Thursday, June 28, 2012

The cow sagas - part 5 - ethics

Usual background: Once upon a time there was a milk vendor. He loved the money his customers gave. But he just wished he could make the cows disappear. Ugly messy creatures, who always had to be fed. Why couldn't the milk just appear magically in jugs? 

It sure was a tightrope walk , running a business. Some people just didn't get it.

He did his best to inculcate a good culture in his dairy, by putting up posters on ethics all over the dairy. He made rules to make sure that every cow wrote down 100 times, ' I will be honest and ethical '.

He didn't really think that the fudging of the promised milk to water ratio for the customers was really about ethics. I mean if some customers with deep pockets, were willing to pay pretty penny for watered down milk, that really wasn't unethical , was it? Everyone in the dairy business sold watered down milk. There's no way to run a profitable dairy without it. ( Profitability, these silly mooing cows didn't know the first thing about it, the damn things could probably unbalance a balanced sheet)

Anyway, the bottom line was, that ethics was about the cows giving their full quota of milk to him ( and then some). There's no point in mixing ethics up with the kind of milk he sold the customers. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pyaar Ka Punchnama - Luv Ranjan

ok movie, has its fun moments, but could have really done well on the editors chopping board to make it crisper. The songs specially are quite interminable, and so are some of the maudlin moments.

3 young blameless software engineers ( male) , are living happily in delhi in a typical bachelor pad. However part of their happiness is the ruing of their single status. As Oscar Wilde once said, there are two tragedies in life, one is not getting what you want. The other is getting it. So these young virile men, soon acquire girls in their lives. These girls soon ruin their lives, and bring these hitherto happy go lucky men , literally to tears.

The movie doesn't make any pretensions about presenting two sides of a story, which actually works in some ways. Basically the parts that work, seem to be the ones which are rather raw, and straight from the gut. I daresay Luv, who's also done bits of the screenplay, has lot of pent up angst , which has come up in this movie, and the honesty of those feeling, work in a way.

But for some deeper introspection into what makes men and women different, you'll have to work harder. And one of the hardest things to do, is to just realise, that men and women view things differently. Yes sure, there are exceptions and everyone is different etc. But its like that old woman/ young lady picture debate , made famous in the 7 habits book. How you see the picture depends on what hits you first, and what you perceive a certain thing to be. If you started by thinking that the little wiggle was an ear, and not an eye, it will be a long long time, before you can make that paradigm shift and see that there is another  perspective, right there in front of you , in the same picture.

Anyway, leaving introspection aside, its a funny movie, which misogynists would love uninhibitedly, while the rest of us have a laugh as well, although we might also be laughing at some things the director didn't quite intend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch

Nice read, and the video of the last lecture is equally nice . Many thanks to a for presenting this one to me!

The book is a more fleshed out version of the lecture which Randy delivered on 'achieving your childhood dreams'. In a way its the essence of his credos in life. A way of crystallizing it into a lecture and a book. To leave something of yourself, to the world and to your children. At the time of the lecture , he knew he had just months to live, medical science having emptied its arsenal against pancreatic cancer.

Definitely worth a read. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The cow sagas - part 4 - Sales

Usual background: Once upon a time, there was a milk vendor. He loved the money his customers gave. But he just wished he could make the cows disappear. Ugly messy creatures, who always had to be fed. Why couldn't the milk just appear magically in jugs? 

The other day, a super rich client asked for a steady supply of fresh rose milk. So naturally he loaned over a cow to the client. 

How on earth was he supposed to know that rose milk didn't come directly from cow udders, but had to be made by mixing rose concentrate? And even if that was the case, what these cows didn't understand was how demanding these clients were, this is how sales were always made. Didn't they understand how rich the client was, how his bonus, ( and the cows bonus peanut masala biscuits) came from such sales. Ah the ingrate!

And he really didn't see what the fuss was about, all the cow had to do was get the concentrate somehow, mix it, and present the rose milk to the client. Whats all this fuss about the cow not having any concentrate, no hands and all sorts of excuses?  Surely one had to show some flexibility, some adaptability. 

And really mixing up a normal day in sales with ethics was stretching it too far. 

Uff these cows!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shanghai - Dibakar Bannerjee

Loved it.

A brand new India-shining SEZ type area is to be set up, and of course land has to be acquired for that. But there's a crusader who's organising the people and exhorting them to not sell out.

How does this multi player game end? The mercurial hitman, the timid driver, the local political worker, the state political aspirant, the CM, the secretary, the IAS officer, the policemen, the part time porn videographer, the womanising crusader, the crusaders unwilling wife, the other woman, the other woman's maid.., where do the ebb and flow of these lives intersect, and what are the parts we see and don't see?

Its a tightly paced movie, and the characters are well balanced, well etched out and ably enacted ( mostly). I liked some of the scenes, the side angle half light shots. Also liked the the IAS/IPS/Politician equation depictions.  But what I liked most of all, was the easing of the high pedestal cries for revolution. The move away from the easy demarcation of people as good and bad. The move away from easy solutions. What constitutes the good life? What constitutes a bad one? And if those aren't so easy to slot, then neither are the solutions, which in some ways was the highlight of the ending.

Although I thought some of the scenes seemed to be hammering points home too hard ( the obvious points at that), but still, I loved it overall.

Must watch.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

There will come soft rains..

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

                                       - Sara Teasdale

I'd read the short story back in school, and remembered it often. There was something very very evocative about the last line, with the date repeating itself. 

There was also something equally evocative about the title, and when I read the original poem, I could see the singular feeling that both the poem and the story evoked. 

Was reminded of it today when I heard about Bradbury. 

The futility of it all. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Belle the Jour - Luis Bunuel

Strange little movie.

The main protagonist is unable or unwilling to sleep with her husband, who is a caricature of goodness - nice, understanding, patient, loving. She however seems to crave the heavy duty bondage/submission fantasy, and gradually drifts into part time prostitution. ( its a day job - hence the title).

Where does fantasy end, reality begin? Interesting question that, and rather interestingly handled, specially the end.

But where do questions of sexual domination and submission begin and end? What qualifies as depravity and what as morality? Equally interesting questions, but I can't say that those were even addressed. It seemed like a whole lot of time was wasted just cataloging strange and stranger sexual quirks. I really didn't see the point of it, or what , if anything, they were supposed to convey.

Can't say I recommend it.