31 January 2005

Quite contrary to the eariler responses to my bangalore rants, i got a totally different response over the weekend.It is too early to say the impact it is going to have on me but from a humanitarian viewpoint it did strike a chord in me.But the totally relistic moron that i am, i am thinking of viewing it from a non-emotional angle to judge its impact.
Negative journalism ! My My intresting response indeed !
I could'nt get myself to run the half marathons but did the remaining activites i had been planning to do over the weekend !

Posted by Unknown at 9:56 AM 0 comments

28 January 2005

ladies and gentlemen please welcome the new format of the blog.in all probability i may not be changing the template of my blog anymore.im so damn impressed with this !
this has allowed me to provide comments, the tagboard etc.im also quite happy with the color.so after about a year of sticking around with my old template, please extend a warm welcome to the new template !

Posted by Unknown at 4:12 PM 1 comments

yipee the weekend is here.its not i slogged out the week so as to celebrate the weekend but still im happy.
things to do over the weekend :
1. run the half marathon on both saturday and sunday
2. get my usual visit to the { you know where :-) }
3. get some more papers to read up for my research { that's a tough one i agree }
4. wash some of my clothes !

Posted by Unknown at 11:23 AM 0 comments

27 January 2005

oh well i saw the movie tirupachi yesterday.being a vijay's movie you need to go into the movie hall with your brains packed and sealed in a separate jar so that you can restore it back at the end of the movie.however this movie was totally trahs than the other ones ! i mean madhurae, gilli etc were pretty much better than this one.the villains were pathetic, the character sketching was horrible.man makes me feel why i went for it in the first place !

Posted by Unknown at 8:16 PM 0 comments

25 January 2005

the tirupathi trip was a real eye opener for me in many ways more than one.what is so special about that temple that makes ppl forget hunger, their bodily functions etc and wait for something like 72+ hrs in a queue, from which you cant even come out if you feel like, and yet get a darshan of he diety for just say 10 or so seconds ? who hyped up that temple to this extent ? why is it that there is so much of a crowd there ? i dont know.probably i see it this way coz i dont believe in god.but still this rankles me.or is it just me who is asking these kind of questions ? i think this is a difficult question to answer ! anyway life moves on :-)

something which i kept thinking will happen has started to happen.the people from rural areas of karnataka have started cribbing about lack of water supply.but then again what else will happen when the senseless idiots of bangalore wash even their cars etc in the precious piped water supply ? why dont these guys install borewells or something ? mark my words this is heading to a definite crisis.of course you don't need a nostradamus to forsee this.plain common sense would do.

on a more unrelated note i find it pretty heartening that school students have started being aware of the sourroundings they are living in.In a landmark protest that is sure to have made our president Kalam proud, the school students of bihar have started a state wide protest against the kidnapping of one of the school students.they are now trying to bring the country's attention to the pathetic law & order situation that is existing there.way to go kids.im indeed extremely happy that this is happening.

Posted by Unknown at 10:45 AM 0 comments

24 January 2005

just back from a trip to tirupathi ! will write up a entry sometime around. got something to finish off so will be back later !

Posted by Unknown at 2:45 PM 0 comments

21 January 2005

supposedly there's some bandh going on here in bangalore ! intresting point is i think it is a flash bandh as there was no intimation in any of the newspapers.not that i read the newspaper fully but still.the shit TOI did not also carry any item about it.
im off to tirupathi for the weekend.the last i was in tirupathi was precisely 10 yrs ago.btw there is a museum in tirupathi opposite to the temple.if you get time do see it.birilliant place and worth seeing.

Posted by Unknown at 10:11 AM 0 comments

20 January 2005

cooking @ house got a kick start yesterday.called up home and asked mom to courier up some sambhar powder.damn.got so much used to it that cooking with anything else tastes like { you know what ! :-) }.made a pretty decent sambahr of radishes and fried out some potatoes for theside dish.must say that the potatoes came out pretty ok but the sambhar left much to be desired ! im back to being the chef after about close to 2 yrs ! the last i think i started cooking way back in mid 2002 ! no cooking for all of aug 03 - aug 04 and now back to it.
im not a gr8 cook.in fact im not even a good cook.cooking is an art and it requires patience.im aware of that ! patience i have in abundance but artistry ? that is what lacks me ! but ya the one thing i have in abundance is taste buds ! those too have got dimmed thanks to that shit called mess food that i ate when i was in REC-Trichy.so if there is one thing i can do perfectly in the cooking department that is pointing out the mistakes !
PS: dont even dream of me inviting you over to my house for lunch/dinner what-so-ever. i dont like torturing people :-)

Posted by Unknown at 11:13 AM 0 comments

19 January 2005

i had a huge ego inflation this sunday.the review i had written for swades is finding mention in so many places { thanks to the internet ! }.but that is not all.the Hindu on sunday had a review. what infalted the cockles of this vain heart was the fact that the reviewer had used the words "karva chauth" the same words that i used ! ah well i do know that so many people may have used it but please allow this ego inflation ! :-)
to read the article go here and in case you are not able to read it the full review is here :

We, the viewers

How we reacted to "Swades" showed us up for the people we are, says SHEILA KUMAR

I WATCHED Ashutosh Gowariker's ode to social service, "Swades" with a sinking heart. Oh, I liked the film, flawed though it was. In what is getting to be a Gowariker trait, it was a simple story told at its own pace. The humour was so gentle that it appeared positively fragile at times. The angst suffered by the protagonists (and yes, the heroine was as much a protagonist as the hero) was throughout suffused and, therefore, diluted with pragmatism. If the screenplay dragged at times, well, a steady diet of Malayalam art house cinema has taught me that a good story just cannot be hurried along. The music, surprisingly for Rahman, left much to be desired but that was okay.

The point was, after what seemed a never-ending diet of karva chauth epics, films that told improbable stories interspersed with music that seemed more Punjabi than Hindi, pureed applesauce in fact, "Swades" was a film that asked people to observe, understand, empathise, to feel. Which, in today's times, is asking a bit too much.

Strange age

And that was why I watched the film with a sinking heart. Because I knew instinctively that "Swades" was going to tank at the box office. Where films like "Murder", "Hulchul" (definitely not one of director Priyadarshan's better efforts) and "Aetraaz" did relatively well, the tale of a returned NRI working to better living conditions in an obscure village in the hinterlands wasn't going to push too many buttons.

This is a strange age we live in. An age where people prefer to be fed ideas in the form of brief gossipy capsules; where Page Three has slowly and steadily eclipsed the editorials; where the quickest introduction to the beautiful melodies of yore comes from their remixed version. The bold and the beautiful have become the brash and the bizarre and despite sinking TRPs, the saas-bahu serials get more attention than does a good book. But naturally, this affects the cinema we prefer to watch, too.

Just as we are fashioned by our character traits, by our communities, by our upbringing, we are pretty much what we believe in, too. And so, we are how we react to a film like "Swades".

Today, it would seem we like to coast through life in the easiest lane, "chilling" so much that certain issues that ought to light a fire under us, leave us cold. The concept of hard work is not alien; it's just that hard work is now the means to a definitive, lucrative end. Concepts, as a matter of fact, have turned into sound bytes. The quick fix is the best fix there is; struggle of any sort is anathema. We've taken the adage that the consumer is king, so much to heart that we are reluctant to relinquish that sceptre. Bisleri is the way of life; water in a kullad is the strange one.

Standards of decency

And in this cycle of consuming, producing, partying, and plain and simple living well (which, when you think about it, is anything but plain and simple), we've pretty much thrown overboard something that used to be at the core of us all: the belief that we are all inherently decent human beings (not studs, dudes, babes and bombs) capable of doing something meaningful, capable of making a difference to lives other than our own. We've been chasing standards of living so hard that we've chased the standard of decency off the road.

Of course, the karva chauth films do splendidly well. All the viewer is asked to do is to sit back, acquire a big tub of buttered popcorn and watch three relentless hours of People Unlike Us making of their lives one big party. If problems crop up in the lives of these candy floss characters, and yes they do, (they are people too, though unlike us) well, these problems are overcome on waves of emotion using a theory that completely relegates intellect to the background or the dustbin, whichever is more handy.

European cinema frequently raises the dumbing-down complaint against standard Hollywood fare. However, Hollywood does, once in a while, produce decidedly unpretty films like "Mystic River", "Iris" and "Monster". Films that throw up controversial topics, make the viewer sit up, think, and go home from the theatre still thinking. The karva chauth line-up makes the viewer think too, but on a different track: will SRK's hair colour suit me, should Kareena have appeared in that shot sans conditioner and should I trade my Lexus for a Bentley like the one Amitabh rode in.

Way we see films

I am not condemning the work of people like Yash and Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar or Farah Khan. It is not my contention that information must needs run on a parallel track to entertainment. Tamil cinema has, for years now, proved that theory wrong, seamlessly melding thought-provoking ideas with impeccable artistry to make for crackling good mainstream cinema. Bollywood, though, has yet to crack that formula, though Gowariker's debut effort "Lagaan" was one exception.

It's not the films we see, it's the way we see films. And so, of course the story of Mohan Bhargava will bore us. "Highly improbable story, yaar," one youth tells his mates as they leave the cinema hall, and I stifle a wry smile. Improbable is what I had termed the karva chauth genre. I'm tempted to stop the young man and tell him about the likes of Ramesh Ramanathan who quit a good job in the U.S. to come home to Bangalore and work for that city's betterment. Or the two young men who did likewise and helped set up electricity in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh. I'm tempted but I won't tell them. Because what I have to say will bore them, too.

Doing what Mohan Bhargava did may not come easily to many. However, watching his story being told on celluloid, and appreciating it for the nobility of purpose at its core, that oughtn't to be too hard. Oughtn't to be, but alas, it is.

Indeed, we are how we react to what we see. Whether that is a tsunami-affected coastline almost at our doorstep. Or the story of Mohan Bhargava.


Posted by Unknown at 10:58 AM 0 comments

18 January 2005

there's a controversy brewing here in banaglore over the permission given to benny hinn for conducting a faith healing.there are accusations flying LRC { left, right, center ! } as to how the permission was given.what beats me is the fact that i have been seeing haording for this meet right from october onwards.why is it that the authorities did not investigate at that point of time ? why are we acting at the last minute ? this attitude of postponing things till the last minute must stop !
bombay marathon is now done with.the scene now shifts to the madras marathon which strangely does not find all that mentioning ! god knows why ! anyway in all probability i will be a part of the madras marathon.however finishing the 42 & odd km in around 2.5 hrs is difficult.my training is for 3.5hrs ! hope the organisers wait till i cross the finishing line.i an determined however to cross the finishing line and that is for sure !

Posted by Unknown at 8:58 AM 0 comments

17 January 2005

been to madras for pongal.had a pretty tight weekend ! caught up with friends from my vivekananda college days ! it was so much fun.got to known my motherland madras in a new light { truly so - by the night :-) }.checked out murugan idly shop.if you want idly's that melt in your mouth that is the place to be !
shall upload some pics sometime around !

Posted by Unknown at 1:46 PM 0 comments

12 January 2005

have you listened to the song paadum vaanambadi from the movie naan paadum paadal ? if not go over here and do so right away.This movie came out in 1984, 20 years ago and still sounds stunning.listen the bass guitar strumming away in the background and the violins in the foreground.Raja is truly awesome in this one ! The other aspect of this stunning song is that god SPB's voice.man what modulation.He simpy blows you away.
To be frank i dont know if rahman's songs will last for 20 years.but then it has lasted for 10 so might as well do so for another 10.
One of my friends recently told me that this is just a phase.10 years down the line some other music composer might come up and at that point of time we may find rahman's music stunning.

Posted by Unknown at 9:12 AM 0 comments

10 January 2005

Its not often that i write reviews for movies, much less for hindi
movies. However once a while a movie comes out of that cauldron called
hindi movies that makes you sit up and take notice of the fact that in
such days where designer jeans, DKNY campuses and london shown as
rampur exist, movies that still keep themselves close to reality can
be made. Swades is one such movie.

I will not go into the nitty-gritty details of the story here.Just
that shahrukh khan comes over to india from america with a plan to take
his foster mother back with him. He is persuaded to stay back for a few
days and in those few days he undergoes a transformation. He also
manages to find his lady love in the process ! Any avid watcher of
hindi movies can predict what would be the ending.

However what sets this movie apart from the other rigmarole are these:

1. After a long time shahrukh khan tries his hand at acting.In
general in almost all his movies we see him hemming and hawing his
way with a head that seems to be stuck on a spring and always
bobbing. He aquits himself well throught the movie. In fact right in
the opening scenes his body language makes it easy for you to
understand that everything is not right with him.He lives his

2. You could ask that when all the villagers are wearing clothes
that seem village like why is the heroine wearing brightly colored
sarees ? Well then you are made aware of the fact that she was
educated in the city.Thankfully the director has not made her wear
jeans !

3. The heroine, a new find Gayathri Joshi does pretty well almost
throught the movie except when she has to emote. Somehow you dont
feel the emotion in her ! She needs to improve in that department.

4. We live in the days when we see ladies around us wanting to marry
guys settled abroad, why even their parents seem keen to do so.
Kudos to the director for sketching a strong character which refuses
to follow the current line, and instead is prepared to give up her
love for what she believes in. You are made aware of the character's
beliefs right at the start when she rejects a proposal that forces
her to stop working.

5. Some of the dialouges are simple and yet convey a strong meaning.
Like when khan is about to leave his village he apologises to his
new found friend that he is not able to take him along with him
currently. The reply his friend gives is pretty intresting.Or when
his project manager says "Are you aware what you are loosing ?" To
which khan replies "I am aware what i am gaining!".Also listen to the
heroiens explanation of what a government is.

6. The director has made an attempt to highlight some of the issues
that plague us even today, education and the caste system.

7. The songs merge in effortlessly with the situations and most
importantly you are not transported into dreamland with thousands of
extras gyrating away in outlandish costumes. The mozart of madras,
A.R.Rahman does not disappoint in this count. However you are left
with a feeling that he could have left the synthesizer alone for this
movie and tried with natural instruments.There are a few metallic drones
in the songs that give away the synthesizer.

8. The background score is good is many parts and inappropriate in many.
The great Illayaraja once said that silence is the most effective
background score that can be given. Rahman seems to be learning that.

9. Almost all the supporting characters have come out with good
performances particularly the postman and the cook !

10. For the technically inclined you could ask questions like : Does
microsoft excel exist for apple notebooks ? { notice a scene when
shahrukh khan uses it ! } or is there enough inflow into the
water-tank to guarentee constant outflow of water to run the generator ?
These kind of questions are immaterial !

Finally if you are looking for pure entertainment do not venture
anywhere near this movie. This movie is pretty slow paced and needs
to watched with a lot of patience.

Thank you Mr.Asuthosh for venturing out to give us a movie like
this. Your movie may have failed at the box office. But dont worry.
You can make a movie that is set entirely in new york, or a movie that
depicts karva chauth, or whatever and get back what you have lost
financially by making swades.But it is for this film that you will be
talked about for a long time to come !

It is upon us to encourage film makers like these which will change the
way people look upon our movie industry, from an purely entertainment
oriented one to that which can also make movies of substance.

Posted by Unknown at 11:16 AM 0 comments

07 January 2005

a.r.rahman's birthday went by.radio city as usual hyped it up to the maximum extent. firstly let us agree { even he does ! } that he is not as good as raja { illayaraja }. this is what i think the difference awarness makes ! lots of ppl are aware of rahman but not raja.however listen to any of the 80's compositions of raja to understand the difference.{ one such stunning example is the song meendum meendum vaa from vikram.briliant instrument arrangement }
anyway rahman is a king in his own right.he did bring about a certain new sound to his music and in general to tamil movie music.he is trying his best to make sure his tunes reach a global audience which raja sadly lacked.
chandralekha from thiruda thiruda stnads out in its use of cymbals, the drums.it is indeed a mind blowing song.i can list quite a lot of them here.
he does seem to have reduced his tamil movie and in general movie compositions.i mean he is doing like 7 or eight movies year with a few in tamil and hindi.
compare with raja who was doing something like 40+ movies a year for around 15 succesive years !
comparisons apart i guess even raja is finding it difficult to get a fan following :-(
so let us agree that raja was a king in his times and rahman is a king of the current "fast food" times !

Posted by Unknown at 8:57 AM 0 comments

05 January 2005

two posts in a single day is something i dont do but as the saying goes : "exceptional news items demand exceptional actions".so here it goes :

The Karnataka State Scrabble Association is hosting a Corporate Open Scrabble Tournament at the Karnataka Badminton Association on Saturday, 8th January 2005 where they are inviting over 100 corporate houses in Bangalore to play for the ‘Corporate Championship Trophy’. Full-time employees representing any recognized corporate house in India can participate either in their individual capacity or can be nominated to play on behalf of their company. Entry is free.

The KSSA has also announced that outstanding players in this tournament will get a chance to represent India in the International Open Tournament that they are conducting in Bangalore between 14th and 16th January, if they meet KSSA’s qualifying requirements.

The International Open Tournament is Bangalore’s first and India’s biggest International Scrabble tournament with over 80 participants including 35 International players from countries like UK, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India contending for a total prize purse exceeding Rs.2,00,000/-.

One of the big draws of this International tourney will be the presence of Nigel Richards, who is among the world’s best in this game, competing.

To register, please send your entries by email to viv.jones@igate.com

so in case you are planning to participate dont hesitate to mail me in.i shall participate as long as i dont get anything else important to do.

Posted by Unknown at 12:01 PM 0 comments

im now refreshing my two wheeler riding skills.plan to buy one shortly.nothing special except that commuting to college and office by lifts and buses is taking too much of my time.not that i have too many things to do but that time could be put to better use i guess .as of now i have shortlisted honda unicorn.if you are sure that i must change my choice let me know with valid reasons as to why ! { i chose this after about a 6 month survey :-)}. so thanks to my ex-colleague vichu for helping me out in refreshing my driving skills.ya i know driving in this hell hole called bangalore can be quite risky and un-nerving but then there are a few things that are in my favour:
1. i guess i have crossed the age of ettu-pottufying { read doing figure eight's.if you are tam you will understand that :-) }
2. In general even if i drive a kinetic honda you can hardly see me crossing 30kmph.
so i guess i shall survive.

and this is a poem i got in the mail for the new year :


Little joys unbound
Leave us spellbound
Little mirth of life
Puts away our strife

Little grace in steps
Puts our life into peps
Little time for others
Never dies or withers

Little thoughts shared
Are mighty acts dared
Little unknown action
Gives real satisfaction

Little gestures of love
Is what matters all above
Little wishes that are warm
Adds to our life a charm.

So my dear friend, ur little wishes worked
It spelled magic on my heart and lurked
Sometimes u say the best when u say nothing
And yet say a lot when you write just one thing
Like a simple way u used to say a hello
just soothed and raised things above mellow
Next time u feel like ur heart and soul wincing
Get down to ur sense flowing and start writing
You will never know whose life u r making
U will never know tht small smile escaping
Let words springforth from our hearts world
Like the beauty of the entire universe unfold

what amazes me is the choice of the words.i mean i read a lot of poems these days where the words dont rhyme.its more of a spoken words arranged together.but this one rhymes perfectly and yet makes a lot of sense !

Posted by Unknown at 10:34 AM 0 comments

04 January 2005

These are some pics { taken with a camera phone and hence of poor quality :-) } of the besant nagar beach taken on 1st January.That being a saturday normally this beach is fully crowded with atleast 5-6k people.Look closely and you can see hardly 5-10 people.

We were quite brave to venture out to the sea according to the cops there ! what bravery ? the sea was very calm !

more so about a month back i was jogging on the same stretch of the beach.It had a 2ft high embankment or something like that.That is now wiped clean.You can also see the dead sea turtle which you find normally in the deep seas.That should give you a magnitude of the churn in the ocean !

Posted by Unknown at 9:34 AM 0 comments

03 January 2005

happy new year to you all out there ! the tsunami relief work is going on gr8 guns.for god's sake my only request to the politicians is please dont make a political issue out of this.if possible you too can pitch in with whatever you are able to !

Posted by Unknown at 1:54 PM 0 comments