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Sunday

My world is safe

A city under siege

Airports closed following bomb blasts
My family wading its way through all this

They are now here - safe and sound
My world is safe

Now I will breathe out
and look at the news with renewed anger

Thursday

M.G.R

M.G.R crept into my consciousness this month. I've been trying unsuccessfully to identify the source. Maybe it is one of those binaural beats reinforcing obscure memories of the great leader. However, I do remember when I decided to blog about him. My cousin quizzed me on what M.G.R stands for? Even while answering her, I guessed that not many Thamizhians know the answer to that. M.G.R has transcended from being just his initials to being the only name people know him by. To this day there are pockets of voters who cast their vote to the MGR party irrespective of who's name is actually on the ballot. I've started reading up on him the past few days. Answers.com, Mayyam.com and a host of other blogs have documented a wealth of information on him. Here, I've tried to note some sort of a trivial pursuit - essentially facts about M.G.R that I have re-discovered/discovered during these readings.

M.G.R stands for Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran. My twisted memory had it as Maruthapalli Gopalakrishnan Ramachandran. Apparently his producers called him Maximum Guarantee of Return.

He was born in Sri Lanka.

M.G.R has married three times. His first two wives died of illness before he married divorcee Janaki.

IMO, he is the only politician of recent times who has donated all his wealth - to the poor and the hearing impaired.

The national anthem of Vietnam is a modified and translated version of Kannadasan penned M.G.R acted song "Adho andha paravai pola vaazha vaendum"

M.G.R has directed at least two movies - "Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan" and "Madurai meetta Sundara Pandian"

The Dumb Charades staple movie title "Kulebhagaavali" is actually an Urdu name "Gul-E-Bhagavali".

During his heydays "En Kadamai" was the only flop.

He was given the nickname 'vaadhiyaar' for the preachy movies and songs that he made. I used to believe that this nickname had something to do with his physique.

It is possible that M.R.Radha was also shot at during the infamous incident. However, M.R.Radha was arrested for shooting at M.G.R.

His trademark hat and glasses were possibly there to cover a declining hairline and poor eyesight respectively. For a long time, I was under the belief that he had a gun hidden under the hat. I don't know who fed me this information. Could be one of those things that kids like to believe. Maybe he did have a gun... who knows?

MGR3zzaa

Tuesday

Mani Ratnam and WOMM

I continue to be impressed by the word of mouth marketing surrounding Mani Ratnam movies. Unlike your staple Kollywood or Bollywood fare there is no grand press release or announcement surrounding his projects. The first time you hear about them is through totally insipid news bites. It is almost as if the journalist is weaving a bigger inconsequential story around a flimsy piece of information. Consider the news item from Indiaglitz:

Rumors are on that Prithviraj has been approached to do a villain in a Manirathinam flick that stars Vikram and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles. Abhisek Bachchan plays the hero in the Hindi version and Vikram replaces Prithviraj as villain.

The rest of the article seems to be built around this miniscule information. There are other news articles which have both Prithiviraj and Vikram sharing screen space with Abhishek Bachchan. Another article questions Prithiviraj's decision to essay a negative character.

Today, Rediff claims a second Mani Ratnam movie titled Ravan with the customary question mark at the end of the news header.

Abhishek-Ash as Rama and Sita?

The article speculates on a movie starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai while passing in mention the untitled bilingual movie of which no one has any real information about.

If this is word of mouth marketing, then it is functioning at the highest level. Stealth mode marketing - buzz surrounding a product that no one knows anything about. Just enough to stir curiosity without really giving anything away. How does he manage this?

WWF message to save polar bears

 

 

 

 

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Vice President, Membership
P.S. One very effective way to help save wildlife is by becoming a member of WWF's Wildlife Rescue Team today. Get a FREE t-shirt when you join today! You can also learn more about the many ways WWF is working to save the polar bear and other animals, when you visit the new website created exclusively to support this urgent campaign. Thank you.

Monday

Innovative Background score

Atonement turned out to be a brilliant movie. A simple tragic love story which gets epic status due to the World War II era it is staged in and its background score.

The singular roborant soundtrack by Dario Marianelli is out of this world. Particular attention must be paid to the effective use of the typewriter as a musical instrument. The typewriter motif is used as the signature theme for the central character of Briony. Briony, through the course of the movie, is an instigator, a catalyst and sometimes just the narrator. What she is, in essence, is a writer. The typewriter is her 'weapon' of choice in all instances except two - once in a tranquil setting by a pond she uses a pen and in a much more intense setting, in front of the police, she uses her mouth. In all other instances, her fantasies are rallied through a faithful typewriter. The movie brilliantly uses the rhythmic tapping of the typewriter whenever Briony takes a bow. I am guilty of not reading Ian McEwan novel the movie is based on. Just from watching the movie, it feels like the typewriter was designed to be a natural extension to the character of Briony by the author. There are many instances in the celluloid world where innate objects become an integral part of a story. Briony's typewriter should rank among the top of those imaginative creations. There is an equally brilliant use of an umbrella banging on a car to lead the audience out of an emotional scene.

When a slightly older Briony travels in a train in the middle of the movie we are invited to a re-rendition of the typewriter piece. Briony is lost in thought and is staring vacantly at the camera (perhaps at the stations passing by). The cinematographer gets into the mix as the light and shadows of the passing stations dance on her face to the tune of the typewriter motif. Light also comes into play when a weary soldier trudging through a dark murky forest takes a break, breathes in and a wave of sunlight caresses his face only to disappear when he reopens his eyes to reality. A wonderfully crafted scene.

The cinematographer also has a field day when given the opportunity to can a seemingly continuous five minute shot of three soldiers walking through the stranded army at Dunkirk beach. This trick is of course out of vogue now but gives an interesting view point to a crucial passage of play.

As a side thought, I have been trying to recall instances of songs are background scores that make use of day to day sounds. I could immediately recall "பருவமே (Paruvamae)" song from Mahendran's நெஞ்சத்தை கிள்ளாதே (Nenjaththai Killadhae) and the use of the train whistle in Mani Ratnam's தளபதி (Dhalapadhi). Ilaiyaraja being the man behind both those scores.

I am sure there are more out there. For now, I am wishing that my keystrokes translated into music...

Friday

Rajinikanth facts

On the eve of Kuselan's release, an open challenge to Chuck Norris.

Rajinikanth is not Kuselan but you will go to the movie for him

There is no I in team but there are two in Rajini

Rajinikanth can cook Maggi in one minute

Rajinikanth built the Himalayas for his summer retreat

FDA has warned tomatoes to avoid Rajinikanth

Light travels at the speed of Rajinikanth

When Rajinikanth rolls a stone it gathers moss.

Rajinikanth understands chaos theory and hence Dasavatharam

Rajinikanth has offered to acquire Microsoft

The world decides what to do each day after reading about it in Rajini's blog.

Wednesday

சௌந்தர்ய லஹரி - an introduction

ஆதி சங்கரர் பரமேஸ்வரனின் அவதாரம். மௌன நிலையில் இருக்கும் dhakshinaa மூர்த்தி தான் ஷங்கரர் உருவில் வேதங்களுக்கும் உபநிடங்களுக்கும் விளக்க உரை, ஸ்தோத்திரங்கள், வrதம் எல்லாம் பண்ணினார்.

ஆசார்யாளை ஈஸ்வரன் அம்பாள் இரண்டு பேரும் சேர்ந்த அவதாரம் என்று சொல்லவேண்டும். காரியம் இல்லாத பிரம்மம் சிவன். தக்ஷிணா மூர்த்தி ரூபத்தில் உள்ளே அடக்கிக் கொண்டிருந்த சித் சக்தியான அம்பாள் சங்கரர் உருவில் வெளியே ஆவிர்பவித்து இருக்கின்றாள். மாதா, பிதா, குரு என்று சொல்லுகின்றோம். ஜெகன் மாதாவும் ஜெகத் பிதாவும் சேர்ந்து இப்படி ஜெகத் குருவாக அவதரித்து இருக்கின்றார்.

இந்த உலகில் அனைத்தையும் நடத்தும் ஷக்தி பரப்ரஹ்மம். நிர்குனமான அறிவிற்கும் அப்பாற்பட்ட பரப்ரம்மத்தை உபாசிக்க முடியாதவர்கள் அதன் சக்தி இடம் மனதி பக்தி மார்கத்தில் திருப்பிவிட்டால் ஆத்மா ஸ்வரூபத்தை பற்றிய ஞ்யானம் பெற முடிகிறது. இதை அனுசரித்து பகவத் பாதாள் பக்தி மார்கத்தை ஞ்யான மார்கத்திற்கு பூர்வாங்கமாக வைத்து போஷித்தார். பாரதம் முழுதும் புண்ணிய ஸ்தலங்களுக்கு பாத யாத்திரை செய்து அங்கங்கே யந்திரங்களை ஸ்தாபித்தார். ஆலய பூஜா கிராமங்களை ஏற்படுத்தி கொடுத்தார்.

'சௌந்தர்யா லஹரி' ஆச்சார்யாரின் ஸ்ருஷ்டிகளில் உதித்த உன்னதமான பக்தி இலக்கிய காவியம். பகவத் பாதாளின் பிரதீபா சக்தியை காட்டும் சிதரமான சிருஷ்டி சௌந்தர்ய லஹரி தான். இந்த காவியம் சிகரினி என்னும் மீட்டரில் அமைந்துள்ளது.

சங்கரர் கைலாயம் சென்று பார்வதி பரமேஸ்வரனை தரிசித்தார் அப்போது ஈஸ்வரன் அவரிடம் ஐந்து ஸ்படிக லிங்கங்களையும் ஒரு சுவடி கட்டையும் குடுத்தார். சுவடியில் அம்பாளை பற்றிய நூறு ஸ்லோகங்கள் இருந்தன. பஞ்ச லிங்கங்கள் அரூப்பமான ஈஸ்வரன் அம்சங்கள். மந்த்ரமயமான ஸ்லோகங்கள் நூறும் அம்பாள் ஸ்வரூபம். ஷங்கரர் ஈஸ்வரனின் அவதாரம். கொடுத்தவர் (ஈஸ்வரர்) வாங்கிக்கொண்டவர் சங்கரர் (ஈஸ்வரர்) வாங்கிக்கொண்ட பொருள் (அம்பாள்) ஸ்லோகங்கள் எல்லாமே ஒன்று தான். இதிலே அத்வைதம் த்வைதம் இரண்டும் கலந்து விடுகின்றன. பஞ்ச லிங்கங்களையும் ஸ்தோத்ர சுவடியையும் பெற்று கொண்ட சங்கரரை நந்திகேஸ்வரர் வழி மறித்து அவர் கையில் இருந்த சுவடியை பிடித்து இழுத்தார். ஐம்பத்தி ஒன்பது ஸ்லோகங்களை நந்திகேஸ்வரர் தன்வச படிதிகொண்டார். இழந்த ஐம்பத்தி ஒன்ட்பது ஸ்லோகங்களையும் கையில் இருக்கும் நாப்பத்தி ஒரு ஸ்லோகங்களை சேர்த்து பூர்த்தி செய்ய வேண்டும் என்பதே அம்பாளின் ஆக்ன்யை போலும். கடல் மடை திறந்தது போல் ஷங்கரர் அம்பிகையை கேசாதி பாதமாக வர்ணித்து பாடி நூறு ச்லோகனகளையிம் பூர்த்தி பண்ணி விட்டார்.

நாம் அம்பிகையிடம் நீங்காத நிஜ பக்தி கொள்ள வேண்டும் என்ற ஒரே பலனை உத்தேசித்து சௌந்தர்ய லஹரி யை பாராயணம் செய்தாலே போதும். அவரவர் அனுபாவம் பக்குவம் படிப்பு பண்பு வாழ்கை நிலை ஆகியவற்றை பொறுத்து ச்லோகங்களுக்கு ஏராளமான உள் அர்த்தங்கள் தோன்றும்.

I saw 'The Dark Knight'

The joy of seeing a movie that exceeds the hype is the reason why I keep going back to the movies. Well, that and being surprised by a good movie that doesn't have any hype preceding it. As usual, as for any movie that I keenly anticipate, I avoided reading the reviews. I kept hearing the word 'awesome' in various forms by critics and casual bloggers everywhere. They were all right. I mean, it is a seriously good movie. To me, these days, a movie is good when you don't pause to think about the actors but only see them as the characters they portray. The level of over exposure of actors and even directors is highly distracting. Admittedly, it was a bit tough during this movie as Heath Ledger's face came to my consciousness a few times. I found myself trying to look past the calculated cheap make-up of the Joker. I think anyone will be hard-pressed not to do that. Despite that, you still get lost in the Joker character. This is a remarkable achievement by the director. I keep going back to the director. I wish I could soak in some of the thrill and pride he will be feeling right now. Christopher Nolan has delivered one of the best movies that I've seen. I personally think that he has reached the zenith of his career. He took a franchise that had dwindled down to a farce. He rebooted it with a vision that only an auteur can have. Psychological thrillers are his forte and he found the template adequately matched in the Batman world. What more can he possibly plan to achieve?

After restoring some faith in the Batman among the movie going public with Batman Begins, he has now assaulted our senses with a great follow-up act. I was particularly impressed with the casting. There are no show ponies here. The two movies (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) are filled with character actors giving additional authenticity to the movie. Even the actors who tried out - the actors who auditioned for various roles in the movie and ultimately didn't make it - are greater talents than the staple Hollywood fare. A positive trend that hopefully will have more actors and less tabloid darlings headlining good movies.

The director's vision has been accompanied by a level of sincerity to the viewing public. It would be hard pressed to find a movie buff whose faith in 'The Batman' is not restored.

Finally, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. I can hear the theme music when I close my eyes. It has somehow got itself embedded into my sub-consciousness.

Friday

10 Lame Excuses For Missing THE DARK KNIGHT This Weekend

10 Lame Excuses For Missing THE DARK KNIGHT This Weekend | SpoutBlog

I reproduce this specifically for Mr.Domer who uttered the careless statement "I don't care much about Batman" and went on to say that the trailer was 'disappointing'.

Reproduced from the original SpoutBlog entry by Christopher Campbell



10. You Didn’t See Batman Begins - This should be a decent enough reason not to see TDK, except that apparently it’s not really necessary to see the previous installment. I’ve seen TDK called better than BB, I’ve seen it called The Godfather Part II of superhero movies and I’ve seen it called the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise. But more importantly, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere (or maybe I dreamed it) that TDK should be where Christopher Nolan’s take on the series begins. So just retrospectively consider BB a prequel.



9. You’re turned off by all the marketing - Sure, the Dominos pizza boxes and the Comcast ads were a bit much. And even before all the promotional tie-ins arrived, the different marketing strategies were obnoxious. But just think: if The Dark Knight doesn’t
actually break records this weekend thanks to your dollars, the next
big tentpole will only try harder and more annoyingly to woo you.


8. You’re going to see Space Chimps - Why? Because you have small children? Seriously, take them to see TDK.
They may be creeped out now, but they’ll thank you in twenty years. As
for the other big new release, you and your daughter really don’t want
to be fighting the fanboys at the box office just to see Mamma Mia! Do you? By the way, TDK has
the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any movie opening this week —
foreign films included — so it’s not like you can use that pretentious
“better than” attitude this time.


7. You’re waiting until the IMAX showings aren’t all sold out -
This was actually my excuse at first. And really I should be seeing it
in IMAX first. But it could be weeks until the single screen in NYC is
no longer sold out, so I might as well just buck up and go see it on a
regular screen now and see it again in IMAX in a month. I’ll be able to
appreciate the grand visuals even more if I don’t have to pay as much
attention to the story anyway.


6. The only Bruce Wayne/Batman for you is Val Kilmer - Actually, it’s a scientific fact that Kilmer is not the best person to play any character. He comes pretty damn close with Jim Morrison, but the real-life Morrison was just a little bit better in the role.


5. The only Commissioner Gordon for you is the guy in Maximum Overdrive that calls everyone “Bubba.” -
His name is Pat Hingle, and I agree that he is one of the best
character actors working today. But, sorry, nobody beats Gary Oldman.
Even David Edelstein, who is one of like two critics to pan the film, celebrates Oldman’s involvement.


4. You already saw the trailers for Terminator Salvation, Twilight, Watchmen and even Body of Lies online -
Yeah, we all say that the trailers are the best part about going to the
movies. But this rare time that statement doesn’t apply.


3. You believe that seeing a big
Hollywood release on opening weekend further encourages the practice of
front-loading grosses and continues the damage done to both independent
film and the movie theater industry
- Okay, this isn’t a lame
excuse at all. And I wholeheartedly support you on this issue. If you
seriously want to use this excuse, go right ahead. People are going to
call you a curmudgeon and tell you to have a little more fun in your
life, but your reasoning is completely valid.


2. You don’t want to exploit Heath Ledger’s death - If you show up to the movies this weekend, everyone’s going to think you’re one of the many just seeing the movie because of Ledger
— his death, not his performance, of course. But if you ignore the
movie because of this reason, meaning because he died, aren’t you still
exploiting him? And you’re missing an awesome movie, too.


1. What’s The Dark Knight?
- This is a tribute to David Letterman’s Top Ten #1s, which are usually
so snappy yet so unfunny. Really, though, if you didn’t know what The Dark Knight was, you wouldn’t be reading this list. Plus, even your grandma knows what it is.





Thursday

Sholay: The Making of a Classic

Sholay: The Making of a Classic Sholay: The Making of a Classic by Anupama Chopra


My review


Indian cinema is supposedly the busiest in the entertainment industry. In spite of this, there is very little that Indian movie buffs know about 'the making' of their favorite movies. Needless to say, I am one of those fore mentioned movie buffs. When so much trivia and anecdotes are available for Hollywood blockbusters, very little is know about Bollywood and Kollywood's behind the scene and beyond the scene activities. What we get to read are generally tabloid fare.
Anupama Chopra's collection of borrowed memoirs of a platinum classic does give temporary respite for... again the fore mentioned movie buffs.
If you have the remastered DVD, if you have the dialogs only audio CD/cassette, then you have to add this book to your shelf.


View all my reviews.

Friday

Babloo #06 - The Desi Alien

When a desi guy gets married he loses one identity and gains another. In between these two states though, for a brief period of time, is a state of vacuum. There is, on one hand, a stupid notion that he will not change... ever. Then, on the other hand, I have five fingers. Groucho Marx - stop it. Then, on the other hand, he is in fact being beaten up like a barrel full of grapes to produce the w(h)ine of life. This is a state none too different from that of zombies - neither dead nor alive - or bats - neither bird nor mammal. This is the period of time where he continues to fill forms and marks his marital status as single then scratches it and then marks it as married and feels guilty unsure of what he is guilty for. He cannot for the life of him, utter a conscious sentence that includes the word wife. The toughest is when accidentally he does blurt out - "I will have to check with my wife". Oh dear God - the cover up for that misquote is even worse than the actual quote. The only people who sneer at him for this quote will be his bachelor friends. Their approval still ranks highest in his psyche. So, there he is making forced jokes such as "of course, the wife is the boss... hee hee". Pathetic.

Once in a while, a moment of sheer madness forces him to accept a movie invite without consulting his wife. He then makes elaborate plans to

1) slip this movie plan in his wife's schedule

2) blame a bachelor friend into forcing this movie plan on him

3) suggest that the bachelor friend bought tickets without consulting him

The plans falter in the following steps

4) go to the movie theater

5) stutter while explaining why they are buying the tickets only now

6) sit through the movie going though various scenarios that can erupt once they are back home

funny-picture-1393091715

The awkwardness reaches new levels during social occasions.  Baby showers - he is there among kids and married men with kids - his nemesis from the recent past. The only question he has for kids is "What is your name?". The only question he has for the married men is "What is your kid's name?". From then on it is a continuous lecture of self motivation - all in his head of course.

Even this shall pass.

Just two more hours and I can get out of here.

No one will make eye contact with me.

Followed by self doubt.

Where is the restroom?

I should have never come here.

What is this function - no baby and certainly no shower.

What is my name?

Yet, the cocoon does break and a butterfly does spread its wings. No one can pin point the exact day this happens. He makes her happy by surprising her with flowers. He cracks a joke that makes kids at a birthday party squeal with laughter. He discusses bank interest rates with their dads. He even compliments a couple of the moms in the party. An alien in his own world he ceases to be. He, the idiot that he is, now sniggers when a newly married nincompoop asks him the name of his kid.

Tuesday

The Boondock Saints aka Ashwini Kumarargal

Two brothers - fraternal twins - deeply religious become accidental heroes when they kill a mafia muscle. They see it as their true calling and work their way up the mafia food chain. An FBI agent is on their case from the beginning and becomes their number one fan. At some stage they start targeting all of society's filth and are joined in their efforts by a friend/comic relief and a senior vigilante. The story culminates in a truly escapist ending where they do away with the mafia chief in a courthouse and escape into notoriety with the FBI agent's help. They can be in any town and cleanse that town of evil.

The film looks brilliant whenever Willem Dafoe is in the scene. It slides into mediocrity otherwise. The ending is way too predictable for the build-up it has going towards it.

This is another film idea for the story starved Kollywood junta.

I present Ashwini Kumarargal - brothers out to heal the society. This is my kollywoodization of 'The Boondock Saints'. It has been a while since we saw one of those vigilante movies made popular by S.A.Chandrasekharan and his kin in the 80s. It is time for one of those heroine-less scripts to grace our cinema halls - all action - no nonsense. An item number is acceptable and in fact welcome. Maybe the brains behind Captain Prabhakaran and Pulan Visaranai can do this one. The only problem being the open invitation for Captain Vijaykanth to become part of the movie. This in turn means that Captain will have to do the role of Willem Dafoe - the FBI/CBI agent who goes after the vigilantes. Well, all this is nice but Willem Dafore doesn't play just any FBI agent. He plays a flamboyant openly gay FBI agent and also cross-dresses at one stage. Can Captain pull this off? Will we survive to review the movie if that happens. What am I doing here? I just suggested that Vijaykanth play a gay character. Thappu Thappu. Maybe we should rope in a lady to play this role albeit a straight lady super cop. I am spinning the roulette wheel here... and it stops with Tabu. Unless Vijayashanthi is planning a comeback. Bharath, Arya, Prasanna, Jeeva, Jayam Ravi... pick any two - they can be the chief protagonists with a equally young comedian sidekick. What say?

Monday

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

In the business world, the unanimous answer seems to be 'yes'. I came across this instance of plagiarism through itwofs.com. This is the bizarre case of blogger inji pennu vs. the portal kerals.com. It starts off as a 'simple' case of publishing unauthorized content and a complaint towards that but takes a nasty turn with a thamizhan against malayali angle thrown in for good measure. I went through most of the long post and was left flabbergasted at the chronology of events. This is truly bizarre.

The original post (albeit a lengthy one) can be found at

http://myinjimanga.blogspot.com/2008/06/stealing-threat-cyber-stalking-abuse.html

Thursday

Hinduism hits late night television in the US

Political satirist, Colbert in his trademark style helps highlight the universal acceptance that is in this religion's core. No guilt. No sin. Just be who you are. Listening to Steven Carrel, whose roots are similar to Colbert's and in fact they are ex-colleagues from the Daily Show, their brand of humor was made to clear to me. These fake journalists portray themselves as jerks so that people will listen to the more saner person in the interview. Mainstream audience might be prejudiced to begin with against the people being interviewed. So, while Colbert makes silly comments and jokes around, the interviewee can get away with putting across his or her point to the audience. Not a bad strategy.

Thanks to helloji.wordpress.com for the original post to this video.

Wednesday

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

In one of his early movies, Vivek keeps repeating "Enna oru sindhanai!". One such sindhanai is "Accident aanaa Ambulance varum, Ambulance-ukke accident aana? Enna oru sindhanai!" Here, a brain expert suffers from a brain stroke and has an esoteric experience observing the way her brain is shutting off different functions one by one. Having recovered, twelve years hence, Dr. Taylor narrates her now famous stroke of insight.

Tuesday

Remembering Kalpana Chawla

Memoria

  • Asteroid 51826 Kalpanachawla, one of seven citations named after the Columbia's crew[18]
  • On February 5 2003, India's Prime Minister announced that the meteorological series of satellites, "METSAT", will be renamed as "KALPANA". The first satellite of the series, "METSAT-1", launched by India on September 12 2002 will be now known as "KALPANA-1". "KALPANA-2" is expected to be launched by 2007.[19]
  • 74th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City has been renamed 74th Street Kalpana Chawla Way in her honor.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington (where Chawla obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1984) opened a dormitory named in her honor, Kalpana Chawla Hall, in 2004.[20]
  • Kalpana Chawla Award award was instituted by the government of Karnataka in 2004 for young women scientists[21]
  • The girls hostel at Punjab Engineering College, is named after Kalpana Chawla. In addition, an award of INR twenty five thousand, a medal, and a certificate is instituted for the best student in Aeronautical engineering department[22]
  • NASA has dedicated a super computer to Kalpana.[23]
  • One of Florida Institute of Technology's student apartment complexes, Columbia Village Suites, has halls named after each of the astronauts, including Chawla.
  • NASA Mars Exploration Rover mission has named seven peaks in a chain of hills, named the Columbia Hills, after each of the seven astronauts lost in the Columbia shuttle disaster, including Chawla hill after Kalpana Chawla.
  • Steve Morse from the band Deep Purple created a song called "Contact Lost" in memory of the Columbia tragedy along with her interest in the band. The song can be found on the album, "Bananas".[24]
  • ChawlaKalpana Chawla has inspired several young Indians aspiring to be astronauts. [25]
  • Her brother, Sanjay Chawla, remarked "To me, my sister is not dead. She is immortal. Isn't that what a star is? She is a permanent star in the sky. She will always be up there where she belongs."[26]

 

Source: Answers.com

Monday

From Chennai to the land of George Carlin

I have developed a habit of sleeping to digital cacophony - either from the television or from a walkman and more recently an MP3 player. During my first trip to the US, I pretty much used the same ruse to catch a few winks. I browsed through the audio offerings on Singapore Airlines and found a channel that featured stand-up comedians. Bill Cosby being featured in the list and his 'Noah and God' routine was what made me choose the channel. I was introduced to George Carlin this way. It was an eye-opener in more ways than one. The particular piece was an attack on the way English was being abused today especially by the airline industry. 

What does it mean to ‘pre-board’, you get on before you get on?

We would like to pre-board those passengers traveling with small children.” Well, what about those passengers traveling with large children?

They might tell you you’re on a non-stop flight. Well, I don’t think I care for that. No, I insist that my flight stop! Preferably at an airport!

When two planes almost collide, they call it a ‘near miss.’ It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss!

In the unlikely event of a water landing….” Well what exactly is a ‘water landing?’ Am I mistaken, or does this sound somewhat similar to crashing into the ocean?

they tell you you’ll be landing shortly. That sound to anybody like we’re gonna miss the runway? ‘Final approach’ is not very promising either, is it?

“…enjoy your stay in Chicago, or wherever your final destination might be.” All destinations are final. That’s what it means, destiny, final. If you haven’t gotten where you’re going, you aren’t there yet!

Which brings me to ‘terminal.’ Another unfortunate word to be used in association with air travel. And they use it all over the airport, don’t they?

(The full text is available at http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2005/04/13/george-carlin-airline-announcements/)

There were quite a few beeps to mask the profanity. This only made me seek out the original version within days of landing in the US.

Carlin's passing away has left me in a funny state of mind. Not a happy one for sure but I can recall only the funny lines that made me chuckle like an idiot during that flight.

Friday

Oru mottai, Oru meesai, naalu school pasanga - adhukku oru thalaivan - a violent love story

Oru mottai, Oru meesai, naalu school pasanga - adhukku oru thalaivan

Superstar's famous lines came to my mind as I stared at the sleeping ruffians in front of me. They were ten in all. Three more than what Thalaivar had to deal with in Rajathi Raja. I am not a violent person but this was not a situation resolved through dialogues or mediators. Granted, the ten thugs did not provoke me this time but I have been hurt by them in the recent past. Justice had to be delivered hered.

As they lay there, seemingly asleep, I knew that this was the best opportunity to do away with them.

I started with the smallest of them

The tool that I had obtained specially for this task was now put to test. Not exactly a surgeon's tool but one used in the higher echelons of a hygiene-crazy society. I cradled the tool between my fingers as I approached my target. If I fail with this guy then he is certain to wake the rest of them and I would have lost my chance forever. I held him by the top- while positioning the weapon very close to him - separating him from the rest - constantly checking for movements from the others - took a deep breath - snip! I didn't even realize that I had done it until I saw the body part rolling away from its former position. The rest did not even stir

Encouraged by the first success - I became trigger happy in a way. Until guy no.5. Four successful beheadings and I took my eye away from the proceedings for a second. He was a little chubby. Maybe that is why I missed the first time. I had to cut him twice in quick succession. I was amazed and paused the hacking for a bit. Was there an unknown serial killer in the family history? Where from did I get such cold blood? I just beheaded five thugs. I had to remind myself - thugs they were. They had drawn blood from my dear ones in the past. It was now my turn. Vengeance is mine. Divide and rule. Were they awake, the ten of them would have easily struck the sharp edged tool out of my hand and mocked me. Not today, not now. The meek shall rule tonight. If not by brawn, then by deception.

The remaining five - were they brothers of the slain five? Twins, perhaps? There remained a chubby one, a small one, a tall one and two others who looked remarkably average and remarkably similar. All five were done with in half the time that it took me for the first five. Looking back at the carnage, I grinned with pride - not a single trace of blood anywhere.

I then called every one at home to witness my success.

Cutting my three-month old son's finger nails is not an easy task. Nooooooo!

But today, I prevailed.

Thank you thalaivar(s) - Superstar for the inspiration and His Highness for sleeping through it.

Wednesday

Tintin in America by Hergé

Tintin in America (The Adventures of Tintin)

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A while back I came across this ad http://www.thehindushopping.co... and started drooling. In my entire experience with comic books, Tintin and Asterix have been quintessential favorites. So, I plotted with care and finally landed all 55 titles earlier this month. Timeless humour and wonderful illustrations bring back some good memories. Plan to treat this set as a legacy piece. The Tintin series is from Egmont printing house - not the Magnet (or was it Magnum) printing house that I used to notice earlier. The difference is only in the font not in the quality of the pictures. Between Asterix and Tintin (sort of a choice between left eye and right eye), I favor Asterix for the humor content. These are European comics at their very best.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday

Movie Wish List Update

Movie Wish List

The Terrorist - I had the DVD for sometime. Not sure why I never saw it.

The Last King of Scotland - Idi Amin - State of blood - it was my first non-fiction book


Lust Caution - Ang Lee (I just saw Food Drink Man Woman - quietly engrossing)

Be Kind, Rewind - for the story premise alone




Anjaathey - a realistic Thamizh movie - need to see this one

Completed. Refreshing to note that I did not know most of the actors - in fact I recognized only three. I liked the movie.

Iron Man - when critics praise a popcorn flick...

Completed. Good super here flick - Check

Rajinikanth in and as Iron Man

for further insights.




New additions to the list

Saththam Podathey - Vasanth has described this as a Shakespearean tale with a Hitchcockian narrative. Should be interesting.

Aamir - a low budget Hindi movie without the hype is a must-see.

Friday

Rajinikanth in and as Iron Man

I saw Iron Man over the memorial day weekend. I have to say - the script has fallen into the wrong hands. I know... I know... it is the rare critically praised blockbuster but I still say that this script did not call for a Favareu-Downey collaboration. Instead it should be, stay with me here, wait for it... a Rajini-Shankar movie. I am so glad this blog is not hosted on Rediff - the outrage would be, as Michael Scott would say, incalculacable. So, yeah, my take on the whole Iron Man experience is that it should be a Rajini-Shankar movie.

I took some time to recall the movie in its entirety after I got back home. Wifey has pretty much started ignoring the zombie unresponsive glazed eyes mode that I fall into. The only time she interferes is when I am driving (sometimes on the shoulder). This particular reverie was devoted to Rajinification of Iron Man. 

 

The movie at its core is a true superhero movie recalled in many different ways in earlier comic strips and movies. So, I hope I am not giving too much away.

I want to start off with the Las Vegas bit that is shown in the movie. Only here it is a seven star hotel somewhere in India. There is some award presentation ceremony for our hero (a genius scientist specializing in state of the art weapons) and instead of our hero his trusted business partner, Obediyah Steyene, receives the award. Now, for this Obadiah Steyne character - complete with bald pate, white beard and regal features,  I want Shankar to rope in Naseerunddin Shah. Come on, its high time we moved upwards of Aashish Vidhyarthi. So, casting coup number one - Naseeruddin Shah as Ulaganathan Shastri(or some harmless regional last name).

So, the crowd is wondering where the hero is and we find badass Superstar romping with the chicks in a discotheque complete with introduction song a la "Aasai nooru vagai vaazhvil nooru suvai vaa". Rajinikanth is the desi Tony Stark - I am at a loss for mythological names here that will suit Thalaivar's image. Maybe something generic like Thiruchelvan, Thiru for short. Regardless, Rajini is one of the best badass players Kollywood. A few one liners and a couple of punch lines ("Thirooooo da!" is an easy one) and we should be in for a great start to the movie. The slide show featuring Tony Stark's rise can be substituted with shots of Thalaivar's past successes - why not!

Iron Man features a reporter character that the hero 'uses'. In the Rajinification process, this can be the second heroine and she can feature in the intro song. Jarvis, the electronic butler provides a few laughs in the movie and this is the not-so-electronic Vivek/Vadivelu character in the Rajini flick. Tony's secretary and secret admirer, Pepper Pots, is of course enacted by the as of now elusive to Thamizh audience, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. 

As this is a Shankar movie, there has to be an undercurrent 'message' of anti-corruption somewhere in the system. The hero is initially aiding and abetting but eventually abolishes the source of this corruption. We need to work on that. Where do the anti social elements in South India buy their weapons? Hmmm... maybe that's where the corruption is. Thiruchelvan creates a multitude of weapons thinking that it is for the Indian Armed Forces while it is being secretly sold to different shady groups. He is absolutely unaware of this and it is all Ulaganathan Shastri's doing. Shastri is just a weapons pimp wearing business suits.

Thiru finds himself at the wrong place one hour into the movie and is injured, captured and locked down in an adda by the kettavaa. The leader of this particular brand of thugs is some bearded guy with no scruples - it could be that guy from Sathya - Charavarthy. Chakravarthy wants Thiru to build a weapon of mass destruction. Thiru has a Nasser like character for company in the cell while he recovers from his injuries. During this time Thiru realizes that he has been unwittingly helping the villains through his inventions. He starts working on an armor and a plan to escape while a song a la "Vetri nichchayam idhu vedha sathiyam" plays in the background. Nasser dies while helping him escape. A fantastic action sequence where Thalaivar annihilates an entire army of thadiyans follows. After he blows up the adda punctuated by one liners and the camera focuses on the burning embers reflected in his eyes... Intermission.

His army friend (taking a cue from Kuselan, it can be Pasupathi or even Napolean, very regal in 10avataram) who has been searching for him finds him (sans armor of course) wandering in the Deccan Plateau somewhere and whisks him back to the real world.

Reporters (mainly the second heroine) clamor to interview Thiru who promises a different direction for his weapons company and earns Shastri-ji's disapproval. There is a series of covert operations with Thalaivar in armour going after different kalla parts with sidekick comedian and sometimes Thalaive for company. A racy song can find its way in here. Grandiose sets built at the cost of Uganda's GDP should just about do it.

Press and public hail the exploits of this mystery man and gives him some catchy name (which is of course the movie's title). Somewhere around this time, Thalaivar mellows and has a couple of soft moments with Thalaivi. The Tony Stark-Pepper Pots moment in the dressed-up ball so demanded a duet song!

Then it is all business. Shastri-ji puts two and two together. Develops an even better armor based on Thalaivar's design. Seems to do all but kill Thalaivar. Thalaivar resurrects himself with Napolean and Thalaivi's help and puts and end to Shastri and ergo the corruption in the system. Twenty five years down the line, India and eventually the world is a weapons-free paradise.

Maybe we should call this movie... Robo(t)! Ta da

 

 

Wednesday

In.A.Deep.Trance: Am I getting agnostic?#links

In.A.Deep.Trance: Am I getting agnostic?#links

A follow up question?

Why do people tap their chin with their fingers in front of a diety? I've never understood that and have never done that.

America - The Book

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America by Jon Stewart

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Satire at its current day best. It is a different kind of book and is hilarious for the very same reason - it is designed as a school text book suggesting that American Politics is pretty dumbed down. If you find the show hilarious, the book is a collector's keep.

View all my reviews.

Muto - public wall art


MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Babloo #05 - Driving Ms.Desi

"Explain the route to me"

"Which right should I turn to?"

"You are mean!"

"Do not patronize me!"

"Do not keep talking while I am driving!"

"Should I stop? Should I stop? Should I... aaaaaaah"

Variations of these ego crushing shouts can be heard all across the bay area when the newly arrived Ms.Desi starts practicing the four wheel drive with automatic transmission. The Desi Student Driver (F) is the meanest cat since Ma Baker.

The consensus and hence the advice is that - do not involve yourself in this learning process. If you want your self-esteem in tact, hire a nice Asian(!) guy to do the task instead. $60 an hour. Money well spent.

Experiments that have failed include

1. Teaching her to drive through an out-of-body experience by detaching yourself from the fact that she is your loved one - (Problem: the soul stays out never to return)

2. Getting your best friend to do the driving instructor part - prepare for a life without friends.

3. Seeking the help of another experienced non-professional-instructor Ms.Desi to do the instructor part - all roads lead to the mall

4. Get a professional Desi lady instructor - I can guarantee you one class. I have no idea what goes on in that hour but there is never a second class. On the contrary, Southie Desi guys land up with Punjabi lady instructors as their driving guide all the time in the bay area. Maybe they realize Ranjeeth Singh or Manpreeth Singh is a lady only during the first class (or in some cases third or fourth class). Or some weird dominatrix craving, I presume.

Now, why an Asian guy, you might ask. I am Asian too but not Asian Asian as my boss tells me. Asian Asian refers to people from the far east not the south east of Asia. That's the stretch covering China, Japan and possibly all of the Polynesian cultures. So, why an Asian Asian guy, you ask? Those guys are all Shaolin masters - that's why. They are the rock to Ms.Desi's scissors, the paper to her rock and the scissors to her paper. Their mastery of super consciousness makes them impervious to the psychopathic tendencies of the Ms. Student Driver Desi. So, when Ms.Desi is going at 29 mph in the fast lane of the 65 mph minimum freeway they will persist with a nasal 'give gas' until the needle moves up to the fast lanes of 50 mph. They won't flinch when Ms.Desi hits the brakes like a sledge hammer when the green light turns yellow 500 feet ahead. They merely wave their hand to the people showing sign language one middle finger at a time. They are the Zen in patience. You are not Asian Asian. You are the idiot who doesn't have the skill to teach her driving. One wise crack says that the Asian masters are busy with the Ms.Desi's schooling that there is no one to teach their women how to drive. The silent ninjas will come get you for that comment.

All said and done, more female student drivers seem to get the license in the first attempt than the ones from the meeker sex. With that comes the right to criticize your driving.

And of course, the title is a misnomer. It should be more like Teaching driving to Ms.Desi but that has very little resemblance to the Morgan Freeman movie title.

Monday

Am I getting agnostic?

Disclaimer - This should give a clarity on my spiritual stance. I've collected information from peer-reviewed sources and peers themselves. I am God fearing and also believe in the duality of nature. My outlook on life is a cognizance of all this part-belief, part-reverence data.
My religion - I am a great fan of Sanathana Dharma. It is my hereditary religion. I fell in love with it once I was able to comprehend the fact that it is an intelligent religion to begin with.It gives ample scope of self-realization. Naturally, it worries me when friends take to the sensationalism and hype rather than the essence of the religion. It does not cater to idol worship. Yet, the hottest topics associated with the religion today center around authenticity of birth-places, recorded Godly activities; so on and so forth. I yearn for company that sees my religion the way I see it.
God(s) - My findings tell me that the oldest known scripture is what we collectively call 'The Vedas'. I've accepted the fact that not everyone can understand the Vedas let alone follow its preaching. (The precise reason why there has only been one Aaadhi Shankaracharya!). The next available texts seem to be the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. I believe that these were written after the Vedas and were aimed at mass education. The idea was to introduce characters as incarnations of the Supermen being and stories that helped convey the Vedic core. Where the Vedas were elemental, the epics were narrative and gave human form to various theories propounded in the Veda. People were able to identify God once a human form was provided. In "A tiger for Malgudi", R.K.Narayan beautifully symbolizes God to be a ferocious 50 foot tiger with multiple heads and many limbs. Of course, the narrator of the tale was a tiger. The Ramayana is character driven - wholly based on Rama and introduced the concept of idol worship - idols symbolizing moral goals. The Mahabharatha was more ambitious and could have easily been Krishna-centric. There was a lot more to convey and eventually the canvas was too big for one character. The longevity of these epics are amazing. Any story born out of human consciousness will find its origin in the Mahabharatha. The Gita is the moral arm of this multi-layered magnum opus. The Puranas were later derived from these scriptures to justify different needs. I've been able to draw a lot of parallels between tales in the Mahabharatha and tales in the Greek epics by Homer. A good story is always adapted.
Prayer - Choose a clean place devoid of distractions. Strive for inner peace. Resolve to help others. Start your day with a smile. - This is the translation I got for a sloka that I've known all my life.  I never chant this Sloka anymore until I feel that I can justify its message. It has also given me the arrogance to laugh at someone who says he chants this sloka a hundred times every second Friday using a certain flower, facing a certain direction and in general resolving to help himself or herself to the 'loukik' pleasures of life. Nobody does charity anymore. Yet, that is the singular characteristic of the religion.
Hope - Licensing the fore-mentioned arrogance, I hope everyone will stop glorifying the religion - as opposed to learning it and living it.

Friday

Movie Wish List

The Terrorist - I had the DVD for sometime. Not sure why I never saw it.

The Last King of Scotland - Idi Amin - State of blood - it was my first non-fiction book

Iron Man - when critics praise a popcorn flick...

Lust Caution - Ang Lee (I just saw Food Drink Man Woman - quietly engrossing)

Be Kind, Rewind - for the story premise alone

Anjaathey - a realistic Thamizh movie - need to see this one

Being a stranger in one's own home

Another plane. Another movie. This time 'The Bucket List' directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. By now, almost everyone seems to agree that Rob Reiner is a spent force. The man who gave us A Few Good Men, Misery, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and above all Stand By Me has somehow lost that touch. We only get to see such mediocre products like Rumor has it, Alex and Emma and such. I actually had to look up the name for Alex and Emma. The Bucket List comes somewhere in the middle.

If I think about it, it is a pretty soppy story. Two men at their deathbed become asymptomatic for a while although death is near at hand. They use this time to prepare a list of things they want to do before the inevitable happens. Skydiving and mountain climbing on one side - the true journey seems to be in self-discovery. Even then the character of Jack Nicholson is predictable while that of Morgan Freeman is more realistic. As always, I somehow try and identify real life with reel life - a gift and a curse. In this case, I was fascinated by Freeman's character who gives up on his ambitions to raise a family. He drops out of college to earn money as a mechanic. Never gets back to his true ambition. He realizes and narrates that in due course he got sucked into the machinery that is daily life and even his wife becomes a stranger to him. She is still the same woman but he never feels the desire to hold her hand while walking down the street. He becomes a stranger in his own home. While on the world tour, he realizes what he is missing and goes back to his wife. My take is that when somebody starts earning a living and has dreams elsewhere, the family suffers even if they are provided for.

This insight apart, I think this is the first movie of Freeman's where he actually has a female partner. Pic courtesy: movies.sulekha.com

Wednesday

My son's paternal grandfather's only son says...

I have this brainwave. I have been ruminating on how to be cool as a dad. I read somewhere that grandpas and grandsons make the best of buddies. So, I've decided to enter into direct competition with my dad as to who will be my son's best bud in the family. This stellar idea is to take effect in due course. I will not discipline my son and will instead pamper him and shield him from his parents (in this case the single parent - mom). Grand ambitions.

Tuesday

Maintaining Home Sickness

This was the order I got from home - no matter how much I travel, I should always feel the same level of home sickness if not more. When I first heard "Don't miss us less, okay?" - I found it to be cute. This third trip in as many weeks, sitting at 5:00 AM in one of the contiguous states' busy airports, that phrase crept back into my consciousness. That phrase is suddenly taking profound dimensions for me. A progenitor to this blog. Yes - I have to find ways to forget work even when on these high pressure customer trips. Good one, Cee!

Here is my instruction list for hmmm... myself

  • Look forward to calls from home as if it is a privilege you get once a month.
  • Do your share of household chores - the ones that can be arranged online. I am just shying away from public email as if it is of no consequence.
  • No research during travel. Go back to your promise to do inconsequential browsing only on week nights. That got compromised at some stage. The reading on DIY powerline ethernet can wait.

Let's see...

Monday

Juno

Looks like the pregnancy comedy is an established genre now. This wisecrack shouldn't take away the sheer joy that was Knocked Up and Juno - two of the best movies out of an otherwise dull 2007. Also coming at a time when we were seeking the new entrant to our small tribe - the timing was perfect.

Juno got much publicity early due to its writer Diablo Cody's exotic past. The Jason Bateman character is seen reading her blog in one of the scenes. Jason Reitman had impressed me earlier with the fantastic and off-beat "Thank you for smoking". All this fades to the background when you are watching Juno. The witty dialogues are a sheer delight - so is the star turning role by Ellen Page.

Go see it.

Friday

Thursday

The Good Life

Regular office hours

A standard 9 to 5 (or 8 to 5) with a regular commute and no travel obligations.

Something creative to do while at the desk. Should involve a presentation of some sorts. Advertisement field or Animation based entertainment should be involved.

A healthy pay check.

A decent crowd to hang out with.

No peer pressure.

No politics.

That is my bucket list for the corporate world - what is yours?

Tuesday

The Last Templar

Picked this one up at the Seattle airport for exactly what it was advertised to be - a page turner in the lines of the Da Vinci Code. Served its purpose. Mixed some faith based dialogs in a truly 'masala' setting. There is a passage where one of the characters questions miracles and faith which seemed to have been the author's viewpoint and I found myself drawing parallels to my own questions on religion and faith. It did make me think... for that point alone I would say that this is a slight deviation from my usual 'intellectual' reading on planes.
A side note - I was staying at a hotel in Germany mid-way through this book. There was a bomb scare and we were asked to evacuate. I duly complied and left my room with this book in hand. We were given a choice to stay in the nearby church for a couple of hours while the bomb got diffused. So, I had a book that put faith in question while seeking shelter in a place of faith.
I went to a nearby cafe instead - too much of an ethical predicament for me. Besides... I was hungry.

Greed is in the air

Flawed geniuses are fascinating to watch. In this case, the exposure of one such flawed genius' greed has become an interesting sideshow for me. Although I still feel that he will somehow get out of it intact. So, let's trace the rise and what appears to be fall of this superego. Extremely hardworking and respected person. Well appreciated by peers and has made bold choices in life that are out of the ordinary. At some point greed (for money of course) takes over. Paranoia is a natural partner. Becomes extremely private. Never loses guard. Hard work continues on one hand making him an industry giant but personality limitations keep him from breaking the surface. All his friends appear to be work related or at least they have something to offer him. Those who don't have anything to offer but friendship remain distant acquaintances. Financial growth is inevitable. Stakes become high at the workplace. Unhealthy interest in other people's lives becomes some sort of a hobby. Every good point earned on the professional front seems to be undone by animosity created through a very haughty overbearing personality. People continue to respect him but very few now like him. Family life seems to be grounding him. Greed continues to grow though. Starts biting the hand that fed him. Gets in full awe of his own genius. Is a fall imminent?

Monday

Introducing Hurricane C

Happy to promote two entities I've come to cherish more than ever
Check out
Hurricane C

The early spring of 2008

The day was here. The doctors had given you enough time or so they thought. They were ready to force you out. I relished the kicks and movements with the knowledge that I would miss them. I willed and waited for you to make the first move. Alas that was not to be.
En route to the hospital I swear I could see the first shoots of spring on the trees that line the center divider of the streets. Trees that were bare and brown had the faintest sign of green all across. Some a little more obvious than others. Some shy of their blossoming youth and changing image. I wondered if you were the shy kind as well.

{More at ceescuteconcepts.blogspot.com}

Tuesday

Things I've learned recently

1 lb = 16 oz

Gas is good

ergo Burping is good

B&W is good

There is quite alert and then there is active alert (I still don't know which is which - alert me if you do)

Bow legs are good

Teeth are not so good

Nails even more so

High pitched voices are good

Low and gruff not so good

Crying and mucus are related

You can cry without tears

It is fools day. Looks like the joke is on me. I've been so ignorant :)

Monday

Letter to Ciera (from WWF)

Letter To Ciera

You’ll never watch an elephant standing on her head
You will see amazing acrobats and painted clowns instead.

You’ll never color Easter eggs or eat a “Happy” Meal
Instead you’ll give pigs belly rubs - You’ll know chickens dream and feel.

The clamor from the ice cream truck won’t be music to your ears
You will know your Soy Delicious caused no suffering or tears.

You may hear a gentle gobble as you softly stroke a turkey
And give thanks that she’s alive as you’re eating your Tofurky.

While other kids buy leather shoes and eat at Chucky Cheese
You’ll be kissing cows and feeding goats and saying “soy please!”

Being different can be hard I know - This world is often cruel
Maybe you’ll be laughed at by the other kids at school.

But compassion is a vital gift that too few share with others
And your heart will not be filled with guilt the way it plagues your mother’s.

So don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed because you care
You’ll be uniquely beautiful with an empathy that’s rare.

And when you see a rescued lamb and touch his thick warm fleece
You’ll feel no sadness or remorse - You can look at him in peace.

What took so long for me to learn, I’ll start teaching you from birth
And your footprint will be much tinier on this fragile earth.

~Heather Leughmyer

Wednesday

In a deeper trance

CIMG2615

Kissa Bhaaji Ka

I have a script for Bollywood. Going by the current flavor, it is for a sports movie. Also, since its Bollywood, the story is set in a foreign locale. A typical underdog story. A chirpy Indian sets off to Australia to try and win a cup for the homeland. Along the way he is exposed to quite a few challenges. The public hates him over a misunderstanding. Cue - pathos. Two bullies gang up on him. He calls upon his inner strength. Cue - motivation. He finds allies in the patriotic fervor. Cue - Team song. They crush the bullies amidst a lot of drama. He serves poetic justice by defeating the two bullies in their own backyard. One of the bullies even turns a new leaf and offers an olive branch. Our lad returns to the homeland a hero.

The Bhaaji - Hayden - Symonds saga is one for the ages.

 

Friday

See the difference you can make - Earth Hour 2008

See the difference you can make - Earth Hour 2008

Sign up and switch off the lights for one hour at 8 PM, March 29, 2008. Gandhigiri for Global warming.

http://www.earthhour.org/user/YD33

Outsourced!

Back in good old 2001, I was greeted with Indian-American indie movies like American Desi and Green Card Fever. These movies generally dealt with the customary fish-out-of-water travails of Desi-s in America. American Desi was a tad different because it had the POV of an ABCD as the concept. Yet, the milieu remains the same - Person of Indian Origin having acclimatization issues in the US of A.

It is 2008 and we have "Outsourced!". Cisco had something to do with the making of this movie. Thanks to my good contacts there I got to watch this on DVD for free. The scene shifts to India. An ABCA now finds himself having to adjust in India. Tsk tsk...

The idea was also tried out in Albert Brooks' "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim world"

Fish-out-of-water - Different fish, Different water and Different Air... I guess but never the less good for one viewing.

Maybe Thomas Friedman should point out this changing landscape in his next edition of "The World is flat"

Friday

Maa

(Follow up to Taare Zameen Par)

The rawest of my emotions that I can still recall at short notice is the sense of desolation I felt as a 9 year old when my parents left me at my grandparents' for summer vacation. A lump formed in my throat when I did some sort of a goodbye ritual to the people I took for granted - parents and a toddler of a little sister. The feeling compounded when my grandparents too had to go out of town for some wedding or the other. Secretly, I blamed my parents for not insisting that I come with them.

The days were actually okay - there was lots to do - play, play and play to heart's content. It was the evenings that made my tear glands work out a little. Beloved uncles and aunts were of no consolation - I needed the comfort zone of my mother and familiar scenes around the house. I vaguely remember feeling a little better with the return of the grandparents but the dull ache returned with alarming regularity every evening around dusk time. Even a month of this did not make me immune.

The salad days of late teens, college, self-absorbed days in the outside world with my own money, the wide wide world with many distractions, new indulgences, all consuming jobs, adulthood, new country, new people, my own family, new responsibilities all led to a rugged hide. Or so I thought until I heard the strands of the song 'Maa' in 'Taare Zameen Par'. Wonderfully conceived, this song is the soul of the movie, in my opinion. The parents leave the troublesome child in a boarding school to discipline him. It catches the vulnerability of the child and the desolation he feels when plucked out of a comfort zone. It reminded me that I still possessed those tear glands.

Bhej na itna dhoor mujhko tu...

Yaad bhi thujko aa na paaon ma

Kya itna bhura hoon main ma?

One more reason why I connected with TZP.

Crap Talk with Karadi

This blog (and Karadi) - not for the easily offended.

We tried answering some cosmic spiritual cultural questions with potty humor.

Why do people keep saying Holy Shit !!!! and not Holy Piss !!???

(in true thalaivar style) Onnu Paerusa Illa Rendu Paeursa?

Pullarikuthu Maams ..... Enna Porutha Varaikum Rendu Thaan...But that's my problem and weakness ......

There is Holy COW but no Holy Tiger...

got milk?

Puli Paal kudichu valandha kudumbangal irukke!

Or its just me hearing voices .....

Logic. If there were a holy tiger it would eat the holy cow. So only cow and no tiger.

There is Holy Crap but no Holy Waste

Holy rule states that nothing shall exceed Holy. Waste has one letter more than holy and ceases to be holy.

What's holy in calling something holy? And in most of the slang holy indicates something vulgar and unholy.
What's this called in English? A word itself is its "antonym"...

How profound... Holy Moly!

Wednesday

Catch-22 in Catch-22

It hasn't been love at first sight. I bought my copy of Joseph Heller's world famous novel more in a 'have to' fashion rather than a 'want to' one. Since then it has become an off-again on-again affair. Approaching ten years since the day I bought it, I am yet to complete reading it even once. Heck, I haven't even gone past ten chapters. I invariably get stuck at the point where the whole 'Catch 22' emerges in the narrative. Maybe there is a psychological barrier there. I bought it to find out what exactly Catch 22 was - those days before Wikipedia and broadband Internet! I now know what Catch 22 is and probably don't care what happens in the novel beyond that.

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," [Yossarian] observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed."

 

I also read MASH around the same time and in fact completed it - being a big fan of the TV series. Maybe I need the extra dumb down reference point that movie/TV offers for intelligent literary material. An uncle of mine also made the observation that while MASH and Catch-22 are clever anti-war satires, Catch-22's satire is a lot more subtle and every reading reveals new meanings. Maybe the intelligence of the novel intimidates me at some level... The book is in elite company though - I have volumes of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan right beside it - fresh and unread.

Catch-22 is like a comfort friend. Whenever I run out of books to read, I know that I'll always have Catch-22. If I finish reading it, however, I cease to have that comfort... Catch-22 is my own Catch-22 I guess!

Friday

Robokanth

Not in my wildest imaginations did I have dear old superstar in a science fiction movie titled 'Robot'. I mean he did feature in the first live-action cum animation song sequence - Raja Chinna Roja. He is also poised to release what is probably India's first main stream animation movie for adults in Sultan sometime in 2009. Yet, to have a full fledged science fiction movie with thalaivar in the lead role is a little hard to digest. The need to satisfy the fans' appetite supercedes every other aspect of the movie. A science fiction movie without a plausible story would be tough to conjure up.

What will the story line be?

It is my firm belief that Shankar, who claims this to be his dream project, is a template director (See my earlier post - click here). Given the amount of money that is likely to ride on this project, he will not stray away from his trusted template. So, we will have a science-fiction/anti-corruption theme riding on the super star bandwagon. It smells like Robocop - Rajini style!

Thursday

Reflecting back... way back

I catch Monk whenever I can. Tony Shalhoub has perfected the characters nuances. The story line is very much in the  Agatha Christie mould.  Probably that's why I like it so.

Anywise, there was this one episode where Monk recollects a painful memory from his childhood to his therapist. Monk recalls a man dressed in white, Monk himself was naked, there is a lady screaming in the background and there is blood everywhere. The therapist starts freaking out before he realizes that Monk is actually recollecting his own birth. Monk is relieved but the therapist is probably experiencing more relief at this point. It is almost impossible for anyone to recollect their own birth - but for Monk - "well it is both a gift and a curse"!

One dull flight and I was trying to recollect my own earliest childhood memory. I remember my first day in school - vaguely. I remember rushing to the window to see my mom and her entourage leave. I have one other memory - getting almost hit by a two-wheeler in Karaikaal. However, I am not sure which happened first. While dwelling on this, I also recalled a painful fact. The first word I learnt to read on my own was... "Office" (sigh!). The school office in P.S.Senior had this word in big letters and I usually waited there for the school bus. No excuse but that was my first word. Should I somehow put it in my resume?

Happy New Year

Man... I am  in the wrong decade. I like ABBA!

Thank you firerobin for posting this video on your blog.