i guess it was inevitable to take that step back.

So perhaps its now time to bid adieu, and in the spirit of festive holiday season, wish the world well, including wally.

And have a happy new year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Work!

This work is very important for the business.

Yeah, and so is cleaning the loos in office, and thats what I'm gonna suggest you do next.

What?? You take offence?? Why Why Why ??

Monday, November 09, 2009

The little things

The weekend was spent with the heart warming little things - re-reading the James Herriot. Watching Chupke Chupke and Khoobsoorat. Listening to old hindi songs. Pottering around the house.  

I slowly realised I'd forgotten how much balm they can bring. The happy little things !

And the joy of unexpectedly hearing an old favourite, which brought back happy memories 
katra katra milti hai
katra katra jeene do
zindagi hai, behane do
pyasi hun main pyasi rehne do 

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Burn After Reading

A rather wierd movie, can't say I really liked it much.

Although, as a concept it would've been hilarious, had it really come out well. A poking fun at american stereotypes in a stereotypical way thing. But I think somewhere or the other, the movie lost its bearings, can't quite pin point where, leaving it at best an average one.

Probably worth a watch on tv sometime!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Remains of the day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Another interesting one from Ishiguro, although somehow I found this one a little slower in the beginning.

Written in the first person account of an ageing butler, as he reflects on his life at one of aristocratic political houses during the interlude between the two world wars.

As you make your choices for dignity and duty and doing the right thing, what really is the price you pay for those? What are the remains of your day?

Another parallel thread running was about the so called elitist notions of decision making. That one was interestingly put too.

Overall a nice read.

Monday, November 02, 2009

कारवां गुज़र गया - नीरज

The poem that has haunted me for the past few days. Don't know if its the memory of one of those priceless kavi sammelan's I'd attended with papa so long ago, where the incomparable Neeraj  had recited this. Or perhaps the sudden aptness of the words as I find myself trying to catch hold of the fast slipping life. Or is it the lyricism and cadence of the words, almost a sing song lullaby lament. And then again maybe , its just the immense anger and sadness for the way things have turned out , too old now to wish on eye lashes.


स्वप्न झरे फूल से ,
मीत चुभे शूल से ,

लुट गये सिंगार सभी बाग़ के बबूल से ,

और हम खड़ेखड़े बहार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे !
नींद भी खुली न थी कि हाय धूप ढल गई ,

पाँव जब तलक उठे कि ज़िन्दगी फिसल गई ,

पातपात झर गये कि शाख़शाख़ जल गई ,

चाह तो निकल सकी न , पर उमर निकल गई ,

गीत अश्क बन गए ,

छंद हो दफन गए ,

साथ के सभी दिऐ धुआँधुआँ पहन गये ,

और हम झुकेझुके ,

मोड़ पर रुकेरुके

उम्र के चढ़ाव का उतार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे।
क्या शबाब था कि फूलफूल प्यार कर उठा ,

क्या कमाल था कि देख आइना सिहर उठा,

इस तरफ़ ज़मीन और आस्मां उधर उठा,

थाम कर जिगर उठा कि जो मिला नज़र उठा ,

एक दिन मगर यहाँ ,

ऐसी कुछ हवा चली ,

लुट गयी कलीकली कि घुट गयी गलीगली ,

और हम लुटेलुटे ,

वक्त से पिटेपिटे ,

साँस की शराब का खुमार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे।
हाथ थे मिले कि जुल्फ चाँद की सँवार दूँ ,

होठ थे खुले कि हर बहार को पुकार दूँ ,

दर्द था दिया गया कि हर दुखी को प्यार दूँ ,

और साँस यूँ कि स्वर्ग भूमी पर उतार दूँ ,

हो सका न कुछ मगर ,

शाम बन गई सहर ,

वो उठी लहर कि ढह गये किले बिखरबिखर ,

और हम डरेडरे ,

नीर नैन में भरे ,

ओढ़कर कफ़न पड़े, मज़ार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे !
माँग भर चली कि एक , जब नई नई किरन ,

ढोलकें धुमुक उठीं , ठुमक उठे चरनचरन ,

शोर मच गया कि लो चली दुल्हन , चली दुल्हन ,

गाँव सब उमड़ पड़ा , बहक उठे नयननयन ,

पर तभी ज़हर भरी ,

गाज एक वो गिरी ,

पुँछ गया सिंदूर तारतार हुई चूनरी ,

और हम अजानसे ,

दूर के मकान से ,

पालकी लिये हुए कहार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे।
स्वप्न झरे फूल से ,

मीत चुभे शूल से ,

लुट गये सिंगार सभी बाग़ के बबूल से ,

और हम खड़ेखड़े बहार देखते रहे।

कारवाँ गुज़र गया , गुबार देखते रहे !
- गोपालदास नीरज
English Script:
Swapna-jhare phool se,

Meet-chubhe shool se,

Lut gaye singaar sabhi baag ke babool se,

Aur hum khade-khade bahaar dekhte rahe,

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe.
Neend bhi khuli na thi ki hai dhoop dhal gayi,

Paon jab talak uthe ki zindagi fisal gayi,

Paat-paat jhar gaye ki shaakh-shaakh jal gayi,

Chah to nikal saki na par umar nikal gayi. par umar nikal gayi

Geet ashk ban gaye,

swapna ho dafan gaye,

Saath ke sabhi diye dhuan-dhuan pehen gaye,

Aur hum jhuke-jhuke,

Mod par ruke-ruke,

Umar ke chadhaav ka utaar dekhte rahe,

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe!
Kya shabaab tha ki phool-phool pyar kar utha,

Kya kamaal tha ki dekh aina sihar utha,

Is taraf zameen aur asmaan udhar utha,

Thaam kar jigar utha ki jo mila nazar utha,

Ek din magar Yahan,

Aisee kuchh hawa chali,

Lut gayi kali-kali ki ghut gayi gali-gali,

Aur hum lute-lute,

Waqt se pite-pite,

saans ki sharaab ka khumaar dekhte rahe,

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe!
Haath the mile ki zulf chaand ki sanwaar doon,

Honth the khule ki har bahaar ko pukaar doon,

Dard tha diya gaya ki har dukhi ko pyar doon,

Aur saans yoon ki swarg bhoomi par utaar doon,

Ho saka na kuchh magar,

Shaam ban gayi seher,

Woh uthi lehar ki dheh gaye kile bikhar-bikhar,

Aur ham dare-dare,

Neer nayan mein bhare,

Odh-kar kafan pade mazaar dekhte rahe,

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe!
Maang bhar chali ki ek jab nayi-nayi kiran,

Dholke dhunuk uthi, thumuk uthe charan-charan,

Shor mach gaya ki lo chali dulhan, chali dulhan,

Gaaon sab umad pada, behek uthe nayan-nayan,

Par tabhi zehar bhari,

Gaaz ek woh giri,

Punchh gaya sindoor, taar-taar hui choonri,

Aur ham ajaan se,

Door ke makaan se,

Palki liye hue kahar dekhte rahe!

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe!!

Swapna-jhare phool se,

Meet-chubhe shool se,

Lut gaye singaar sabhi baag ke babool se,

Aur hum khade-khade bahaar dekhte rahe,

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe

Karvan guzar gaya, Gubar dekhte rahe
Gopaldas Neeraj

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Flowers @Rangashankara

Caught this play written by Girish Karnad at Rangashankara today, and quite liked it. Unlike the last play, which was more of a conventional comedy, this one is complex, and harder to comment on. 


Its a monologue by a priest. ( A good performance from Rajit Kapoor there ). As he tries to come to terms with his love for his god, his feelings for his wife, and his losing fight against the lust for a courtesan. Questions arise about the boundaries and parameters which govern our emotions/longings and places where they blend in. Questions about the norms, sometimes unsaid,  which have come to govern us as a society, and how superfluous and contradictory they can appear. 


The ending was a bit of a disappointment, although keeping the the complexity of the questions under debate, its not an easy job to script an ending I suppose. However, I would have preferred a less allegorical finale.


The lighting, and set design, looked perfect to me. Of course, I've seen maybe a handful of plays in my life, so don't have too much idea of how things are done normally. But the bare stage, with a sprinkling of flowers, the water laden vessel, and the flower covered shivling seemed apt. The mid air half lingam again, perched on which Rajit recites his story, was unusual, but effective. The subtle sounds of the night in the backdrop also helped to set the mood. Another concept new to me, was the fact that theatre can tingle another of our senses - smell. So the smell of camphor, again sets the tone of a perceived and associated "religiosity" so to speak. 


Overall a good experience, although I'd be curious to see what a different director/actor would make of the play. Here the journey is sombre, subdued, and the calm is sought to be broken by the content of his tale, it could even be enacted / set in a reverse order, or perhaps at a neutral venue. Lets see if anyone ever attempts it. 






Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

A time pass read. Begins rather promisingly, but then sort of meanders into nothingness.

A young princeton educated pakistani comes to terms with his high profile fin work in the us, in the times of the attack on the wtc and the indian parliament.

On the plus side, its not given to high drama, which I'd sort of feared. It does go about exploring the contradictions inherent in the human nature. The reluctance fighting against the fundamentalism, or is it the other way around?

Its even more visible, since in my reading, from an Indian perspective, I can see the contradictions in the complaints against the contradictions of the US. Wheels within wheels so to speak. Oh what a convoluted web we weave when first we practice to deceive !

But overall, falls short of anything extraordinary, and remains at the somewhat ordinary.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nancy Drews!

A 3 in 1 volume was just completed, and I've been fully transported back to gud ol days!

Every chapter ends with a loud noise, someone vanishing, something appearing etc etc, and you can polish one whole story off in 2-3 hours at max.

Neatly dropped clues, constant good-clean-wholesome action ( no murders etc!) What fun.

I think I need to read a few Enid Blytons now, and then perhaps the Noddy books. Second childhood here I come!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All's Well @ Rangashankara

So after many years ( !) of procrastination, courage was finally taken into hands and I ventured off to locate rangashankara and catch a play there. After some map searching, much walking, changing of buses, some wrong directions from autowallah ( which I ignored - smart me!) I got there just in time, the bell went off, exactly as I entered the audi!

The play wasn't bad - a comedy about an elderly couple living in a village, with their children living away in various cities. Plans are made for celebrating deepawali together, and things don't quite go off as plotted!

Interestingly, the elusive "comic timing" as its called, is a lot more noticeable in such plays than in movies. What makes a joke click sometimes and sometimes not? Hard to answer that one!

Lets hope more plays are caught, now that I know the route.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Permissions.

When does a woman stop having to ask for permission? When she's 16? 23? 30? 45? or is it never?

Permission to watch a movie, to go out, to stay late, to do wear this, to eat that, to drink, to breath, heck even to live?

Why are there so many frigging double standards. As a girl you can't do x, y and z. Oh and I'd certainly advise not doing a to w too. How about him? Oh he's a guy, for him its ok.

When I was in college I had some illusions, that perhaps once we start our own jobs , we'll become independent and all this nonsense will stop. Within a few months of starting work, as I saw an outing plan collapse under the onslaught of the "permissions" I lost some of the hope.

But now I realise it never does end. The night curfews, the flexible sets of morality, ( ever heard of a man of loose character? ) The non- stop nonsense.

And yes, its a choice between fighting it and living in a state of constant seige, or giving in and folding up your wings.

Well I wasn't brought up with "permissions". And if push came to shove, I'd choose to live in the seige, or choose open warfare. World out there, be prepared for that.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Waiting.

How much of human life is lost in waiting?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

3 thoughts for the day.

A leader is best when people barely know that he exists; not so good when people obey and acclaim him; worst when they despise him. - Lao-tzu

It takes some pondering and some experience to understand that one. And it certainly doesn't mean that cutting yourself off from the people, you automatically become the best. Just the opposite in fact. I guess we've all come across the 3rd category, ( I was one myself for a short while!) Occasionally one comes across the second one, leaders you admire/like. The ideal is of course hard to reach, and rarely does one meet that evolved soul, and by their very definition, they would be the people who would fade into the background, taking your problems with them!


And after that old style philosophy, here's some more "modarn" stuff:

In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence.
Corollary:
In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties. Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence."

And finally a post from good ol Joel -

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Was thoroughly enjoyed. It didn't have quite the amount of gore I'd feared, and it had a great deal more of humour than I'd have expected.

And the guy who plays the nazi fellow is brilliant , just absolutely brilliant!

Go enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wake up sid

I tried hard to tell myself that it was ok, maybe actually nice. Perhaps influenced by people around me.

But sleeping over it has convinced me - I did not like it. Silly silly movie, not one original idea. A handful of funny moments, and yes a few half hearted attempts at bringing in "reality". Son answering back mother, fat friend, who's a person not a caricature, but thats about it.

And frankly a movie where my abiding memory of konkona is not her character, or even her acting, but her heavily made up face, even when she's supposedly waking up, is a big failure.

So all in all, I'd say steer quite clear, but again, I'm in minority, most people say its not bad.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

When we were orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro

Quite hauntingly written again. If the last one ( never let me go) evoked a feeling of loss, this one sucessfully evokes that sense of shifting memories. The assured self confidence about recollections, feelings, the equations with others, our sense of our place in the world... all shifting, refitting, changing.

As before, the story as such is not that important, although it expanded in a un put downable manner. A little boy's parents vanish in Shanghai. The story begins many many years later, as he's starting out as a detective in London. As he moves forward few years , and recollects a lot of those old circumstances.

I really must read "remains of the day" now, even though I didnt like the movie so much.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

too late?

is it too late
to make up for lost time

to go back,
to redo what was left undone

or undo what wasn't?

is it too late,
to find the fairies in the damp
to nail the bhag?

is it perhaps,
too late
to live?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The unprocessed word.

In the age of the word processor
you are sending
handwritten letters
we are glad you do
like fingerprints and faces
the handwriting is yours alone
that manuscript is you
virtual reality of a flawless typescript
leaves out essentials
whispers barely heard
the heartbeats and what moves between lines
thank you for giving me
your unprocessed word
- Unknown
ps : ( If anyone knows of the poet, please let me know, I'd like to add the acknowledgement)

Openness and transparency

They seem like such favourite buzzwords in the corporate world. All this talk of the utopian little universe ( umm office) where hierachies have been flattened, levels reduced, there is free flow of communication. Both up and down. but wait, we just flattened the hierarchy right, ok then, so lets just say there's free flow of communication.

And of course there is much todo about openness and transparency.

Sometimes, some places seem to make an honest effort. To actually do things transparently.

But I wonder, if perhaps its a cultural thing, specially in India, to fight against these things. To go out of the way, to close ranks, create hierarchies, use information as power, firmly treat managers as bigger people than others, try to keep people in their "place" so to say.

I'm not saying that other countries/cultures have an inherently open or better culture. Just that here we seem to pay inordinate amounts of importance to things like years of experiance at work. We instinctively classify parts of work as lower grade ( yes my tech coolie job certainly is one of them) And an honest attempt at openness is actively discouraged. Very actively, by whatever means necessary.

All very well, maybe with our current kind of work, that is the only system that can work. Maybe assembly line sweatshops can only operate in that environment, and not in one of the utopian concepts.

But can you actually have creative output in that environment? Can you actually make the much envied "world class product" in such a setting? I don't think so. I might be motivated to keep my head above water, but beyond that.. ?

Who knows.

Monday, September 14, 2009

the female eunuch - germaine greer

a mixed bag, some stuff had me rooting - yeah agree fully. other stuff looked like lot of hot air, creating theories to explain stuff, which didn't seem to really hold up, at least to me.

Her fearless, in your face take, on a lot of areas ( specially a lot of rot that freud seems to have spewed about sexuality) was certainly refreshing. its also easier to identify with, because those are common issues, and a few decades and a few countries divide, doesn't seem to make much of a difference to its analysis.

However a lot of parts which seek to analyse work, finance, love, family etc tend to become hard to follow , identify with, and sometimes to even agree with. I think those sections need a separate detailed analysis from an indian perspective.

At any rate, i'd give full marks for the title. the eunuch, in the terms that its understood, is exactly where we're at. And the revolution is a long way coming.

A hat-trick !

3 successive days of drinking, now thats what i call a good weekend! :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekend ! Time to get to work!

uff, no matter how many chores I plan to finish during the weekday itself, the weekend seems to accumulate tasks, just like the window sills accumulating dust ( ah one more chore, grrrr!)

oh well time to stop whining and get down to it... groan.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

changeling

so so. although i like both angelina and clint eastwood, somehow there was nothing extraordinary in the movie.

good , but just about.

kaminey

Was watched after much planning, unplanning, replanning and plotting :P

Over all it was a bit of a disappointment. Onkara and reviews had raised expectations a bit, and I'd say it was a bit of a let down due to that.

It has its moments of brilliance, but I really found it uneven. It would start to get interesting, and then suddenly there were rather bollywoodesque slow scenes/concepts and then it had to start all over again.

However over all , if you forget the weight of expectations, and the rather irritating ending, and the tributes to bollywood, it still is a pretty fascinating movie.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

why why why?

just feeling soooooo frustrated, i could scream. ok correction i did scream, quite a lot, but i guess i shouldn't have. the workplace is always a precarious place, and i've never been good at playing the games that need to be played.

deep breathing and drinking water is certainly not helping. so let me repeat the only adage that sometimes helps to explain the inexplicable:

"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion".

And that i suppose is the only answer i can get.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Progress.

I need to get there...

http://dilbert.com/dyn/str_strip/000000000/00000000/0000000/000000/50000/8000/000/58076/58076.strip.print.gif

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Public Enemies

Rather a forgettable movie. Even Johnni Depp can't do much for it.

Usual story , man wanted by the law for robbing banks ( and yes lots of shooting ) . The effort to make a hero out of him. The effort to give him "qualities" ( he'll not let anyone down, he'll not do kidnappings) bla bla. The usual love interest. The usual sad end in blood.

Nothing new , nothing newly done, and all in all not worth spending money on, the tv viewing is all it deserves.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Etudes - Aseem Kaul

Had finished this few weeks back. A mixed bunch of short stories ( or etudes if you'd like) Some were absolutely lovely, and some just a tad above my intellectual level!

I remember reading some of them on the blog , and wondering how such amazing stuff could be up there for free. I remember thinking, I'd pay money to read some of these.

There's little happening in terms of "story" or action in most the them, they're like a painting. You gaze at it, and it grows on you. Lets hope there are a few more of them coming!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The filial guilt trip- My rant to all you parents of grown ups.

So some stupid hindi serial ( ok i know thats unnecessary) , some hindi serial keeps getting advertised lately about kids mistreating their parents.

And here's the rant thats been simmering for the past few years where this issue is concerned. For all those parents crying about their kids abandoning/mistreating them , here's my answer - its your own fault. Lets me repeat that again, its your own fault and you have it coming.

Its your own fault that you put old age planning much behind that urge to "do the best for your child"

Its your own fault that you started out your life with "i'm living and doing everything for my kid".

Its your own fault that you expected that you could life off your kids in their prime, giving them unnecessary and irritating gyan on how to live their lives.

You know what, you had your chance while they were growing up, to give them all the gyan you needed. That was the time to do all your reminescing about how to do things, how to manage money, how to massage babies, how to plan for the future ( hah) , how to choose a lifemate, how to plan on buying a house.. you know, all of those how-tos, which you keep wishing to share when the kids are in their 30s, while wishing to sit on their heads. You should have done that, but you didn't, hoping to keep them dependent on you.

Ideally what you should have done was bring them up, drilling into their heads in no uncertain terms, that once their studies are over, they are on their own. Yes hopefully both would be around for each in emergencies, but only in emergencies. The parents money is not only their own, it would most certainly not go the children. It would go to their old age home, their favourite charity, or maybe their favourite temple ( ugh! but hey its their money) or wherever they damn well please, but not to the kids.
And rest assured that the kids would not be taking care of them and paying for them.

I know that sounds cruel and idealistic, but hey in the absence of that, whats happening now, is normal, and please don't wring your hands and make idiotic serials and movies like Baghban.

And while on Baghban, let me repeat what i said earlier, the caricatures of people aside, my sympathies are all with kids and i sure wish amitabh and hema had saved something for old age, instead of bringing up the kids with "everything they desire" and handing everything to them. If you'll do that, rest assured the kids would treat you as free baby sitters and nurses.

If you sow the wind, you'll reap the whirlwind. Stop whining.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The art of Indirect communication

Thats an art i don't have, and no being frank and speaking straight is not an asset. Its a big big big disadvantage.

Saying "I don't know, and I'm sorry I don't have the time to find out" is not right. Yes there's a right answer to it, I just don't know it.

Saying "I'm not going to do this bullshit, simply because someone else is idling and not doing it" is not right. Yes, once again, there is a right answer to it, a right way to tackle it, and I don't know that either.

Saying "this is not a fair price, I'll pay x ", isnt a smart way of bargaining either. And yes, you guessed it , I sure as hell don't know the right way to go about it.

This is something I've been thinking of a lot lately. Things that happen at work, at home, when you're out shopping, or just trying to negotiate with life. I've always had a tendency to say straight out what i'm thinking, and somewhere along the way , lost the art of ungali tedhi kar ke ghee nikalna. And I also realise that it costs me. I pick more quarrels where I'm left looking like the offending party, when I could have answered obliquely and got back my own. I end up complaining and nagging about things which I can't seem to change, which I could perhaps have manipulated better and got better results. And needless to say, I end up being almost unable to bargain, since thats one area where this skill is put fully to use.

Anyone know of any diploma courses I could take in this?? !

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ashaani Sanket - Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay

Started reading the hindi translation purely to while away time, fully expecting to get bored and leave it mid way.

And was rather suprised to find that it held me right up to the end. That was even more surprising, since it was precisely the kind of story I'd have thought I didn't like. A "baaman" family set in a poor village sometime over 60 decades ago. Story is perhaps not describing it accurately. A chronicle of that family, through the months of increasing prices of rice during 1943 perhaps is a more accurate description. The gradual build up from the routine humdrum of village life, to the sense of complete despair is most hauntinly written.

All in all, it was a gripping narration, even if it was a hindi translation. I think I need to pick up more of Mr Bandhopadyay's works.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The starfish and the spider -

An interesting book about the idea as such. Although it tends to get a bit repetitive at times.

The basic idea being of course, that the spider and the starfish are entirely different in the way they work.

A spider has a single controlling "head", ( think normal CEO style hierarchical structures). Cut the head, and the spider falls apart. ( um mostly!)
A starfish on the other had, seems to have no such thing. Its so called higher brains functions, if there is such a thing, seem to be spread out. ( think the more distributed internet, eMule, what not). Cutting off any part of them, might just give you two full starfish, and probably wouldn't at any rate have the thing die off spider style.

Which was a think I often wondered when I read or saw things like war of the worlds etc where there always seemed to be a single nerve centre/ command centre, which the hero would figure out and disable, thus getting the whole thing down. And I remember thinking long back, yes I know thats how traditional armies work, but what if, just what if, you had an alien attack which didn't work that way?

An interesting look at the two diferent structures. Worth a read.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Phantoms in the brain - V.S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee

A damn fascinating book, and at least the first 3/4ths of it are un-put-downable.

Its a book about "how the brain works" so to speak. However neurology is just a drab way of describing it. What it actually involves are things you'd never have thought could be linked back to it - things that are firmly believed to be part of your "identity" and "personality" and "views". Things we tend to hold so very strongly as "me".

cogito , ergo sum.

However, how amorphous those views can really be, is a question perhaps some of us wouldn't even like to ask. Who knows down where the answer will lead us? And as some of the experiments described in this book show - the rabbit hole goes places you'd not have expected.

I think the first time I got to thinking about this whole area, was some time in school, when I read an article in some readers digest or something. it described a woman who'd suffered some head injuries and her daughter was aghast to find that her preferences in dressing and colours had completely changed.

That got me thinking, if your conservative dressing sense could change to an exuberant one, by a head injury, what else could a whack to your head do? how much of your personality is really malleable, not just by thinking/peer influence/books/experiances, but by sheer physical changes to the brain? How much by just what you eat? coffee helps you keep awake, and chocolate gives you a lift, that seems acceptable to most of us. But could an epileptic fit turn you into a messiah? Does that make your experiance more real, or less, as compared to having gained enlightenment after reading the vedas?

Interesting questions, and a damn fascinating direction, however like I said earlier, be prepared for some unexpected turns in the rabbit hole!

377

Lets hope something sensible emerges from the courts today.

And please if I hear the word "choice" again, I'll barf. There is no choice, can't these ppl get that???

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The bookseller of Kabul

It was a fast depressing read. The usual muslim afghanistan-iran-saudi-burqua story. Yes there's more to the story than the story of the women behind the burqa, but somehow at the end of the day the book did'nt really tell much.

reminded me of "Not without my daughter", "daughters of arabia", "princess" etc. Consistently depressing books all of them. They all evoke the same feeling of calustrophobia, the amazement at how the people could lack even the basics of common sense in the kind of control they seek to exercise. You hope that this is a far away , another religion , another century. But then you look around you, at the good educated middle class boys around you, and you realise, there's very little difference at their core. We're just lucky to be in a different setting, we're not really among people with more common sense.

However, there are few things which get my goat as much as the burqua. usually makes me want to burn up the whole household , the women included, and right to freedom be damned. of course, this in spite of knowing, that in a similar situation, i'd probably be wearing one myself. but it doesn't make me any less angry.

note to self - avoid such books, they just make you mad and don't tell you much .

Luck by chance

quite a nice movie. Interesting to see bollywood sort of hold up a mirror to itself, non-judgementally, with a bit of humour, doing away with black and white, and some good acting thrown in! reminded me of om shanti om, a much much much better version of it. Watching it a second time was even more fun, the jokes kept up their bite. And the music is quite nice too.

and my favourite line from the movie - meetha banana hai to shakkar to dalni padegi :)


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Star Trek - The Future begins

I've been a fan of the series ever since nn got me hooked and we watched all the voyager seasons, over the past 2 years. And then started working our way back, watching the "next generation" seasons these days ( Still not seen the original series tho). Also caught a few of the enterprise episodes on TV.

However, I've never enjoyed the movies quite as much, although I've seen just 3 of them (Hated "insurrection", found "first contact" to be avg at best) And I guess in spite of the good reviews of this one, it felt a bit of a let down. The beginning was Awful. I hate scenes of women giving birth, and if you drag the damn thing for almost a minute and inter cut it with a dying father, what can i say, even old masala bollywood could have done better. The story was passable. The acting decent. ( although, having never seen Kirk , Spock or Scottie, I can't say whether they lived up to the living legends. however in isolation they were not bad) . And it had its funny moments.

I guess at the end of the day, what makes star trek tick for me, is the nuanced approach it took to alien life, to the way it often picked up topical issues , to its colourful characters, its humour. ( In fact various episodes deserve full length reviews of their own. )
And all of that is rather hard to put into a movie. At the end of the day the movie becomes a more formulaic evil-person-out-to-do-something-bad--good-heroes-save-the-day. Within that formula, you can make a decent movie, and in a star trek setting, it makes it more fun. But I wouldn't say it lifts it much higher than any other movie of the genre.

So all in all, I'd say ok, not bad, and for star trek fans, a definite watch. But I'm not promising the earth, or even Vulcan!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Angels and Demons

Its a quite a decent thriller.  Will certainly be enjoyed more by people who haven't read the book, but even if you've read the book ( like me) its not that bad. certainly better than the da vinci code. 

As for the offence to christianity, I wouldn't read too much into it. If there are people taking offence, they probably deserve to be offended! 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen

Was finally finished this week, after plodding along for a while. its written in a rather academic style, and given to terms like post-modern ( which ,for the life of me, i don't understand ! ) That makes the reading some effort, often needing a rereading just to understand the point he's making. Then of course the subject matter is such that it needs some mulling over.

However, I enjoyed reading it nevertheless. It dealt with essays on wide ranging areas, from snippets of history, culture, religion, feminism with a open minded viewpoint, which I totally identified with.

However there's only so much of that academic style, that i can read, and now i need something free flowing, and needing no thinking!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Outsourced

Cheezy little movie, but the perfect thing to catch on late night telly. Laughed at all the stereotypical jokes, and to its credit, it hasn't done them too badly.

A guy comes to India to train a bunch of call center employees, and as can be expected, the civilisations clash - and many PJ's are made from the falling chips. Luckily for both, nothing collapses and life goes on!

Monday, May 18, 2009

And lately in life..

This one from Falstaff's blog, sums it up just so perfectly, I had to quote it verbatim ..

The Game
This is the kind of thing they don't teach you at school.

All those years of waiting, hoping, wanting to learn how to play. And then you find out there are no rules, that there isn't even really a game. Just a confused back and forth with no one keeping score.

No way to tell if you're winning. Always afraid that you've lost.

And I'm really beginning to think, I'd like to take a time out. And hey in a world full of enthusiastic talented players, how does it really matter if you didn't 'play' up to your potential, if you left midway, if you're a quitter? Plus who knows, maybe there's a whistle after all, and maybe it's about to blow anyway. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

North Country

Caught this a few days ago, during one of my usual insomnia guided tv surfs. Had never heard of it before, but it got me hooked till the end. 

Its not an exceptional movie. However its got a heartbreaking depiction of the hardfought battle by a bunch of women for the right to work on equal terms. Apparently it was loosely based on a one of the first successfully fought and won sexual harrassment cases. Although it tends to get rather overly sentimental in places, specially towards the end, where it seems to pretty much disintergrate, I was willing to forgive that, and cried every bit of the way with Charlise Theron.  Some of the scenes were handled really beautifully, for example the shots of the laundry, and the questions they raise about unpaid labour. It would've been good if they'd removed the whole irrelevant last 15 minutes, and instead used that time to build a few credible men in the initial phases, could've uplifted the movie massively, from simply being a bit of black and white fight, to a more nuanced real life depiction. 

I'm hoping with the increasingly diverse and interesting things coming out of the bollywood stable, we'll get to see some of the philadelphia/ erin brockovitch/ north country genre sometime soon! 

Saturday, May 09, 2009

No country for old men.

Was good. Not exceptional, although its reasonably gripping as it goes. 

A man on the run, money, shooting, the chase. The man chasing, the incomprehensible one. Some of the scenes and dialog really need full attention. Some parts however, tend to get rather over-indulgent ( read - over my head!) 

I think this was one of the movies which I shouldn't have watched on TV. It needs to be seen on the hall , or at the very least on a CD/DVD with no interruptions


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Which are You?

There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth's masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There's only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Monday, May 04, 2009

A clockwork orange.

Didn't like it much.

Again, during this, there were places where I got the dragging feeling of 2001. 

And then I guess part of the hoopla was about the "rape and violence" routine. But that bit was well publicised, and I wouldn't say its over the top. Of course the interesting thing there is how its presented, completely from the perpetrators viewpoint, which I daresay is why its needed the way it is. 

However, you live through the boring parts, and the cringe inducing parts, and at the end of the movie, do you wonder - wow, that raised some interesting questions? umm, no I don't. Do I ponder over the crime and punishment? Nah. Do I wonder about the free will vs conditioning debate? Not really. 

All that remains are some stunning visuals, the Kubric stare, and not much else.

I guess like 2001, this much decorated movie is pitched at an intellect higher than mine. What can I say, I found it forgettable. 


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dr Strangelove

So I forgive Kubric for the godawful 2001. This one was thoroughly enjoyed. Its a funny, dark movie. And tho it can seem rather technically backward ( after all its 40 years old!) , its acting and dialog leave you no scope for complaint. 

And Peter Sellers is awesome, I didn't even realise it was him in the other roles!

Its a dark comedy on a nuclear war during the old cold war days, but it has a wicked humour, and although the cold war is over, it doesn't take too much of a stetch of imagination , to see the absurdity of the situation and the people. The bodily fluids was amazing, how easily we make fancy explanations rather than accept a problem!

Now for clockwork orange next!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

beginners luck.

Baked my first cake recently, that too in a cooker, and it came out edible!! yay!!

This is what is called beginners luck. Occassionally encountered when i try something in the kitchen once in a blue moon. And sad to say, the luck doesn't stick around much.

Oh well, i'll begin something else, so there!

Monsters vs Aliens.

I love most animation movies. The characters and memorable lines from a lot of them, have passed into daily lexicon in our house, and much fun is had remembering them. I try to catch them whenever wherever, and I believed that no matter how bad they are, they're still usually paisa vasool. 

So, this one, made me do a rethink. It was actually pretty sad, there were jokes which fell flat in their faces. Characters which didn't really endear themselves - forget endear, they were actually forgettable.  And the spoofs , weren't really that spoofy. I mean hey, spoofing 101 - just taking a reference to something, does not, a spoof make. You need to take the concept a step further and show something contrarian, and hence funny. 

All in all,  a bit of a disappointment. And perhaps a wake up call - not all animation movies are unconditionally good!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

While the light lasts - Agatha Christie

A collection of short stories, and interestingly, not all are the typical detective murder mysteries. Some of the these are her very early stories, and they make an interesting read.

Also reminds me that the 6 Mary Westmacott novels which have been written off as no good by critics, are probably worth a read as well. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Natak.

Back after the big event. 

It was good to have people I love around me, and it was great to be with him again finally, but that's about the good part. 

Finally, the public spectacle is over, the legalities having been done with, a few months earlier. Complete waste of money and effort, but there was no other way.

Someone really really needs to overhaul our marriage ceremonies, they are outdated, meaningless and infuriating. They were designed for a patriarchal, agrarian society and at least I for one am not living in one any more. 

And so many of our problems arise from that basic concept of marriage as "kanyadaan". That the girl is given from one family to another, rather than concentrating on the idea of two people coming together to share their lives. In my view, thats the basic idea of marriage, not families, and not future children. 

Yes , we managed to avoid the actual bit of it, by literally bribing the pandit. But of course one can't escape the assumptions the world makes, and the inherent treatment of woman as an object. A precious object perhaps, but an object nevertheless. It galls me to be in the company of jar and jameen in the trilogy. The whole ceremony itself needs to shift its focus from family to the couple. It would help if the pandit did not make asinine suggestions like saying "don't scold her in front of her friends". And it would massively help if the seven vows were equal, instead of taking every damn occassion to make the girl feel like she's secondary and servile.  

So for any of you who count yourself in my friends, please note the following:

1. My name ( first and last) remains what it was. So does my title of Ms. It does not become Mrs.
2. I am not automatically converted to a baby producing machine. 
3. Telling me "may you have a son" - is NOT a blessing in my book. I almost puked at a beggar who thus tried to curse me. 
4. I do not automatically resign my job and follow my husband. These aren't simple decisions, don't assume they are, simply because I'm the female.
5. Stop commenting on how I haven't changed, in terms of adding uselss chooda, mangalsutra, bichiya, sindoor on my frame.  If a symbol of marriage is needed, its needed on both parties. Think about why. If you can think that is. 






Monday, March 23, 2009

Barah Aana

Very forgettable, defintely give this one a miss. 

Couldn't quite make out what the point of the movie was, where it fitted, where it was pitched. It just seemed like a jumble of scenes, loosly strung together, trying to fit in some moralising somehwere ( unsuccessfully). 

A waste of Naseer and Vijay Raj, although they tried their best.