Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rabbit Proof Fence

There's seems to be something about the landscape of australia, something haunting, something ineffable, something that grabs your attention.

in general its a forgotten unglamorous, not so fashionably controversial land. ( and no, cricket doesn't count.) but sometimes when you remember its existence , you're caught. I'd read only two books set there, both of which had caught my attention similarly. Corroboree. Then there was a town like alice. And today while channel surfing, i somehow stumbled upon this movie, and was similarly stopped by it. Its not a superb movie, but it manages to hold your attention. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How much land does a man need?

Much philosophical discussion was done following fresh announcements confirming market conditions.

Various platitudes were discussed and self was assured that equanimity is key. ( That self was already in warp 10 after 3 cups of strong coffee may or may not have had much to do with it)

Then fresh news from nn confirmed further worsening plans. After which even coffee induced warp state wasn't good enough..

In such cases, one turns to poetry:
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


The beauty of poetry is that its not straitjacketed, by fixed meanings, the lines can have a myriad of meanings, different things for different people, and different meanings at different times, even for the same person.

Or as Niranjan put it so succinctly for us software wallahs, ( and i couldn't stop laughing at this one!)
such poetry is like an interface, it binds at runtime!

Grin and berrit everyone!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The human side of business

2 years ago , i wrote another post with this title, and said i couldn't stop laughing.

I'm not so sure I'm amused today.

I've never had very "human" illusions about business. If you want humanity, go take up social work in a village. When you decide to take employment, at what can only be called bloated salaries, in one of the hep shot, coffee serving, card swiping, per diem giving companies, well you know what, humanity doesn't even come in the picture. And if anything, I'd say it shouldn't. Even in these days of uncertainity, and living with the rumours and knowledge of the possibility of axe falling, I'd still say some chucking out is needed. And as they say " gehun ke saath ghun bhi pista hai" and such is life. There are far too many frigging free loaders out there, and its time we stopped whining about lay offs, it wasn't only those traders repackaging bad loans who weren't doing their jobs.

However, although I'm no holder of illusions about "people are our most important asset" line of bullshit served by our companies, I do hold some expectations of civililised behaviour. Illusions. I can't say i'm surprised. But i'm pissed off. Angry. Frustrated to know, that you can lay off people, by sending them back home forcibly in cabs one fine morning. Simply because, by law, you can.

Human side, yeah, "people" yeah, CSR yeah. hah. go stick it up yours. You were always a bloodsucking parasite, you don't even deserve to be called a company. A colonial slave driver is what you always were, with your double standards, and the lovely 6 chor values you so loved to tout. And so are the useless rags which print the "best places to work" surveys.

I sure hope that if I ever have to see such a day, my company would at least have the guts to give me an advance warning, instead of slinking around like a spineless bully.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A prayer

Read so often in school, in morning assemblies,  since forgotten for many years.. something reminded me of it today, I'm not sure what... 

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; 

Where knowledge is free; 

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; 

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; 

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action --

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

- Rabindra Nath Tagore

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nothing Twice

Thought for today...

Nothing Twice
by Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to say
Today is always gone tomorrow

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we're different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dev D

Hmm interesting one this. To start with, its definitely worth a watch.

For the way it has reinterpreted the characters and story ( yes there's very little of the old Devdas), for the way its broken stereotypes in a blatant in your face manner, for its great acting, for the jing bang music.

Its not perfect, there are patches towards the end, when it positively drags. Some of the latter bits are almost trite. The ending itself would seem a little pat perhaps. However these are minor quibbles, for I loved it for 3 things, and am willing to forgive it lot of others

1. Its made mincemeat of the whole devdas idea of mooning , loser people , crying over "love"- the much maligned word. Personally, I've always hated the whole concept, and whatever I'd seen both of the old one with Dileep Kumar and the other one with Shah Rukh, just got on my nerves, and it usually made me want to give someone a tight slap. I think what Anurag and Abhay have done here, as a concept, they've lifted the characters, and put them into life, as we know it, in 2009, not in a book of the 30s. I loved the fact that love is replaced by lust, hanging on to torches replaced with moving on, and silly marks on paro, replaced with hmm - now that one really is a beauty!

2. Its brought sexuality and questions around it, out in the open. And no, sexuality, is not simply about item numbers in skimpy clothes. There are interesting questions around the language of it, around the power equations, around the hypocrisy around it. Questions which are seldom probed, at least not in hindi movies.

3. It left so many scenes dangling, you could watch them another 10 times, and then think, hmm, thats not how I thought the last time. Yes some things are abstract, and not given to easy answers or interpretation.

So, those are my 2 cents. However if you're with parents, I'd say give it a miss, leave it for when you're alone!
If you have half a brain, and 10 minutes into the movie you pronounce that "arre keval bengal se utha kar punjab mein daal di hai, wahi story hai" then you should definitely walk out right them. Come back after you get the remaining part of your brain back.
If you're looking for nice love stories, full of indian culture, definitely give this one a miss. I'm surprised some noble upholder of said culture hasn't raised arms against it. Yet.

Me , I'd like to get hold of the DVD when it comes!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

They do it with mirrors - Agatha Christie

I'm getting better at this now, I almost guessed the murderer! Tho it wasn't quite fair, there wasn't any hint of the reason before the last few pages! 

If I keep going at this rate, I'll soon finish all the Agatha Christies , oh dear what will be left of life then?? hmm.. perhaps the aspiration to own all of them in a nice bookshelf someday - we all have our crazy dreams !

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Political forwards.. uh huh..

What do you do when someone at the workplace forwards you mails very obviously "oh poor us hindus always victims" "ah those beastly muslims" i really don't know what to say.

To start with, just in case anyone reading this didn't know, I'm NOT a hindu, in any sense of the word that most people understand.

Secondly, official email ids should NOT be used for purposes of sending out your personal political / religious beliefs. Not everyone in the "to" list might agree.

Thirdly, how exactly does one respond? These are people you work with, some of whom who might actually like and admire for their way of working. Just as long as you keep your head buried in the sand about their world views to other things in life. I'd say its not a bad way to deal with things at office. If you really want to go further, well take the discussion to a pub. ( ah there hangs another tale! ) I make a pretty concerted effort to keep my political beliefs out of the picture in discussions with people who are not really friends, and with whom one shares a professional and often tenous relationship.

And finally for those dimwits who keep inisisting, "its all true, we are only telling you "facts" like how all muslim countries are pathetic, and how all indian media is hindu bashing, well dear sirs, how would you like it if i forwarded you one sided mails on burning feminist issues, which I will very obviously see with very blinkered vision? Would you really want that stuff in your official email, from a colleague, with whom you don't want to spoil relations, but who you might disagree with?

ah, another bit of steam today that i could have done without!

Monday, February 02, 2009

pass me that drink please

and let me be the judge of my liver, and my culture.

You manage your own, or better still spend the next 20 years writing a treatise defining what exactly is culture. You might find the exercise enlightening.

As for our traditionally spineless, pathetic governments, what can i say, you should all go back to the colony of the monkeys and orangutans and uphold their culture. Thats where you belong. And yes, that means you specially, mr whats your name, of the "pub culture" fame.

That surreal feeling..

When you walk into a office you thought you knew well, and find it all done up like a new money bride.

Balloons, stickers on each desk, things sprouting from the numerous tubelight holders like leaves in spring.

I don't know if it feels good or bad, but sure feels like something out of Kafka's imagination!

hmm.. , but change , after all , as they say, ,.. is good. So, happy new beginnings!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Death Comes as the end - Agatha Christie

This one's set in ancient egypt! A murder mystery as usual, but memorable for it unique setting, and of course, I still can't ever guess the culprit!