Posted in Books

Sujatha – A man with many faces

I don’t think I was this personally affected with the loss of any literary figures as with the loss of writer Sujatha. There was something about this man that made him human even though he possessed all the “literary figure” qualities. He was able to connect with the common man through his many facets. Even as a writer, he had this inane quality of connecting with people at all levels. Technocrats, Elitists, Literary Romancers, Film makers and anyone who can read Tamil – all liked his writing for some reason or the other. Needless to say, he was loved by all and was truly a pride for Tamilians. It is a sad loss for the Tamil literary world. I don’t think there is anyone out there who can fill in his shoes right now.

May your soul rest in peace Sir..!

Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General

Jodhaa Akbar

With my bronchial tubes getting a slight respite, I pushed myself to go & watch the 230 minute long silver screen historic saga – Jodhaa Akbar, on Friday.

I will refrain from writing a it is hard for me to analyze such a long movie after one viewing. But I can share some general observations…
  • If Ashu had his way to make the movie with every single scene he had originally penned, the movie would have ended up being a 5 hour long movie 
  • There were several beautiful scenes but somehow how I didn’t feel the connectivity…They all worked well on their own but when strung together, they lacked the flow. This could be because of deletion of some scenes and reduce the overall length of the movie
  • Khwaja Mere Khwaja – Very simply and elegantly picturized – But I failed to get the context of Akbar’s divine enlightenment. And like Amitabh always does when he really intends on promoting a movie of his kith and kin, he came up with a comment praising Hrithik’s trance dance  – “Not since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001-Space Odyssey, such an apocalyptic moment has been witnessed in movies..”..I tried to pay special attention to the trance dance scene – Should say, it was good – pretty good – but nothing apocalyptic – certainly not in the class of the point of reference here..
  • Background music – “Extraordinary” to say the least.  But there were a couple of instances, I felt it was a little too loud. Those were just a couple of instances. I have to watch the movie again (and buy the DVD) to catch all the OST scores – there were several pieces that uplifted the scenes..
  • Characterization – Ashu’s homework shows in every character…
  • Acting – Nothing over the top – but there were a few stereotypical characters that you are used to seeing in all “Indi-Ishhtaary” movies..
On the whole, just for the sheer grandeur and production values, I will give this movie another Dekko. I certainly will buy the DVD as there is a lot to learn from this as far as movie making goes and as far as music production goes..
Posted in Politics - General

Second Amendment

1999 – Columbine High School
2006 – Amish School
2007 – Virginia Tech
2007 – Nebraska Mall
2007 – Wisconsin private home
2007 – Pennsylvania home
2007 – Some Washington state private home
2008 – Northern Illinois University
2008 – Illinois Mall
2008 – Memphis school(s)
2008 – Las Vegas school(s)

A few Dick Cheney incidents….

(**That’s just a few US gun violence incidents I could pull off from the top of my head**)

Why is this whole gun control issue not a simple black and white issue to the others? Or am I just wrong in viewing this simplistically?
And most annoyingly, I hear none of the Presidential candidates talking about this issue, including Obama.

Can someone present a different perspective (other than the usual arguments around the mostly misinterpreted “Second Amendment”)?

Posted in Humor - General, Politics - General

Indian Political Debates – A Spoof

That, what is being termed as the largest democracy on this planet Earth – India, has a long cherished political system that cannot be emulated in any other part of the world, even if it is another democratic country.

So just for kicks (and to better spend my Monday night), the imaginary cells of my upper left cranium have decided to put together a mock Prime Ministerial debate along the lines of the US Presidential debate, which by the way is going on for eons already.

Anchor: “Good Evening Ladies and Gentleman! Welcome to TV476…We are here in front of the historic 1000 year old temple, which is right across the street from the historic 1020 year old mosque which sits right next to the 600 year old cathedral, which made the city of “Rampetersbad” famous! This is the first of our ‘Aapka-Nala’ sponsored prime ministerial debates we have in this election season. We have prime ministerial nominees from all the 31 parties from all the 28 states standing right behind me in alphabetical order – that is in alphabetical order of the states..”…

Anchor:”On the upper level, we have…^@*&!^@& of All Sikkim Super Forward All Communist Progressive Front (ASS-FACPF)…and..*****”

20 minutes later..

Anchor: “Sorry – I am not sure where I am..May be there are 2 more to go..But I am tired..”

A few minutes later…

Anchor: “So – Mr. CHGA^&%$, we all understand your original stand on the Nandigram issue and the subsequent flip-flops. Can you elaborate on where exactly you stand now? What do you think that the state government should have done?…”

Mr.CHGA^&%6$: “See..the point I have always made is more rights for the depressed. I am not sure what the ruling party in Orissa was thinking..but had I been the chief minister, I would have handled it differently..”

Anchor: “But why Orissa?”

Mr.CHGA^&%6$: “Why not Orissa? You asked about the government…I am saying that the Orissa government should have handled it differently. With no caste bias..or political bias. They should have opened the dam at the appropriate time – when the farmers in the neighboring state of Haryana wanted it..”

Anchor:”Sorry – I am not sure where you are going with this. You have me totally confused. I will move on with the next question. This is for Mrs. GHF..Mrs. GHF, why do you think we have more suicide cases among the rural farmers in a few states and that rate seems to be increasing consistently…In your manifesto, you have a separate 10 point program designed for this…?”

Mrs.GHF: “Yes. This is where I differ from my opponents. I have always believed in helping the farmers by providing uninterrupted rain service throughout the year..”

Anchor:”That’s interesting and quite revolutionary. How do you plan on doing that?”

Mrs.GHF: “I have been in public service for 35 years. When my opponents were in their kindergarten classes, I was busy fighting for my village citizens’ rights to buy rice in the same yellow bag as my neighboring village citizens’. So I have complete respect among international leaders and I have more experience in foreign affairs than all my opponents’ experience put together. Because I have always believed in maintaining good relationships with people across our border specially those who live in Assam, Sikkim, Manipur and Tripura…”

Anchor:”But how does this ensure that you will be able to provide uninterrupted rain service?”

Mrs.GHF: “Good point. Now, I don’t want to get into technical details here in this forum. But that’s why I have constituted a science and astrology committee with members, whose recommendations I will follow”..

Anchor: “OK…”

The anchor decides to call off the debate as the debate has already brought down the viewership..and at this very moment only 31 television sets are actually turned on (outside the TV 476 main studio)..


PS: I think I started off writing this blog with some fancy ideas – but somewhere along the line, I was down with cough, cold and fever…and hence my imagination took a sick turn in a week’s time. Nevertheless, my half-baked attempt at a political spoof can be easily skipped if you choose to. I am going to record it here just for my own “sick-state-sake”.

Posted in Humor - General

The Blue Gene(Jean) Syndrome

It all started when a 20 something German decided to make “waist overalls” for his miner clients in the west coast of the USA in the 1850s. Or so the story goes. I am sure all of us would have heard of Levi Strauss accidentally bumping into a gold mine in the form of inventing something totally “American”. Blue Jeans is as American as a Hamburger or …..Hmm..I can’t think of anything else. Just goes to show how much of ingenuity the country has in terms of what it has offered to the world as its symbol(s). Well may be – fast food, gas guzzling trucks and superiority complex can be added to the list as an after thought. But the point I am trying to make is “Blue Jeans” is intensely etched in everyone’s lives here.

Standing outside Ikea the other day, I decided to do a random sampling. Out of 100 people who walked inside the store that evening, there were about 74 people who were wearing Blue Jeans. I was amused. It is more than two months since this sample survey was conducted. But I have been very conscious since then – constantly staring at people’s lower half of the body in public places – chewing over the ratio of “Blue Jeans” vs “Non-Blue Jeans” wearing American public on a typical non-working day or non-working time of a working day. The results of my completely unashamed and absolutely unscientific methods have proved that at any given time, about 70% of the American public is caught with this “Blue Gene Syndrome”.

And I decided to make peace with myself and my inner soul, that is still amused by the perennial existence of this syndrome, across all demographics and all geographies, by writing this post. The only exception to this alarming ratio is children (that too only children under ten). Even though, I am not a fashion doctor to diagnose the malignant effects of this syndrome, I can confess that I have gone through that phase myself, when my casual outfits included only Jeans (not necessarily Blue). Some indecent exposure to some other western fashion markets (read it as European) has given me some sort of a balanced view about the “syndrome” under investigation. But what is even more amusing is the mutation of the “Blue Gene(Jean)” itself that seems to have ensured the consistent ratio of 70-30 over generations.

1873 to 1950

This was the time for the “blue jean” to parasitically get acceptance by the human beings.
Patenting, Riveting, Indigo-Dyeing, Zippering – all happened around this period. As much as Levi Strauss didn’t quite like calling his invention “Jeans”, the human species, far and large had already decided the future name for this mino(e)r parasite.
1960s and 1970s

The era of blue epidemic. John Wayne wore it. And the cowboys did. The whole country was affected. The symptoms were strong and the reach was wide.

1980s and 1990s

This is the period of acid washing, stone washing and what not. The Americans were getting more and more susceptible. The syndrome was reaching its target ratio.

2000 to now…

It is inevitable. The American symbol is just too strong. Even Levi’s was forced to reinvent itself to cater to the crazy, syndrome driven blue jean market.

And so the era of “Blue Jean Syndrome” just continues to widen. And what does that mean for common consumers like us? Probably buying more blue jeans for our wardrobes.
What does that mean for the Levi’s of the world? Probably mutation…and more mutation of their genes..sorry..Jeans.
More of the same that don’t look and feel the same. More of the blue, yet makes you feel new.

The American symbol is far too influencing. I do not want to be left out. So I am going to get a pair for myself tomorrow just to bring my casual outfit Jean ratio back to 50% or more. My craving to be a victim to this syndrome is real.