Friday, December 28, 2007

Labour of Love

Alright alright, so its not all that great. But comeon, waking up one fine day at 7:30 and thinking ok, let me just do something with the bare minimum knowledge I have with Adobe Illustrator, and to come up with this in like 2 hours time, not that bad. And yes all you Illustrator Connoisseurs so to say, there is just predominantly two tools, Blend and Twirl. But comeon, accept that I have used both of them rather creatively.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post Tsunami - Phoenix Rising

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Merry Christmas to all of you. It was during such a merry time a couple of years back that the worst of tsunamis struck our coastal regions. Christmas came again the next year, and this year, but the tsunami did not; thankfully. Tsunami thus became a rather common word in our vocabulary, more used now for jokes than anything else. But do we remember the events? Worst, did we forget it all. People who has been affected by this still lives through, although a little more scared than us. Heres something I found in my Dad's laptop which I thought I would publish here.

All photos are taken by my Dad (Dr. G. Mohan). Original write-up is also by him with small edits from myself.

The third anniversary of the 2004 Tsunami is nearing. I had the personal experience of working in one of the worst affected areas in Tamilnadu –near Colachel in the Kanyakumari District where the death toll was around 600. The whole area was devastated by the waves. I almost spend five months in this area of which I was doing relief and rehabilitation work for three months in one of the fishing hamlets near Colachel, a place called Kottilpadu where 213 people died which included 94 children. I was then working as the Chief Medical Officer of Indian Rare Earths Ltd. Manavalkurichy. In September this year I visited the place once again to assess the recovery of these people whose morale was at its lowest when I left on 31st, May 2005.

28th, December 2004. Two days after the Tsunami struck the coastal areas of the Kanyakumari District. The site: one of the relief camps near Colachel. Time around noon. Two men arrive frantically on a motorcycle and just announces two words in Tamil- “Alai Varuthu”(Waves coming). Pandemonium broke out in the camp. There were cries all around. People were running here and there, taking whatever they could, women clutching small babies to their chest and holding the elder ones, trying to escape from the place. Two buses stop in front of the camp. People jump into the buses without knowing where the buses are proceeding to, pleading with the drivers to take them away from this place. In few minutes the camp was virtually empty except the medical relief team which I was heading and few local people and the priest of the church where the camp was set up. It is one of the highest points around Colachel, almost 2 kilometers away from the sea where no waves can ever reach! The same scenes repeated a couple of times in the next three months.

12th, September 2008. Time- around 5 PM. An earthquake with magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia. Warning of a possible Tsunami was given. I travel along the coast of Colachel just to observe how the people reacted to this warning. There was no panic at all. People were moving out of their homes and were seen going to safer places. I reached Kottilpadu at around 7 PM. Most of the people had moved out. Only few remained there. They were not at all perturbed by the warning. A police jeep arrives- no sirens, no announcements. They just advices the youngsters not to take any risk on this particular night and then slowly moves on. It seems that they are careful not to create any panic among the people. I go to the Colachel town. Everything was almost normal except that people were moving in small groups carrying bags for a safe stay in one of their relatives houses or in the churches for the night. I know that these people have overcome the fear of a possible Tsunami.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blue Lake's Shadow Birds - A Journey of Self-Discovery

My school life was very weird to put it very very lightly. I mean you might say 'oh well, so was mine'. Well not really. Many people I have talked to have accepted defeat to this statement. When I was in school, we have almost burnt down my class room, in the process got the whole wall sooted black. We proceeded to white wash our classroom. In turn we ended up, in our drunken madness (yes yes we were drunk as well), throwing paint all over the floor. Like any other credible businessmen of our time, we in turn gave a value added proposition to our acts and a justifying statement, to win the Best Class of the Month award. We prepared for our Maths board exam, by breaking into our Computer Lab to watch porn well past midnight on the eve of the exam, and then waking up early in the morning for a game of basketball. It is thus completely my hardwork and dedication along with some blessing sprinkled from Above that I managed a 51% in Maths which opened up the flood gates for all my engineering dreams. I think I will be writing about these things in detail in a later post.

We all have had our fantasies during adolescence. All of them included girls and dreamy eyed views of sex. Our biology text was too linear in their portrayal of sexual organs; as in they used only lines and shades to depict different organs. Encyclopedia again was so Class 7. If I remember correctly, my first sexual excitement was mainly due to certain pages of Oxford Dictionary. Internet was not as prolific as it is today, so our peep hole into female anatomy was predominantly limited to cut outs of an old magazine called Fantasy.

We were thirsty, we wanted to know the hows and whats and then-whats of sex. We needed it not in a documentary format, but in graphic detail. We looked around, pornographic cassettes (we watched it in my school's nursery section on a holiday; beat that) were there. Soon we started losing the adrenaline rush of it all. It was all becoming passe. What we wanted now was a way that we could show the world, that, WE ARE HERE!

How? Simple; go watch a porno (soft porno) movie in a theater; where there were sets of eyes noticing every movement that we make to make an ID and then report it to any of our parents. Waiting outside Deepa theater (which is quite notorious for screening only soft porno movies) itself gave us the adrenaline rush we wanted. But no, we are here to fulfill a dream of sorts; so lets get ahead with it. The movie was, ah I still remember the title correctly, Neela Thadakathile Nizhal Pakshikal (Blue Lake's Shadow Birds). The story was about a particularly fat girl, who was a State Champion swimmer or something (now we knew why we dont have a national swimming champion from Kerala). Then there was a lesbian angle, where a room mate or something of this fat swimming champion from Kerala was trying to seduce her. Our brave and fat swimming champ after giving a there-raising show of female to female seduction, brushes off her attempts. This lesbian lady gets herself killed somehow, and it becomes a whodunit afterwards, and we were not exactly satisfied. I mean come on, this is not worth all this trouble; to see two fat chics wriggling around in a bed making noises that am sure has been mixed into the movie during post production. For all of this we had to suffer through the fat girl ticking out the bad guys one by one. The plot was too confusing and I think it was majorly inspired from an art house flick.

Well that was that, maybe it was our choice of movie that was bad. I mean, Kerala is a very reserved place, maybe the soft porno in Kerala can be (and was) seen in mainstream movies of other languages. We all drowned ourselves in this particular Blue Lake. Out in the sun, I think it finally made sense why they named the movie so. We went to watch some steamy action, and we got a watery shadow of the whole proceeding. But thank you life, for teaching me that, there can be Blue Lakes and Shadowy Birds, and fat swimming champions. I mean, really fat swimming champions. We drown before you!

More to come; Eaten Alive!!! The sexy babes of amazon like you have never seen them before, minced meat!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Desperate Alcoholics/Smokers

Coming back to home is well an exhilarating experience thanks to Amma's amazing food. Well I learnt this time round that this will test your levels of tolerance to the limits.

I have almost (I stress on almost) given up smoking, except for the parties where if you dont smoke you have to drink. As drinking in clubs is more expensive than smoking, smoking is the 'wise' choice while clubbing.

Well coming back to the topic, I was just arranging my clothes into the cupboard in my room when my gaze fell on a duty free bag. This bag has been around for quite some time now, but today I decided to take a look inside. One bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label and 20/200 packs of Philip Morris and Dunhill.

Well see it all you suckers; I cannot get these babies all waiting to go up in smokes and... well... err... as a kick in your heads, out of my room. Neither can I sneak a peg or a smoke out of this as my Dad would know. If I tell him I have to take it for my friends, he will know its a rather big baggage for just friends.

There is no end to my ongoing dilemma and desperation. If you people have any kind of advice, please please please do tell it to me.

Addendum: I deliberately avoided mentioning the bigger-than-name statutory warning on the Philip Morris. Period.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Its all about spreading the Cheer

If there is one thing that I learnt which can be called as extremely valuable piece of information is this:

"Learning doesn't necessarily have to be from pundits. You can learn from everyone. You just have to brush your little ego aside and observe and be patient to people; and you see this beautiful little angles developing. You learn new things, you realize new things, you observe new things from sources you considered so below yourself."

I thought it was below me to learn from people, but there have been certain events and certain people who has helped me learn this knack. I have realized that the people that I am most comfortable with and give most respect to are those who are very down to earth in their demeanor. You tend to give in to their humbleness and they (I guess) learn something from you.

Almost always I have seen people reacting in a positive way to certain things that you do. These are very simple stuff and in no way constitutes an exhaustive list. Let me try and get this out of my jottings for how to keep yourself up and running throughout the day:

- Wakeup and do whatever gets your spirits high. For me its music and I make sure that every morning I listen to my current favorite house or rock that gets me pumped up.

- Talk to someone who’s ready to hear you out right from day break. I know this is a little too much, but doing this will really set your safety net, knowing that you have this person to fall back into in case anything goes wrong.

- Smile and smile and smile. Well don’t smile like the Joker in Batman; that just gives a bad pain in the jaw. Smile more of a Mona Lisa smile, corners of your lip kind of a smile.

- Look into your eyes in the mirror and talk to yourself. Criticize and comment; I know its very creepy at first, like Gollum, then again it works, you know where you are wrong and where you have to stand up for yourself.

- Talk to people. Talk talk talk! No one will eat you if you talk to them. I know sometimes it can be embarrassing, but don't let it. Be Above the reactions. But you make sure you act.

- When talking to people that you know, make sure you call them by name. If your office is not set in feudal times, you can get away without having to call people 'Sir' and 'Madam'. It brings in a real boost to the comfort factor when you call people by name.

- Compliment people. Compliments work wonders only if they are done straight. It shouldn't sound very cheesy. Be casual and comment very matter-of-factly; just like you have made an observation.

- Walk around. If not all the time, at least hourly; it helps you keep your energy levels up, especially if you are a sedentary worker.

- Make notes. It helps to make notes, professionally and for your own self discovery. You look at it again after a few days and it helps you see yourself from a third person's view (Visions and Perceptions, see) and be constructively critical about yourself.

- Never shrug at anyone. Shrugging turns people off, duh. You shrug too much at people and they go into this cocoon in front of you, and you don’t want that; double duh!

Well, I guess this is as much as I can think about right now. I am sure every one of us have their own ways of getting through the day at the right pace and I will be more than pleased to hear any of them. Like I said, this is in no way an exhaustive list and additions are always welcome.

Till then, lets spread the merriment; in true festive spirit, HO HO HO!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Karzzz - Return of Bollywood's Capped Crusader

Sad is the state of Indian movies which saw Himesh Reshammiya's Aap Ka Surroorrr - The Moviieeeiie becoming one of the major hits of the year. I knew it from the onset that the near death experience will not be over soon and we will have to face more attempted murders thanks to producers who wants to cash in on the value-for-money proposition that is Himesh.

But I never saw this one coming! More than a near death experience, Himesh will be handing us a pre-death, through-death AND post-death experience with his next movie Karzzz. The movie is apparently the remake of the much less zzz-ed original, Karz. I would say its a good thing that its a movie based on reincarnation. The audience can choose between two endings; a first in the world of movies. Those who cannot tolerate more of Himesh can decide to themselves that Karzzz is just a very neo-realistic movie which says good doesn't win over evil all the bloody effing time when Himesh dies; or, people who still want to hoot, cat call or nasally twang the hero under the cap can sit, stand or dance through the whole thing.

Also to its credit is its apparently remizzzed title. Karz becomes Karzzz; just like 'Surroor' became 'Surrroooooorrrrrr......rrrr.....rr..' and 'movie' became 'Moviieeee' (I am still confused about how this one is actually spelled). I feel the 'zzz' factor in the title might show a lot about the movie than the initial promos. I can foresee the reviewers having a field day with its title alone. "Karzzz was like the title indicated; a zzz affair" or "Kar-zzz: The most sleep I had in a movie hall in a long long time".

Well I dont want to take anything away from this guy either; thanks to some hmmable (the typo is deliberate) tunes, this guy, with his lucky cap always intact, has gone ahead to become a super hit music director, pop musician and the ultimate of Indian fantasies, a superstar on screen. But I for one hope that someone out there lay a spike strip on his road to stardom and bring it to an abrupt but much awaited stop.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Bollywood Furniture Mart - Acting Skills that Kills

God Bless Hollywood! If some remarkably talented entrepreneurs of yesteryears haven’t decided to use Hollywood as the base for all their movie making dreams, we wouldn’t have had a very uncreatively named Bollywood. Anyways the name has stuck and we carry the legacy forward of naming many of our movies with the same uncreative excellence (cases in point will be Shakalaka Boom Boom, Tara Rum Pum, Good Boy Bad Boy, and many more).

The name Bollywood, through years, have come to showcase that we are more than a B-Grade ripoff of Hollywood; but also true to our name we have got some B-Grade Wood in this jungle. The acting talents of some of our leading lads are so awesomely wooden, that it reminds me of what Terminator would have been if he was frozen for a thousand year and then made into wooden sculpture when humanity is reborn. I try my best to figure out some of the most valuable piece of furniture that we have in this very wooden exhibition.

Exhibit A – Bobby Deol

The rains in his debut movie Barsaat might have washed away Twinkle Khanna’s makeup, but it failed to make Bobby Deol twitch. This Deol is equivalent to the everlasting plywood; heat, water, sea wave, microwave, brainwave – nothing can deter this Deol from his everlasting pursuit for being wooden beyond Treebeard. Coming to think of it, Peter Jackson could have saved a lot of money if he had used Bobby Deol instead of the half animated, half whatever monster creation for his Lord of the Rings. I dread myself as I type this, but Bobby Deol could actually have brought ‘life’ into Treebeard. Ah the humanity!

Bobby Deol is one actor who almost always have gotten it wrong. If he had played a soldier in any movie other than the one titled Soldier (Abbas Mastan dread alert), his part would have been passé at least. But this particular soldier had to crack jokes and flirt and dance and romance, and; oh, this one is huge, he had to act drunk. Now acting drunk is not that big a deal; any Hindi movie Hero worth the generations before him can do a drunk scene in their sober sleep. But Bobby Deol was notches above being drunk. He acted so drunk that the effect transcended on me and I started feeling a little dizzy. Leaving all that, I seriously believe that Bobby Deol nailed his acting skills (on its head) in his portrayal of Bhagat Singh. In one very emotional scene, I believe I could see his fake moustache shake a little. Now before you start accusing me of blasphemy, this is just my opinion, you can go through the torture of checking it yourself if you don’t believe me; talk about a catch-22 situation.

Exhibit B - Upen Patel

This guy is not really bad when hes being interviewed, and that was when I first saw him talking and moving and ‘emoting’. Guess this guy needs some really chilled down atmosphere to bring out his histrionics skill. There are a few things that Bollywood heroes need to survive. First is a good physique. Second, will be good dancing skills. Third is something we are ready to give time for improvement if found lacking; that’s acting skills. Upen Patel has a good body (ok ladies, stop ooh aah-ing). Before I even get into his acting skill, I want to stop by his dancing skills. Now this guy would be beaten in a dance competition by a two legged drunk hippopotamus in knee-deep water. Maybe Upen Patel has too much wood, oops muscles, in his body (girls, once more, please stop that). The guy worked out a lot and hence lost the capability to completely bring down his hands to his body; which is oh-so-essential when it comes to dance in Bollywood.

This Patel boy has a dimple, no no its not the cute John Abraham-ish dimple. This one is a chin dimple. If you have the bad luck to catch Upen Patel in a DVD or something to that extent, make sure you zoom in on his face during a scene which requires acting skills. Below is a little guide to deciphering the acting skills of Upen Patel:

Scenario 1 – Chin Dimple is the size of a mini-disc

Emotions portayed – Extreme anger, sadness, astonishment, happiness, loneliness.

Scenario 2 – Chin dimple is the size of a 2Rs (Indian) coin

Emotions portrayed – Loneliness, sadness, astonishment, extreme anger, happiness.

Scenario 3 – Chin dimple is the size of a cellphone numeric key

Emotions portrayed – Happiness, loneliness, astonishment, sadness, extreme anger

Scenario 4 – Chin dimple is the size of; where the hell is the chin dimple

Emotions portrayed – Sadness, extreme anger, astonishment, loneliness, happiness

Now now, I can go on and on about the furnitures exhibited in Bollywood; but it requires a lot more time and space. But in pure Bollywood style I declare, the forthcoming attractions hold a lot of promise with:

- The lead protagonist of a movie shot entirely in slow motion (yes, it was a Really Grave Vision)

- An actor who could make us laugh when we were supposed to be scared and made us flee theaters with his emotions.

- The offspring of a jumping jack who rarely jumped himself.

- And a mixed bag of other artistes who almost made the list, but then again redeemed themselves.

All this and more, in days to come.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Father - Your First Super Hero

My childhood was filled with questions of all kinds. I think most of our childhood is the same. We see something and we want to know what, why and how. We don’t have the patience or the ability to actually go ahead, research things and find answers to what troubles our mind. My Amma (Mom) had once told me while discussing Calvin and Hobbes, that a kid’s brain is mostly used creatively; to create martian landscapes and superhero dens, all in the comfort of your living room. All the logical reasoning and analytical skills (which I still haven’t mastered – thanks to CAT for putting me in perspective) haven’t quite realized its full potential. So at this time you see a postbox and your mind creates this implausible assumption about it working on principles of ducts and vacuum cleaners; at least I did. So where is that masked superhero who has answers to all our questions? Tada! Suuuuper Dad to the rescue.

Dad (‘Acha’ for me) is your wikipedia before internet existed; before encyclopedia existed; hell, before you even started to read. Well, we all came to know as we grew up, that maybe he didn’t have answers to all your questions. He is not exactly what you would call a Super Hero either; but when your curious mind falters at all levels trying to find an answer that will put an end to the alarm of curiosity ringing continuously inside your little head, he comes to the rescue giving answers, even if made up ones.

It is sad to know that, we slowly stop admiring him, after a while we start teasing him for not catching up with the world (“Geez, why do you type so slow?”) and ofcourse, give it some more time and you will start hating him for coming into your personal matters. You will resent his fatherly advice when he tells you about your weaknesses. Be it your maths classes or your romantic relationship, Dad’s words of wisdom becomes a not so keenly awaited one.

Even through all this torture, he shows amazing work ethics (if fatherhood can be considered the least rewarding of jobs) by being there for you, when you come back home fighting with the neighborhood kids, or when you flunk your midterms and expect a major whipping from Mom. It is amazing that he completely understands how to react in situations where we are completely helpless to change things. You broke something means you broke something, scolding for lengths and punishing will not really change the laws of time and bring it back; though a little of it will remind you to be extra careful the next time round.

Its amazing how Bill Watterson got it perfectly right when depicting the Dad in Calvin and Hobbes. The way situations act out in Calvin and Hobbes seems almost autobiographical to me. He (Dad) gives explanations to all your questions, without saying he doesn’t know. He never really stamp out the creative lantern that is burning bright inside your head. When you grow up, you realize world and forget fantasy. It’s a great thing that Calvin never grew up. Sometimes I wish even I was stuck in an eternal cycle of being a 6 year old. But then again, it’s the losses that we face in life that makes us realize that, well we have lost something. If there is no chance to think and realize what we have lost, we never come to appreciating it in its truest essence. And if life didn’t make this cycle of first being a kid to your Dad and then a Dad to your kid, you wont ever probably realize that, even if your Dad wasn’t a super hero, he was one hell of a super human being.

Dedicated to the most ubercool Dad in this whole wide world: My Dad

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Art of Lungi Draping - Origami With Clothes

Disclaimer: The author of this is a certified Mallu® (pet name for residents of Kerala, God’s Own Country). Any retortions made against this article will be retorted back with coconuts.

Origami is a Chinese hobby of folding a square piece of paper in various steps to create different forms like animals or certain abstract art when you go wrong somewhere. Basically its one of the most tedious and least rewarding hobby you can find. You take a square piece of paper, fold it again and again, and you will get a shape and you will in all probability have to label it as a crane or a duck. Trust me, the crane can also be labeled as an Eagle or the very latest of American fighter crafts and we still would say ‘Oh yes… it does resemble a crane (or eagle or jet)’. After all how many of us would want to actually put up paper art in our shelf or mantles.

Origami though has found a remarkable patronage down south of India. The same principles of origami is used in Kerala (and other parts of South India), for one of the most versatile piece of clothing called Lungi.

The differences between Lungi and Origami are manifold. One of the immediate difference you can see is in the material; when Origami uses paper of predominantly a single color, lungi1.jpglungi1.jpglungi is made of clothes like silk and cotton whiclungi1.jpglungi1.jpgh has colors that the regular graphics adapter in our Computers wouldn’t be able to display. (refer picture)


Another interesting fact about the lungi is its basic simplicity. It is a rectangular piece of cloth with no buttons, zips or stitches. Thus lungi brings out the artist in the wearer and the look that you get with a lungi is primarily the craftsmanship of the wearer and not an expensive tailor. Folklore has it that Gucci and Versace tried desperately to ape the lungi, but the Mallu® clan never gave away the secrets of the perfect lungi drape.

The lungi, unlike other clothes can be manipulated (or folded) to different forms to suit a marriage function or a street fight. Yes, the same lungi when folded in different ways brings out respect as well as fear. It can be substituted for a well stitched formal trouser as well as a very relaxed boxer shorts for you to laze around.

Kerala is an amazingly hot and humid place. Necessity always being the desperate mother of invention, thus forced the Mallu®s to find style and solace in a lungi. The basic ventilated system that a lungi provides is ideal for the climatic conditions found in Kerala. Though people from cold climates be warned, wearing a lungi in cold places will be like skiing downhill in your boxers. Nike’s AIR range of footwears uses a rather shoddy copy of the lungis ventilation. That alone should be proof for the superiority the lungi enjoys in comparison with other lesser garments.

The lungi is wrapped around your waist, with a little more taste than when you do the same with your bath towel, in its most basic form. Lift one of the bottom edges of the lungi up to your knees and the lungi magically becomes relaxed formals. This brand of lungi wearing can mostly be found in marriage functions when the lungi wearer adapts to the crowd that surrounds you for better maneuverability.

Lift the lungi from behind just pulling the cloth bit above your knees and the lungi becomes the perfect dress when you have to ride your bike. The way the ends of the lungi flap when you ride away to glory is bound to enthrall the senses of all the fairer sex who maybe watching you in admiration. The different folds of the lungi also ensure in this case that the lungi sticks to you without revealing too much. Ace circus artistes of Cirque du Soleil tried the bike riding stunt by wearing lungi and failed miserably.

The most relaxed and commonly found form of lungi is the boxer shorts lungi. In this form, you wear the lungi in its basic form, and then lift its bottom edge upwards and tie a knot with the two corners somewhere around your waist. This will basically halve the length of the lungi, and the lungi itself will take a rather puffed form around your thighs. This is best when you are lazing around in the comfort of your home. (refer picture, also note the Martian colors of the lungi)


The manifold (many ‘folds’) uses of lungi cannot be summarized in a small article. In fact there exists a Kuttan Ikka Encylopedia (available only in lungiback editions) dedicated to the history of lungi, art forms evolved from lungi and a discussion which actually states that origami is an inferior adaptation of lungi draping because the Chinese of that time haven’t discovered silk yet.

Lungi is thus an oft ignored and criticized art form which doesn’t have many takers outside of Mallu® land. Lungi bonds with the wearer more than regular dresses where the dress becomes more important than the person. All lungis might look the same, but then again, the artistry of the wearer makes it the classy or relaxed wear it becomes.

Khoya Khoya Sensibilities

After No Smoking (which unfortunately went up in smokes) the next movie I watched First Day was Khoya Khoya Chand. The movie requires an extensive knowledge of the Hindi Movies of yore to be completely understood and appreciated, hence a review is totally off my limits.

But there are few things that struck me, outside of the movie, but still inside the movie hall, which seems to show us this SAD state of affairs. SAD here means Short Attention-span Disorder, and this seems to be what is plaguing the new age Indian moviegoer. I am not saying that I am an intellectual guy and the rest of them in there were morons, but at some point they did seem to act like a baby who didnt get farex on time.

The audience is always the best judge of a movie, because it is for us that the movies are made. But the audiences these days seem to need this very McDonald-ish fast food kind of treatment from the movies. We seem to enjoy only one brand of movies, and that is the mindless comedies floating around. We need every scene to be a laugh riot. If we dont laugh through a movie we dont enjoy the movie. If we dont enjoy the movie we are not gonna pay for the movie. Its plain and simple principles.

When was the last time a movie which doesnt exactly leave you smiling did well in the box office? Beats me. To analyse the reasons why our sensibilities have changed is quite beyond me. If we look at the pattern from the movies which has done well, we can see that comedies, mindless or otherwise works. Star power holds atleast the opening. Eklavya was thrashed by most of the critics and was a movie I thought did not do so well in the box office either, but even that movie shows a 10 Crore plus revenue. Movies like Dhol and Dhamaal also earns well past their production cost and is labelled Hit. I watched Dhamaal and tried my best to like it, but the movie succeeded over my earnest of efforts by providing shit after shit after… well shit; what else where you expecting from a movie which has Javed Jaffery in suspenders throughout.

Movies for us have become like Archies Comics; short and funny. Dont give us too much headaches and help us laugh a little, even if it means the lead actors have to catch pizza slices falling from ceiling for like say 10 mins, we are ready to take it. If there are stupid faces, slapstick buffoonery or anything which has the ‘noble’ intention of being funny, we will pay for it. I dont really mean to say that comedies are bad. There are good ones with the heart at the right place; like Partner. It was a funny movie and a good funny movie at that. Coming from David Dhawan we know this will be mindless one and we get a mindless comedy which makes us feel good inside. Unlike Heyy Babyy in which lead actors make stupid faces and cracks the worst of sexual innuendos which passes off for comedy.

I really wonder if there were any potential classics made in this period and was completely lost thanks to the sensibilities or the lack there of, of the new age Indian moviegoers. I wonder if a Mughal-e-Azam or even a Sholay was to be released in this period would find any takers. This year was one where there was a lot of experimentation from new age movie makers; a few of which succeeded (Bheja Fry, Johnny Gaddar, Black Friday) and others which failed in the Box Office (Manorama Six feet Under, No Smoking - funny Anurag Kashyap features in both the sides). Even the comeback of Madhuri Dixit with Aaja Nachle couldnt quite dance to the tunes of the Box Office. We as movie goers have become distant from enjoying emotions through movies other than those that tickle the funny bones. With Khoya Khoya Chand, it seems yet another movie with good sensibilities and artistic values is being pimped out to the Indian movie viewers only to bow in front of the cat calls and jeers. In pure Hindi film tradition, I feel like protecting these wonderful movies before they face humiliation in front of the audience by shouting:

“Basanti, in kutton ke samne mat naachna.”

Monday, December 03, 2007

Progressive Bangalore

When there are human rights activists in USA shouting equal rights for gays and lesbians, Bangalore seems to have taken the call into its own hands, or, err... flex boards. The picture below is taken from a gully near BTM Layout and shows how we have progressed atleast in matters concerning choice of sexuality. Proclaiming it loud and clear is the Photography cum Marriage Hall decorators of BTM Layout.
PS: I always thought wedding decorators and guys who are too involved in womens fashion (like hair dressers, designers and sometimes photographers) to have a homosexual mannerism. This just puts it up for the world to see, loud and clear.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes - A Comic Strip Appreciation class

I know it bores people to pay much attention to something ‘trivial’ as comic strips. But why is Calvin and Hobbes so much better than the rest of the comic strips out there.

Let us take a look at the above Calvin and Hobbes Strip and the Garfield strip.

If you look at the Calvin and Hobbes strip, you notice that there is actually nothing funny in this. The Garfield strip on the other hand works on a particular step by step process.

All the regular comic strip follow a particular routine so to speak:

1) Setting (here it is Garfield’s owner calling him)

2) Buildup (the stress given to the calling becoming higher)

3) More buildup. (Same as above)

4) Final buildup. (Maximum stress given to the call)

5) Catchline. (Meow)

If you look at the Calvin and Hobbes strip, there are certain things that sets it apart; let me try highlighting it here:

1) Notice the size of the panels. It is never the same size throughout. Bill Watterson (author of Calvin and Hobbes) sets the frames of his strip according to the scene which he is trying to depict. Few frames in consideration here will be:

a. Last frame in the second row. Here Calvin is deeply observing Hobbes sleeping. The frame depicted here is like a camera focusing tightly on the scene. It shows how cuddly Hobbes is when he is sleeping, and also shows the bright face of Calvin who is happy to have a friend like Hobbes.

b. Second ‘frame’ last row. Actually there is no frame for this strip. Within the darkness around Calvin and Hobbes, there is the light that is their friendship. This is like a picture postcard kind of scene and Bill Watterson do not want to put a frame around it to take the life out of it.

2) Now the story:

a. Actually there is no story: Calvin is scared of dark, but hes happy hes got Hobbes around; so, tell us something new.

b. It is the way Bill Watterson puts it across to the reader. He just builds the story up (about Calvin’s fear) and puts the story slowly to rest (about his happiness with Hobbes) and what is like a Grandmother’s fairy tale kind of climax of ‘and they lived happily ever after’. All problems in the world has a solution; and its almost always a simple one.

c. If you have read enough of Calvin and Hobbes to have understood the personality of each character, you will feel a warmth when Calvin says ‘Good ol’ Hobbes. What a friend.’ And he says it when Hobbes is actually not doing anything; hes sleeping remember. This just shows how beautiful true friendship can be.

I hope I did not bore you with all the details, but it really shows why grownups (many of them) are such huge fans of Calvin and Hobbes.

Hail, Bill Watterson, because he did something beautiful for everyday of his life from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saawariya - Poetry @ 24fps

I swear all you Sanjay Leela Bhansali haters out there, I went in to watch this movie wanting to hate it. It was a desperate choice as I did not get tickets to Om Shanti Om. Initially I preferred not to watch any movie if the only option available to me was Saawariya. God deals terrible hands sometimes, and then with the same hand you hit royal flush. Well if not a royal flush, Saawariya turned out to be quite a nice hand dealt by the one above (movie projectionist).

I watched Black after hearing a lot of rave reviews about it; the performances, music and what not. I was so disappointed with the movie that I painted my TV white to get the bad taste out of myself. Black was where the magnificence of Sanjay Leela Bhansali was totally uncalled for. Sanjay Leela Bhansali directing Black was more or less like a wedding coordinator handling a funeral ceremony. It was grim and dark and brooding, but it was also fantastical, if for the lighting, the sets, the costumes and the snow that falls from the sky, just like that.

With Saawariya, Sanjay Leela Bhansali does what he did so marvelously with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas, though the latter was a wee bit over the top what with each character mouthing their 1001 definitions of love. Saawariya is a true blue fable, as Gulabji (Rani Mukherjee) needlessly inform us at the onset of the movie. Bhansali takes over the reigns from there and pulls us through this wonderful Neverland (which in its full 'spectacular' view appears like an oil painting) with characters that are all white; yes, there is nothing called a black or gray in any of his characters. They are all angels sans wings.

Initially, when I read about the movie, I thought I would feel seriously claustrophobic with his flamboyant sets eclipsing out a real world that exists somewhere out there. But Bhansali's tone of blues and greens are so magnificent, I felt like strangling someone when the door was opened to let the light in as soon as the end credits started rolling. The sets are really breathtaking and have been done with intricate precision as to the swooping curls on the walls or the staccato footpath or even the design on a lamp shade. I wonder why people criticise Sanjay Leela Bhansali of being opulent. If 30 Crores can be put into use for creating this, I really don't mind. That money in my opinion can be seen in every picture perfect frame of this movie. When the DVD of the movie is out, freeze the frame on Raj's (Ranbir Kapoor) guitar and you would know why.

All great works of art can seldom be appreciated without a human angle to the whole proceeding. The mega debutantes of the year despite my earnest attempts, conquered my heart. How can your heart not melt when Sakina (Sonam Kapoor) laughs out loud? Or Raj, when he hides hard realities from Zohra Sehgal (I really didnt get her name, it went something like Liliput or Lily Pup) over a phone conversation, his voice is filled with excitement and ticklish joy, but his face and eyes just shouts at us the despair and the frustration inside him at that moment. Rani Mukherjee with the over-the-top sensuality of a street walker is again beautiful, and her eyes are so magnetic that I wish I got stuck to the screen during a closeup. The only creaky wheel in this ride might be Salman Khan. No offence to Salman Khan and his fans or anything, he was good, but I just couldn't see full-of-life Sakina falling for the kohl-eyed terminator-styled dialogue delivering Imaan. I would have appreciated if Sakina falls head over heels or long strands of hair over even more long strands of hair in love with someone who was a bit more full of life; the least he could have done to justify it maybe to, ahem, smile? Maybe I am asking too much, maybe opposites attract, maybe I just don't know the world enough.

The music of Saawariya is beautiful in its own self, but Sanjay Leela Bhansali transforms them into visuals so serene and vivacious he just tugs your heart with them. There is a scene in the beautiful 'Jaan-E-Jaan' when Raj extends his hand to Sakina. Sakina pulls herself back just as the song drains itself out of color and the frame pulls back to show the distance between the 'lovers'. The outlandish romantic that I am, I could feel the pining Raj feels inside. The whole movie is like life choreographed to perfection. I never knew jumping across or around or on puddles could ever be made into a romantic jig. Though I must tell you, 'Jab Se Tere Naina' with all the flailings of the towel, made me realise why there are neon signs and not any person for Raj's neighbours. From the cinematic angle its a notch below eroticism, though I cannot really imagine what the neighbour's angle might have shown.

I dont force anyone on their choice of movies, and for a whole lot of us who have been fed Dhol, Dhamaal and Heyy Babyy for a long time, getting to savour such a movie might be rather difficult, as was apparent with the out-loud proclamations some of the others in the theater had at the end of the movie. But this is one time I wished people would acquire a taste for slow movies rather than at-your face comedy or next-plot-twist-here kind of screenplay. Alas, the humanity.

Oh, there is someone that I want to emphasize on a little more. I had just given her about 5 words in this whole writing, but there is one character who I loved so much I am willing to give my life for her, and that is the absolutely fantastic Zohra Sehgal. She is such a bundle of wrinkled up joy that you just wish you could hug her. In one scene, Raj echoed what was shouting inside my mind from the first time Zohra Sehgal appeared on screen in the movie.
Zohra Sehgal... 'WILL YOU MARRY ME?'

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bangalore's Hottest Selling Condom

People who have come here looking for information on how to get condoms round the clock, the answer is Sagar Apollo 24 Hour clinic in Indiranagar. The one opposite Jyoti Nivas college, though it still has a board which says 24 hours, its more like 14 hours. Someone told me they had installed a condom vending machine and it got vandalled. Thats the end of post for condom seekers; the rest of the pleasure seekers (corny) please continue reading.

Before I set out describing the attributes of Bangalore's hottest selling condom, let me protect my blog first, it needs this condom; and badly.

There, that should keep it safe for my blog. I think it also would have answered the hottest selling condoms part.

The biggest buyers for this condom seems to be Garuda Mall. They have a hundred of these stuck or hung on the huge glass panes of the mall lest some Dick tries to send one through (stone).

I mean, seriously, what does this flag actually signify? You stick it outside your building, which might even be Bangalore's largest showroom for lingerie and its like an unwritten treaty which says 'have flag wont flog'.

Before writing this post, I had serious notions if I am upsetting people's sentiments by writing something like this. If you do have a bruise or two thanks to this post, I ask you to look around Bangalore city. Come Kannada Rajyotsava, come Diwali, come Rajkumar's birthday these flags sells like hot cakes; or condoms. To ensure that the money they have invested on their building is safe from the fiery red and orange anger of anything non Kannada.

The way this flag is being used in Bangalore is more or morer like a soldier trying to hide under his coutry's flag fearing a wave of rounds fired at him.

It can be seen everywhere in Bangalore. From outside the IT glasshouses that dot the Bangalore landscape to the posh clubs like Fuga. It is the insurance policy that gives the best for your money, and which also seems to work like a charm. I can almost picture big shots deciding on opening malls discussing how to display the flag outside their building. Should it be hundreds of small ones which will be visible from all around, or should it be one big tribute in the form of a flag post and the flag, which shouts 'we have a place for you, and you let us be in peace'.

I have a very realistic fear that if at all the Americans decide that, well we have enough of money put into Bangalore, lets buy the whole place, they would come dressed in Orange and Red. And well, comeon, they cant harm us. See they are wearing the outlandish combination of Orange and Red. That means they support us, even though they look like the offspring Mars had with Jupiter during one of their Jamaica nights of passion.

I dont know if many people read my blog, but I do know that not many people read my blog. If at all you happen to come across this blog and feel that I have insulted you in more ways than one, accept this apology. If that doesn't work and you are still pissed, heres the rubber; again, just to 'rub' it in.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Nirvana.. I've fulfilled them all...

I have been madly promoting a few movies which i thought would be a welcome change to the way Hindi cinema has been lately. After having Heyy Babyy (or whatever its newmerawlowgicalli correct name might be), Dhol, Dhamaal and the many other sad excuses for comedy, we had in a very short span of time Loins of Punjab Presents, Johnny Gaddar, Manorama- Six Feet Under, No Smoking and Jab We Met. Of all this I sinned twice, and one I had missed completely. But I am dead sure that I will getting the DVD of all these because all of them are good for repeat views.

So how do I start? Let me tick the first one off. No Smoking.
Anurag Kashyap, the man behind Black Friday; the man behind Paanch which thanks to a very culture rooted stand never saw the day lights, or rather the darkness of an Indian cinema hall. I was waiting for No Smoking to hit the screens for a long long time. First day, 7:30 show, straight out of office and into PVR; I hit No Smoking. Monday morning, all ready for the gruelling work ahead, just had my breakfast, idling with a smoke in my office smoking zone, No Smoking hit me; and I still havent gotten over it. No Smoking is a haze. Its twisted and dark like a jalebi made of tar; and should i say it will be equally sticky. It stuck to my mind, and I am sure that no matter how much you booed at this cinema, how much you cribbed that your cut of salary which you have given to PVR to watch this movie, this movie is not going to leave you for sometime. Somewhere in your deepest thoughts I am sure this movie will make you think, now what the four-letter-word was that. I am not here to decipher No Smoking or give a review of it, but its a terrific watch; at least for me it was. My next nirvana will be a more or less literal one. I want to go grass and hit the theater and watch No Smoking. For people with similar interests (grass) i suggest you do the same. Dope up and hit the theater and watch it. This is the trippiest Indian movie ever. End of story.

Next up, is Johhny Gaddar. And this is where I sinned. I have sold myself to the system. How I managed to do that and about the movie. Maybe in another post. Coming Soon...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bangalore Rain God is an American

Thats not the end of the story. It is an American Rain God who supports outsourcing. It is a dense American Rain God who supports outsourcing who believes that some Indian or the other will be here waiting for his orders round the clock. What else explains the impeccable timing of the Bangalore rains which starts as soon as our daily work is supposed to end?

Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath, look outside, not a bad kinda place at all. Its not sunny, its not hot, neither is it too cold. Throughout the day we sit in our cubicle forest which has temperature regulated so that the brownies breed (read work) fast. Through the blinds the outside world is just a rumble of motors on the crowded Bangalore streets. You rush through your daily work, email forwards, occasional chats, frequent smoke trips to close in on the much waited 6:00 or 6:30PM only to hear the slow crackle of rain drops hitting hard against the thick glass walls of your office.

The crackle is the worst part; if you can hear the crackle means its just a notch below a possible hail outside. Your 9 to 6 work schedule just became extended by atleast an hour.

Wanna fight this American Rain God who makes you work additional hours everyday? The intention is really a vain one. Like any other Capitalist American worth his daily burger, this Rain God has some big hold on the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. The BMP has conducted extensive research in collaboration with NASA to invent the world's most successful anti-drainage drainage system. It works in the reverse of Einstein's theory of relativity. The technology behind this drainage system is so advanced, last week, my neighbour's 2 year old baby took a leak on the road side and the whole Koramangala 6th block was flooded. Thanks to the overall color of Bangalore drainage water, no one really knew the difference. Half an hour of rain in this town means traffic snarls all around the city (I rephrase; worse traffic snarls than we are subjected to daily).

So you see, this rain God is a very powerful one, and we might as well buy a couple of boats, three life jackets and write to our HR asking that beach wear be allowed for guys and made mandatory for females during this dreaded season. I know the last part doesn't have anything to do with all the rain, but lets make hay when the sunshines and ogle around a bit when the sun does not shine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Great Indian English Challenge - Part 3

House of Comfort which sells wooden coats and matel coats. This is what Raymonds should always have been.

Monday, October 15, 2007

HELP!!! Am going bald!!!

Well, my hair fall is still in the greenish yellow territory; not yet in red danger zone. But this is not because of natural hair loss. I am pulling my hair in utter disgust thanks to my not so sensitive left mouse button and my painstaking efforts on Adobe Pagemaker. I really cannot get head or tail on that thing. If anyone has any tips on pagemaker or know a site which gets you free pagemaker newsletter templates, please do post and help.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Great Indian English Challenge - Part 2

Yes my dear kuntry fellos. The chalenge kuntinews with even more kreyative spellings. Phew, I cannot keep up with the competition. I just wish I could take the sack off the pic to unearth (or unsack) even more marvellous ways English can be used in India.

Power of Chants

Aah... where were these when I had always wanted? No matter how much i defend myself against the so called religious customs, I always believe that there was a good cause at the start of every religion in this world. Somewhere during human progress it became more of a command than a choice.

One thing I like about Hinduism is the incredible power the chants can generate. I have felt it when I visit a Hanuman Temple near my Home in Kerala. It creates such an uplifting energy inside you. Same is the case with one song that never ceases to incite a calm energy into the soul. It is a song called 'Shiva Shiva' from the malayalam movie called 'Samam'.

Today, during a visit to Landmark, Forum Mall, Bangalore I chanced upon an album called Sacred Chants. They were playing a song (stotra) from that cd and the arrangement immediately got me hooked to it. I got three volumes of Sacred Chants and they have a really amazing value for money. The arragements are terrific and rarely overshadows the chants which are the essence of this collection. The music arrangement is done by this folks called SEVEN (Franco Simon, Sangeeth and Stephen). I stand up and applaud. Though the arrangement do get a bit high at certain places. Especially there was a track in Volume One which starts off like a perfect Church Choir kind of song. These can ofcourse be forgiven as this is one really well crafted album. Buy it if you are really open to ambient music or if you have an ear for stotras.

(Sacred Chants is released by Kosmic Music and must be available in your nearest music world, planet M or Landmark)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great Indian English Challenge - Part 1

I went inside thinking I would get a great bargain; instead I smelled something fishy, make that sweaty. Whats there between an 'a' and a 'c', after all its all pronounced the same. Clock cloak, coke cock. Still havent found a sign saying Cock-a-cola.

Requiem for a Dream

I'd been wanting to watch this movie really really bad for the last couple of weeks and I finally got my hands on it yesterday. Watched it without a blink through those mighty hard cuts and the swift edit montage. I wanted to write something about it. But really cant think of what to write.
How can you go to a funeral and comment on the decor of the place? Someone has actually put an effort to make it all look good. But an effort which needs no acknowledgement and which wont get any. Just like this movie. No comments.

PS: If you want to watch it, go ahead but at your own risk. This one is really depressing.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Funky HairDos from Bangalore

Move over Javed Habib, Ponnuchami BSc, BTech in funky hairdos from Annamalai Chennai is here to stay.

This picture was taken near Christ School Bangalore in a 'lowly' Barber Shop.

Monday, October 08, 2007


This is not a photoshop gimmick... there is actually more than 20 signboards in this road which says 'Horn Not Ok Please'.

This is taken near The New Horizon School in Indiranagar, Bangalore.

Ramp Up (read Vamp Up)

Finally... my ass was glued to the cheap plastic chair when I realised that my blog was rather shabby and needed an FTV scale makeover. I had always wanted to this but never really could get myself to it. Now that it has been, it definitely feels good.

Dope has not been that easy to get these days thanks to no doping-gangers. It has really been tough times what with me moving into a new house all alone. If today my toilet malfunctions, tomorrow its the turn of tap. Somewhere it does not leak where it should (those are the taps) and somewhere it leaks where it should not (thats the roof). I am, though, in rather good company in my dingy way of keeping things clean, with the little cockroaches that flutter around. Seriously though, lifes not all that bad.

It has been difficult to blog with all these problems happening around me. Work has taken a full 365 degree swing back at me and I find myself spending more than 12 hours working these days. Sincerity, commitment, dedication to work; I hear all these words thrown around for us to work day in and night out. Let me try help these managers here with a better perception; human rights violation. I realized that if you go to office everyday, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of whats a Monday and whats Friday. Monday ho ya Sunday, it becomes, just another day in the office for a tiger (no wonder they are endangered).

There are sweet little cookies I have kept at the sidebar (now at the right), one of them being a comments tracker and another being a visitor tracker. I fear that these will be huge morale downers. Updates to these would probably come during the next purple-moon and blue-mars combo sighting predicted to happen on Feb 34th 201A (hexadecimal).

Keeping aside all the cribbing and blabbering, this time round, I take a stringent shapadh (English: vow) that this blog of mine will be updated as often as I can. You guys please keep coming and please comment often. I like to see those comments ticking and not trickling.

PS: Do check out the post below with pictures that I had taken during a trip to jog falls.

Jog Falls Trip from Office

Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Music Review- Awarapan (2007)

Cross border friendship between India and Pakistan is something we have all been yearning for. I would say in no other field has it been as successful as in the music industry. From Junoon to The Call we have been mesmerized by their style of music which is a delightful blend of Sufi, Qawwali and good old Rock. The music of Awarapan stands as a tribute to their contribution; lets hold our breath here; as ALL the songs are Pakistani originals which are rearranged by our very own Pritam.

First up on the list, we have Toh Phir Aao sung by newcomer Mustafa Zahid. Newcomer is a rather false title to be given to this talented lad, as he is the lead singer of the Pakistani rock band called Roxen. Toh Phir Aao, visits the album in three avatars. The Toh Phir Aao (Original) is a beautiful masterpiece of the band Roxen. Sung magnificently by Mustafa Zahid, he takes us through a ride of high voltage mushy romance with good aid from lyricist Sayeed Quadri. Toh Phir Aao (Lounge Version) bags total credits to Pritam to show what a music arranger can actually do. He takes the same tune and lifts it into a very ambient realm with some amazing synth sounds and accompaniments.

The next song in the album is again by Mustafa Zahid, and this time he comes up with Tera Mera Rishta. In first listen it is a very ordinary kind of tune with some very Chinese instrumentals backing it up. But give it a second or a third and you can sense the singing of Mustafa taking you over. The way he sings the title part of the song itself is worth every second of the song transformed into solid gold. Guys, do try singing this song and you can see why the rendition is especially difficult. Two down and the album is already worth your greens. But wait, we have more.

Playback singers sometimes go rather unappreciated. They need to have more than just a good voice and faultless pitch. This is evident in the song Mahiya which is sung by Suzanne and another version (which is also a DJ Suketu Remix) sung by Annie. Annie is the original artiste of this song and it goes to show how much of infectious charm and energy she has put into it. I personally find most of the Hindi and Tamil songs which has English lyrics interspersed to be rather annoying. But this one is a welcome break, as it is cute. It is strawberry candy cute. It has a very catchy and fast paced tune, with lyrics singing about a girl who’s waiting for her Prince Charming (yes, Emraan Hashmi with a horse’s mane). The lyrics effortlessly move from English to Hindi. Arrangement-wise there is not much difference between the original and the remixed version, but I would go for the remixed version any day so that Annie’s rendition brings a smile to your face.

Maula Maula is a very traditional Qawwali song which has some very bare minimum accompaniments. Its rendered in the usual full throated Qawwali style by Rafaquat Ali Khan. A very situational number, Maula is a break from the power packed track list found in the album till then. Nevertheless it is a must listen for the Qawwali lovers amongst us.

Like all hindi movie albums, this one also has its set of remixed versions. The remix of Toh Phir Aao is easily the best in the pack with DJ Suketu packing in the beats for this otherwise very emotional number. The remix is a decent one, but thanks to the innate energy packed in the original number, this is one song that will be seen moving to the top of the charts soon. The slickly shot promo video for this song which features the band Roxen, Emraan Hashmi and DJ Suketu, ensures that this song will become a rage pretty soon, if not already. The other remix we have in the album is that of Tera Mera Rishta. With some offbeat English vocals, this remix really cannot do justice as a floor burner. It sticks more or less to the original tempo of the song and really cannot drive you to dance. Again, it’s the beauty of the original that holds it on for this particular remix as well.

To summarise it all, Pakistani music is what Himesh’s should have been. The tone, construction and ambience of almost all the Pakistani artistes are remarkably similar. But somewhere in there lies a very pure musical form which never makes us really tired of it. We had Junoon doing it for us in 1998s, Strings in the 2000s and with Awarapan, it definitely looks like Pakistani artistes have established their foothold in Indian Music Industry, and that too for the good of all of us.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Blind Man's Wall

There is this movie in Malayalam called Guru. It stars regional superstars Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi in some of their different bests. The movie is a very personal favourite of mine as it shows the problems faced by mankind in a very offbeat kind of visual analogy.

The movie is all about how human beings have lost its inner being to external influences like religion and end up killing each other. They don’t realize the existence of the inner being and refuses to believe in it. This might be a rather complex idea to convey through a movie. But what the movie does is to send the protagonist, Raghu, into a fantasy land where everyone is blind from birth.

Raghu knows the reality, that there is another sense called sight, and that everything around you has a colour and a visual shape that you have to see.

But how will anyone ever get convinced about something which’s existence they are oblivious to from birth. They see Raghu as a threat to their existence but decide to give him a test to prove if he actually has sight. All he has to do is to identify a person in front of him without touching him. Simple you might think, but it wasn’t so; and this is the philosophy from the movie that had the most profound effect.

The man who Raghu has to identify is behind a wall. Raghu being chained to a post has no way of identifying the man, but what is even worse; he cannot explain anyone his failure. What is obstruction of vision to someone who doesn’t know what vision is? How do you explain it to them? Imagine how much sense it would make to you if someone says there are things you cannot see through, when you actually don’t have a clue about what seeing is.

This is not the essence of the movie but forms a very hard hitting part of the movie. The same philosophy can be used for many a subject in our world.

We are sometimes so used to mediocre things in our life that we become oblivious to good taste. Many a money minded businessman takes our lack of good choice to shove things down our throat or through our brain which we might not actually need.

Our lack of a drastic change of perception is taken for granted. We get so used to mediocrity in our daily life, we cannot just tolerate it when someone comes to us and says what you are having is no good. There are better things, it is totally different, it is this! You look at it and you think, its different, but is it better? Your judgement becomes totally controlled by the fact that a change, that too major one in your fundamentals and choices, doesn’t really account to something better.

I have to wash my hands clean before going further with the discussion to say that, opinions are very subjective. What is good or bad is totally upto the person. But what we should not do, is to NOT try seeing the other side of the picture. When you say something is good, just see how it can be bad as well. Whatever outweighs the other will emerge the clear winner.

The above statement is true for all the art forms. I agree, art is very difficult to be judged, because it depends on one’s taste. But mediocrity in art forms are there for everyone to see. When we don’t expect too much, the world takes advantage of it and shoves mediocrity into you through popular art.

Take music for instance, we are treated to the Himesh Reshamiyya for ages now. I know I have gotten tired of his sound. And I know many others have as well. But the people who pay him for his songs think that we will take it. And somewhere, it seems, his music is taken by people. I try to judge his music from the other side. I try my best to like it.

In the end I come up with the conclusion that the music is mediocre, his sound is irritating and overall everything is just so repetitive.

This is just an example. For us to like or not like Himesh’s music is a simple choice. But what when it comes to your making a choice as to what is good or otherwise, on something you have believed to be a part of you for a long time; for such a long time that you really cannot think outside of it. That’s where I feel the real effort should come into play.

Why don’t we open our perception on anything and everything so as to see both sides of it. I am writing this blog thinking that writing down my thoughts help me identify with myself. Lets try to say for sure that it is bad. Writing is bad! I know it sounds drastic and probably is not true. But there can be places where the other side which you have so seldom seen might prove to better in the long run of things.

I didn’t have the novel ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand in my head when I started writing this. But once I finished, it seems, that’s all what Ayn Rand had tried to convey through her book. Struggle for believing in something and facing the odds of the world to show that what you take for granted right now need not be the best, there can be better things out there. THERE ARE BETTER THINGS OUT THERE. Why don’t we just open ourselves are try to see everything.

Every single vision have multiple perceptions. Every object can be viewed from an infinite number of angles. Every problem have many different solutions. There is nothing linear in this world, except for maybe the linearity of life. But never is there anything called linearity of choices. Choose, choose different. Choose the unthinkable. You really wouldn’t know where the correct choice might be. Let us break the wall that hides us all from a truth which is out there; a truth which might be blurred or hidden, but a truth that nevertheless, is there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Buggy Ride

Long long ago, it dawned in the mind of a dubious entrepreneur that a rickshaw can be motorized. Thus began the era that we all would like to call as AUTORICKSHAW- THE TORTURE YEARS.

Actually, it was a boon for many of us; in small towns, autorickshaws became a very cheap and convenient way to get across to places. But it was not so when it came to the metros; especially a metro that we are so accustomed to, Bangalore.

The creative mind of whoever came with the yellow and black color scheme for the Ricks must in fact be having a pleasant dinner in hell; or he might still be stuck somewhere in the labyrinth of Bangalore traffic, doesn’t make much difference does it. The sight never escapes you and brings nightmares to you even in broad day light; the shiny yellow and black bug of doom.

With the IT boom they realized the full potential of the spending power of IT employees. Hence started what is a remarkable cost-market analysis which reaps in benefits for them by the day.

Autorickshaw and the Entrepreneur on 3 wheels

The business strategy applied by the auto drivers can put any of the managers in an IT firm to shame. The effective processing of data like traffic congestion by the hour on any route, the effective necessity and the possible spending power of the customer is evaluated in what is timed as two head bobs of the driver. More complex calculations which involves extra monetary addition to the regular fare makes the auto driver to shrug his shoulders twice and contort his face to show how tough a decision he has to make. This will be followed by a low frequency hum of approval or just plain at-your-face rejection when he just zooms ahead. If your request is blatantly incomprehensible to the intellect of the driver (like a trip which will only cost you minimum fare) he murmurs something like a cow having a bad case of diarrhea and zooms off with a wave of his hand which in turn questions your intellect.

One is danger, a herd is a threat to your existence

The scenario discussed earlier is of a single of the species. Your existence in this beautiful world can be in question if your misfortune brings you to negotiate with a pack of drivers. Like a well lubricated parallel computing system, the ground premises are laid well ahead of your arrival; the expenses, possible routes and the ‘right’ attitude. If you find one driver in the pack rejecting your request there is no point wasting your time asking the rest. Collectively, they will manipulate your decision making process to accept their exorbitant request of maybe four times the amount you might have actually spent.

The Rickshaw Man and his Sixth Sense

Unlike us mere mortals, auto drivers do not rely on worldly senses like sound and sight. Though provided with equipments like mirrors, indicators and horns, they rely on something hugely superior to all this; THE SIXTH SENSE. It is what we might call a gut feeling; the auto driver just feels this sense tingling in his brains which will help him decide to take a turn or just stop the ride. His apparent carelessness and lack of awareness of the traffic is a mistake from our part, as we fail to realize the years-ahead-of-time technology and sadhna which goes into the mindset of the auto driver.

Club Auto- 24 hrs open party destination

This is a sub species of the general Auto irritatious group of creatures. This one is found especially with trance inducing hypnotic ‘disco lights’ of blue, green and red. The timing and pattern of these blinking lights are so created to put the rider into a state of trance where his normal senses cease to exist for his own aid. This is usually accompanied by dhinchak kind of music which not just keeps your foot tapping, but gives an occasional tap (read knock) in your heart that by the end of the ride you have just had a near death experience. Though the music might be thought as inferior to our regular senses, the lyrical value of these is an unquestionable assault to our senses. The speakers used in these autos will put any club in the city to shame, with their effective reproduction of bass, and nothing else.

Club Auto is also known as UFOs

Many a foreigner in their trip to India has mistakenly identified the Club Auto as a UFO sighting. The out of the world directions in which the auto seems to travel and the color lights of these are quoted as the main reason of this deception. It is rumored that almost all of the UFOs supposedly stored in Area 51 of USA is actually different type of Autorickshaws abducted from various parts of India and Indonesia. The ingenuity which goes into the making of these remarkable vehicles have puzzled the Americans to wits end and they have concluded that these ‘UFOs’ use technology highly advanced from our so called state-of-the-art.

Idol Worship and Space Marketing

The regular auto drivers of Bangalore city are on a spiritual level above the regular religious customs. They idolize and worship a long haired, bearded movie star in Kannada film industry popularly known as Uppi Dada. The dedication shown by them into this worshipping effectively makes them behave like a Super Star on three wheels.
Also to be noted here is effective space marketing campaign of these Autos. A popular product review website called apparently enjoyed a 200% increase in hits per day because of this effective mode of marketing. For the auto drivers though, more than just marketing, it was a mode of communication to effectively reach out to the customers as if to say, if you don’t like it, better keep your mouth shut…. Dot com.

Necessity is the Mother of Doom

Apparently for us mortals even after all these tortures, has to depend on the yellow and black three legged buggy driven by the monster behind the ‘wheels’. In this crowded city, where you can rarely enjoy a two wheeler ride, thanks to Bangalore’s contribution to the ongoing debate on green house effect and the ice caps melting, and few of us can afford the luxury of a four wheeler, or even take the burden to drive one down the city, these three wheelers provide adequate relief by providing us shade in this dusty hot city. But like all ‘good’ services in this world, we should realize that, nothing comes for free here. If we take it, make sure we pay for it, a tad higher than regular meter rates though.