Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Of the pansification of the alpha male

Disclaimer : The following post is meant to be of a humorous nature but due to the sensitivity of the topic the author would like to address those who might be offended : BOG OFF! The author would also like to thank the delightful Claire for inspiring the comment.

Gather round boys, we have a situation that needs be discussing.

There is a conspiracy. A conspiracy that has been set in motion for decades. A conspiracy that strikes at the heart of us men. A conspiracy that if unchecked will change forever the role of the male in this world.

Have you noticed how ultra-uber feminists (and believe me there is only one kind) have over the years grown in power and almost everything they say is taken for as holy scripture ? You dont believe me ? OK, I'll prove it to you. Sexual harrasement in the corporate world does not just mean the occasional groping and inadequate comments (harmful as they are) ... no it also means that a look, a single look interpreted by a woman in a different way can be termed harrasement. Yes. You might be sitting at your desk having a good daydream about GTA 4 or the latest Call of Duty looking into vacant space but unknowing to you the women at the opposite cabin feels like you're staring at her and God forbid if you're gaze is aimed at few inches below her chin.

Exactly. And who do you suppose brought upon us this terror filled atmosphere in the office wherein you cant trust your own eyes ? Feminists. Thats who.

Ahh, the good old days. Roman gladiators no matter how hideous they might have looked would have girls thrown at them. Oh, the girls would scream and thrash but it would do them no good. Why ? Because there were no feminists to intrude upon the nature-given right of the male.

The real man

I see the look in your eyes but I am extremely sorry my brothers: we are no longer that noble race. We have let the feminists slowly and gradually infringe upon our freedom and rights. I say the first instance of such a travesty was Bram Stoker's Dracula when that old good-for-nothing weasel Van Helsing praised Mina Harker as a majestic woman with the brain power of three men. Traitor! I wish that man could see the women who drive on our once male-exclusive roads!

And more traitors gave in. And some more. Women had the right to vote. Equality they wanted! Bah, the worst of their creed came upon the weakest of us and they, being caught unawares, gave in to their every demand. Traitors. Every one of them.

No,no ... dont weep. History has long past gone us by. We have to do something about the present situation that threatens us now.

Hmm ? Arent things bad as it is, you ask ? Brother - its getting worse.

You see the feminists might have got their way by bullying themselves into matters like constitution and laws but they have realised that its not enough. You see, they want to be the dominant sex of our species. A natural travesty that could bring about Armageddon is what they want. And they have devised a plan that will bring about the intended result within the next sixty to seventy years - if not less.

That demonic and diabolical plan is called: The Pansification of the Alpha Male!

In almost every species in the animal kingdom there is the dominant, the ruling alpha male. The one to which the entire pack turns to. Wherever this majestic animal goes; so too goes the ever obedient pack. Not to mention that the alpha male gets his share of food and sex first. That is the equilibrium of the animal kingdom. That is how it should be.

Alpha female ?? Who said that ?? Blasphemy ! Traitor ! Brothers : strip him and make fun of his pecker!

(Hee hee ... he does have a small pecker)

(cough) Where were we ? Ahh yes, the alpha male.

Now, humans have never had an alpha male ever since democracy has entered our lives. And a load of crap that is. But we do have symbolic alpha males. People who we trun to ... people who we try to imitate ... people who lead our pack for every generation.

You still dont get it ? Man, I know I'm intelligent but do I have to tell you everything ???

Oh very well ... its the celebrity male. Yeah, now you nod your heads.

Yes, the celebrity male. Can we forget the manliness of some of those immortals like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and might I also add : Ron Jeremy ? (RTB - thanks!) These were men, the real men, the epitome of all that we should be. As an Indian I can pull up a couple of my own Bollywood manly heroes : Dharmendra, Suniel Shetty and Salman Khan (with his woman beating antics).

Ahh yes, true patriots - all of you.

But the vile enemy known as the feminist have set their eyes on them. The above patriots were not to be tempted but the next generation surely was. And what did we get for the next generation ? PANSIES! That's what we got!

Long hair, studs on their eyes, tongue, ears and nose ... oh the list goes on. There are no real action movies anymore. No, no we have action "heroes"who cry over the fact that they have to kill so much. We have "tormented" super-heroes "disturbed" over their choice of life. We have "kick-ass" soldiers who cannot bring themselves to pull the trigger! You call this a movie ??? I call this PANSY!

Oh but the critics love it. They love it. They give it four flowers out of four. I bet they're all pro-feminists. The traitors.

What effect does it have on us, you ask ? Brothers - look around us. The new generation model themselves on these false stars. The grow ridiculously long hair, they wear studs ... and they ... they ... have facials !!!


The Unthinkable

Please dont shed tears. Dont.

And in the end we are left with a generation that will idolize these pansies. The generation to come will become pansies. They will teach their children to be pansies. Hence in three generations the woman will have replaced men as the dominant in our species. We will not have the alpha male anymore.

Its depressing.

What can we do, you ask ?

Boycott the pansies as evil and immoral. Shave every kid's hair. Let them run bald. Encourage facial and chest hair. Lets pool some money and start a propoganda that will run through our childrens bloods. We can do it, damn it ... we are MEN ! (say that with a throaty rage call)

Go forth, brothers. Go forth and lets make this world masculine again.


Heil, mein Alpha Male !

Monday, August 11, 2008

Of Singh is Kinng

Singh is Kinng is a 2008 Bollywood comedy directed by Aneez Bannerjee starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif.

In my previous posts you might have noticed that I dislike the over-the-top situations you see in typical Bollywood movies. The reason why I dislike them is because the movies take themselves too seriously and as a result these sequences fall flat on their faces. Typical examples are Race where the whole thing is ridiculous and Om Shanti Om where the movie tries to turn itself into a gritty revenge thriller in the second half (plus the fact that some of the jokes were not funny).

Thankfully Singh is Kinng does not fall into this category.

The movie follows the adventures of Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) who searches the world for his childhood friend only to find him as a dreaded underwold don known as the King in Australia. In an attempt to turn him to the good side Singh finds himself taking over as temporary King while the original King is left paralyzed after an attack on his life. What follows are screwball comedy moments which turn the movie into a laugh riot from the word go.

And I mean laugh riot. Unlike the forced comedy of Om Shanti Om the comedy here is presented through a host of remarkable characters (including Akshay) and sequences that match the tone and flow of the movie. And the best part is: the movie does not take itself seriously. It does not try to mask itself with something that its not. Aneez realizes that the movie he's making is a comedy and he keeps it that way which results in a highly enjoyable movie experience. There are things wrong with the movie but they are small enough to be insignificant.

Akshay does what Akshay normally does. Its not a bad thing, he fits in the role and the movie is exclusively made for him. Katrina ... has nothing to do other than walk, talk and dance for a while. She really has to get better roles like the one in Namastey London. Ranvir Shorey is fast shedding the image of a sarcastic VJ into an actor who should be noticed. But I felt that the best performance in the movie was from a highly restrained Javed Jaffrey who speaks in whispers and hides the fact that he is deaf and dumb. Now for such a "loud" actor - speaking in whispers is tough and he does it extremely well. Watch out for him ... this very well could be his comeback. The punjabi gang is an extremely likeable bunch of characters, each unique in their own way and Neha Dupia surprises me with her comic performance. (Although there was one cringing scene where she sings)

It's extremely tough for me to give a Bollywood movie a thumbs up but this movie was honourable with its intentions and it made me laugh all the way through. Worth the watch and maybe another.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Of a brand new blog

I've achieved the element of surprise yet again!

After all the ruckus on the BlogCatalog discussions forums for the past couple of days, I decided it was time for an investigation to find out why people all over the globe seem so divided and seem so content with watching the other die. Such thoughts and desires have led to the creation of my brand new blog : The World Is A Riot.

Join me, all you socio-political ones as I go on a journey across the world and into the most dangerous conflicts man has ever laid eyes upon. Or if you'd rather stay here, that's fine too ... I'm not abandoning this blog for anything. I think this will serve as fitting balance to the dark creepy revelations on the other one.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Of The Dark Knight

Directed by Christopher Nolan and running at close to 2 and a half hours, The Dark Knight is the 2008 sequel to Batman Begins.

Ok, with that out of the way let's answer a couple of questions. Is TDK the best movies of 2008 so far ? Yes. Is TDK the movie it was all hyped up to be ? Yes. Is TDK the Godfather 2 of super-hero movies ?

Hmm.

If you're going to watch this movie thinking you're going to get another whiff of Batman Begins then boy, oh boy are you wrong! This is an entirely different movie which is darker, grimmer and more complex than its predecessor. The first movie made it clear that Batman was not the all enduring hero that every other costume-freak is. No, Batman is human and a very vulnerable one at that too. And though TDK has some death defying moments that seem a bit too hard to believe, Batman is still very very vulnerable.

TDK takes place a year after the events of the first movie. The mob isn't exactly running scared but it is in its death throes and with the entrance of a charismatic DA - Harvey Dent - things are getting worse. But as the law and the Bat are concentrated on the final blows to the mob the ignore a creepy crawling danger - the Joker. And when he strikes, he strikes at the minds of everyone.

The pace of the movie is relentless. It's like jumping from one climax to the other in the entire movie and it's not like it's a couple of action scenes being bunched together. There is coherence to the movie, there is a firm plot along which the movie runs and the plot is further strengthened by formidable characters. There is the odd comic one-liners you found in the first film and here they serve to balance the frantic pace at which the movie flows. I cant find one moment where I wanted to tell the screen to hurry up. It's all deliciously timed and Nolan has achieved something entirely new in this genre. Right from the first scene where the Joker robs a bank to the end the movie is as fast as the Bat-pod.

Christian Bale is and always will be the Batman of our age. The suit and the character seems to have been made just for him. Morgan Freeman and Micheal Caine (who better than him for Alfred?) breeze through their roles with ease. Maggie Gyllenhall does a fine job with Bruce's love interest Rachel Dawes; much better than Katie Holmes. Aaron Eckhart does well with Harvey Dent. Gary Oldman is spectacular as Commissioner Gordon.

Which leads us to Heath Ledger ... and the Joker.

If you're a movie buff like me, you'll know that the Joker character was one of feathers in Jack Nicholson's cap ever since he played the role in the 1989 Tim Burton film. Now, the problem with Nicholson's Joker was that it was Jack Nicholson. You expect Nicholson to be eccentric. You expect him to be insane. You expect him to smile that god-awful smile. You just don't see the Joker there. You expect Jack Nicholson and that's what you get.

But you don't expect that from Heath Ledger. And that is why Ledger's Joker ... is without doubt ... one the greatest movie performance of all time. No, not because he's dead ... not because all the critics are raving about him ... but because it just is.

Part of this is because TDK's Joker is the original Joker. He plays with everyone's mind and literally takes the entire city hostage. After the first half hour the Joker makes his presence felt throughout the movie and you do feel his presence even when he's not on screen. Ledger brings a level of insanity to his performance that is unsettling and frightening. One of the best sequences in the film is when the Bat roughens the Joker up for answers and with each blow you slowly realize that it's no use. It's just no use. The man is mad.

Those are all the good. Let's get with the bad.

There's a moment in the movie which was just too much of James Bond. And that distracted me for a minute. If that is a hint of what Nolan wants to do with Batman in the future, then I'm not too sure about the future. This scene is so ... cliche that it actually looked ... and I mean exactly like James Bond and Q. Complete with the product placement. Very very distracting.

Two-face, although terrifying ... is not fully explored. Maybe, just maybe it's because the Joker is the hovering presence here, but no ... I just felt that wasn't it. Don't get me wrong - Two face is all that he can be, way better than Tommy Lee Jones but it just didn't quite satisfy as well as the Joker did.

So ... is TDK the Godfather 2 of the super-hero genre ?

Yes.

This movie is a gem. An actual gem. It's almost not a super-hero movie. You don't have the CGI being shoved into your face. You don't have the melodrama of Spider-Man. You don't have the boyish wit of IronMan. What you have is an emotional dark tale of morality and insanity. What you have is one of the greatest screen villains in history. What you have in TDK is the complete movie. Watch the movie, even if you're not a Batman fan ... or simply watch it for Heath Ledger. You will NOT regret it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Of a dark night

"Would you like to hear a story ?"

I sigh. It's times like these when I wish I had a cigarette. I quit smoking some three months ago but the pangs are yet to leave. And now stuck in a cruiser that wont start and the weasel sitting behind me with a smug grin I cant help but think that this was the right time to light one up. Backup wont be here for another ten to fifteen minutes; what else was there to do other than light up ?

"Do I have a choice ? "

His grin widens and I tighten my grip on the gun. We're separated by a thick sheet of glass but I know that he can break through that with one good head butt. It's a dark night and there's no one around in this corner of the street. I'm a sitting duck here and he knows it.

"Of course you have a choice. I'm handcuffed and you're the one with a gun. You wouldn't have a choice if I had a knife at your throat and demanded that my story be the last words you hear."

His eyes meet mine in the mirror. "So, do you want to hear it ?"

I say nothing but my eyes give me away. As much as I loathe the weasel he's the only one that can stop me from going paranoid at this particular moment.

He relaxes his body and settles deeper in the back seat.

"This is a story I heard from my friend when I visited him in jail a couple of months. We go back a long long way. We were both raised in the same orphanage and when we turned 18 the orphanage threw us out. Cant blame them, they thought they taught us all we needed to know to survive in this cruel world. They didn't. We learned that for ourselves. And then we moved here."

"A couple of years under Falcone and we were good. Life was easy. We had the money, the girls, everything. But then I had grown enough of this place. You see, I always wanted change. I wanted to move, discover new territories, that kind of stuff. My friend thought different. He thought this was paradise. And that's all he wanted."

"And so I left and came back when I heard he's been busted. Old friendships die hard and I wanted to see him. Couldnt offer help, of course, he was so deep in shit, Jesus and his holy finger couldnt save him. I just wanted to be there ... offer a shoulder to cry on."

The weasel looks out the window, lost in thought. I wonder what friend he's talking about. Anyone I had encountered ?

A dog howls in the distance. Perfect. I fucking hate dogs. Every single one of them, even those faithful kinds in canine.

He continues.

"I was shocked when I saw him. The man looked like he'd met his maker and his maker wasn't too happy. He'd gone deathly thin and his eyes were meaningless. I could see the bones of his shoulder jutting out of his skin like it wanted to pop out of him. Terrible, awful sight to see."

"I asked him what was wrong. Was it the showers ? It couldn't have been, we had our share of it in the orphanage. Was it the jailers ? Couldn't have been that either, because he's a tough man. What was it then ?"

"He looked at me with those dead eyes and told me it was the way he'd been busted. You see ..." and he leans in to whisper while my hands grow white around the gun " ... he'd been busted by the Bat."

As if on cue I glance up at the moonlit skyscrapers expecting to see him there. Somewhere ... somewhere in that forest of concrete and steel, he was there and that feeling was the most secure one I'd had all day.

The weasel leans back smiling. "The Bat" he says and grows silent for a few seconds until I prompt him:

"How did he get caught ?"

"It was a night more or less like this one. And a street in the Narrows like this one. He was in dark corner waiting for customers but customers had dried up ever since that weird incident a year ago. He had a gun with him, his vintage King Cobra, not too good for distance shots but packs a punch point blank. He'd been on that particular corner the whole week and while business was slow, it was the only business he'd got all month."

"That night, however, was different. He swears now that it was like the whole world from the biggest whale to the smallest bug had gone silent. A full moon had risen over the Narrows and the light from it was of no real help at all. All it did was create long ominous shadows that scared the hell out of him. After an hour or so he decided to leave. The night was bad, he said, and there was something in it which he did not want to meet."

"So he walked back home and home was a couple of blocks away. He didn't mind walking the Narrows at night; he was used to it. But after a couple of paces he swore he heard the faintest sound of cloth. He couldn't remember what kind it was and I know this because he kept shaking his head in despair as he said it. It was some kind of cloth and of that he was sure. He turned around and of course no one was there. He stepped up his pace because he was on the verge of being terrified and he wanted to get home before he did."

"Another couple of paces later he heard the cloth again, but this time, this time he heard it hit against flesh. You know the sound that you hear when women run around in long dresses ? He said it sounded like that, only more sinister. The previous sound had been of cloth being hit with a gust of air. Meaning that whatever it was had just flown in and was now following him on foot."

"There can be only one kind in Gotham City who can do that."

"My friend panicked. He took out his gun and aimed at every shadow he found. I can imagine him doing that, shivering head to toe, the poor bastard. And he was whispering, "come on, come on, come on""

"And out of the darkness came a voice in a whisper so grim and frightening that it seemed like the dark had said it: "I'm here." And as my friend watched a shadow emerged out of a corner. Steadily it grew and grew but he could not make out a shape. All he saw were two eyes and black shape. There were no hands, no feet, no head for all he could see. Only two eyes, so blank in their stare that my friend could see no mercy, no hope, no re-assurance in them. In his words, they were the eyes of death."

Somewhere in the distance I hear sirens. I don't know if its my back-up but secretly I wish it to come a few minutes late. I want to hear this story.

"My friend fired. All six rounds. And this thing just seemed to engulf them. Didn't even flinch. There were sparks somewhere below the eyes but that was all. And as the hammer clicked on an empty chamber, the shape rushed on him. The last thing he saw was the shape change into something hideous and huge as it ran with terrific speed upon him."

"He never got to see the Bat up close and personal. He passed out before the Bat got to him."

That made me chuckle. A weasel just like the one behind me passing out before the Batman got to him just seemed a trifle funny.

"You liked that I see. Well I suppose you should."

"And your friend opened his eyes in jail ?" I ask.

He shrugs. "Something like that. But that's not what he wanted to say. He wanted to tell me that the Bat was a demon. The Bat was supernatural. You couldn't kill it. You couldn't plead with it. All he wanted to tell me was that the Bat just wasn't human."

I look at him in the mirror and meet his eyes. "Do you believe that?"

He returns my mocking glare. "No, Officer. Quite frankly I dint. I think the Bat, despicably frightening as he is ... is a man ... or a woman, although I think he's a man.

He leans in again but this time I don't flinch. The sirens are close by and he can hear them too. "But the thing is, the more reflected on the story, the more I got to know about the Bat. He wears a bat costume. He lives in the dark and is a creature of the shadows. And he stood there facing those bullets without fear."

"You may call that bravery. I call that insanity. The Bat is insane; my friend. A calculated insanity, sure, but no more sane than the cookies you pick up on odd weekdays."

He leans back as the lights of the backup cruiser flood the street. The car comes up behind me slowly. I open my door and put one leg out.

"You can't combat that sort of insanity unless you have the same , or even more of your own kind."

I turn to him. "And where do you find that kind of insanity ?" I ask.

"It's already here. It's already come."

The lights of the other cruiser switch off along with the siren. The night grows dark and silent again.

"What?" I ask again. "What has come ?"

He chuckles which comes out a happy gleeful sound. "You'll see. Tomorrow ... you'll all see."

And somewhere ... up above us all I could have sworn the Bat was watching us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Of 4 movies that made me cry

Guys are not supposed to cry at the movies or so the norm goes ... but that's a load of bull and a lot of people know it. I was listening to one of Dr. Mark Kermode's delightful podcasts when out of no reason I started to think about the movies that have made me cry. I think about them now because there are only but a few and I also think about them because they havent made movies like them in a long long time.

I've not listed any Bollywood movies because frankly I've never cried at any of them, but there are aq couple of regional movies like Akashadooth, a Malaylam movie tyhat was designed specifically to make everyone cry and the drama movies of acclaimed actor Kamal Hassan. I forget the name of the movie in which he plays the guardian of the mentally challenged Sridevi but the final five minutes of the movie is so heart-wrenching that it makes me flinch just to remember it. If anyone knows the name of this classic please let me know.

Before we get on with the list, here's a couple of movies you should not be expecting. Titanic, because it loses its magic after the first viewing; Bambi - because I've never seen it and Love Story - because I booed instead of crying.

So here are four movies (in no particular order) that brought out the tears:

1. ET

I saw ET for the first time when I was 23. As astonishing as that may seem it's true. ET was realeased the year I was born but we never got around to renting the movie. I was more obsessed with cartoons and the sorts and maybe, just maybe, my family wanted to protect me from it.

Because ET, is the most traumatic movie any child will ever watch. You have to remember that Spielberg was at his best when he made ET and every movie from Duel to Close Encounters (except Indy) was always emotionally close to the audience. Here he gives us the cutest alien there ever was, a relationship with a couple of kids you would kill for and the best seven year old kid's performance in Drew Barrymore.

And then he has the audacity to kill the alien. And just when we are wiping the tears off from an emotionally heavy death bed scene ET revives and there's just enough time for a final happy ride before the alien has to leave his friends forever. Let me be clear on this: that was not a happy ending. ET leaves and that was the end of it - he never came back and there was no sequel. Maybe that's the reason ET turned out to be the classic that it is, but it's still one ripping scene when he leaves. It was Spielberg's genius that left almost everyone streaming.

2. Crash
Directed by Paul Haggis, Crash is one of those movies that grips and refuses to let you go until its done. Criss-crossing across sixteen characters it describes in gritty realism the level of racism and hatred that dwell among people. If you havent watched this movie I suggest you do ... as its on of those rare masterpieces that go on to become a timeless classic.

Now, there's a particular scene in this movie that is extremely and I mean EXTREMELY powerful. I'm not going to spoil it for those who havent watched the movie but those who have should know what I'm talking about. The buildup to this scene starts right from the beginning and ends in this absolute shocker that left me flooding tears without even knowing about it. And then it slowly hit, this was the movie's climax and it crept and pounced so unexpectedly that I just wasnt prepared for it. A true gem of cinema, this has to be one of the most emotionally draining scenes in any movie ever. Trust me : watch Crash; you'll never regret it.

3. LOTR - Return of the King

Surprised ? You should be. This should not feature on any tear-jerker list but here it is. Directed by Peter Jackson and winner of a record-equalling 11 Academy Awards Return of the King is the conclusion of a fantasy epic. Big huge war scenes and amazing CGI were its highlights ... but there was also more.

If you are a LOTR fan like I am then there's a good chance that you were delighted with the adaptation. The performances were amazing, from Andy Serkis as the unforgettable Gollum to Sir Ian McKellan as the wise Gandalf. But right from the first movie the bond between Frodo and Sam was emotional and it caught your mind's eye or atleast it should have. Having been with them throught their mentally and physically enduring journey to Mordor they come within a few paces of Mount Doom. Frodo collapses under the burden of the Ring and Sam (played brilliantly by Sean Astin) picks him up on his shoulders with that memorable line:

"I can't carry it for you .... but I can carry you"

Lump in throat. Tears in eyes.

4. Life is Beautiful

An Italian movie starring and directed by Roberto Benigni starts off as a comedy and a mighty good one at that. When I started watching the movie and laughing at the gags I was beginning to feel uneasy. You see, I knew that this movie was not going to end well and it was making us feel right at home with the characters which is a classic way of making you reach out for the Kleenex at the end.

Which it did.

The rest of the movie is heartbreaking to say the least. Deported off to a concentration camp during the Second World War the movie is about a father who tries to shield his five year old son from the brutality of war using the only weapon he has: comedy. He acts out for his son to convince him that the concentration camp is all just a game where the winner wins a tank. The five year old wide-eyed son believes everything his father tells him up until the very end of the movie where the father asks him to hide in a sweatbox until everyone has left. The child chuckles as he watches through a peephole his father imitates a Nazi soldier while being marched away.

And then you hear the gunshot.

Minutes late the child comes out of the sweatbox to collect his prize. An American tank coming in to liberate the camp.

If you're a father or have ever loved a child ... you will know how depressing that final scene is.

That's it. These were the movies that had the emotional potential to throw a tear-bomb at me, and while there were others that made me feel sad, none touched me more than the movies above.

I hope you liked this list and before you go however, what were the movies that made you cry ?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thank God it's Friday - The Inaugural strip

Ok, I know it's not Friday but you have to start somewhere right ?

I decided to start a weekly comic strip, which is odd since I know horseshit about drawing and stuff. But with a site like Strip Generator who needs drawing skills ? :D

The strip's name is called "Thank God it's Friday" which is also the name of the novel I'm working on. I'm not sure how good this is going to get but feedback - good or bad -will be highly appreciated.

This week's strip touches on the "textbook controversy" that I blogged about a couple of days ago.

And with that I proudly present the first strip of "Thank God it's Friday" :

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of moving day

Atleast it wasnt like this:



"Honey ... I think we missed something"




While we were packing; and by we I mean V and me and by packing I mean the time when I was ready to leave Bangalore; we went through some of the stuff we werent sure of. It's been over a year in this apartment and while thats not much, two people left during the past year and some of their stuff were left behind. We were making sure that none of the stuff left behind were important and hence trash worthy.

It was at this point that we found something that boggled our eyes as well as our minds. You see, one of our previous roomate had left behind a stash (carefully hidden) of provocative pictures. Oh hell, why lie ? They were pure porn. Prono pics taken off the internet and then printed in black and white on A4 papers.

Boys will be boys. I get that, I totally do. But this is certainly not the sort of thing that you do when youre in your mid 20's. No no, when you're in your mid 20's you already know what sex is about and you dont need Debonair or Cosmopolitan. And you most certainly do not want to take print outs of internet porno. That's just ... just ... wierd.

We had a good laugh about it and stashed it away in the black plastic garbage bag.

Wrong move.

The packing was done and we shifted everything out to the new place where V would be staying. I was scheduled to leave that weekend. So everything was set and all we had to do was clean the place up and throw out the trash, which for some reason; we wouldnt do. Why ? Beats me. I know I'm lazy and I also know V had work that day but since we packed the whole place up it only seemed logical that we clean up.

Well, we ended up hiring help which is always ready at hand in India. V went off to work and left me to supervise the old woman who did the cleaning and the trash. As this was being done and me looking all important the woman upstairs, (not the coins couple) came down to have a chat and ask about the new place. This was unprecedented. The ladies of that building had always a wary eye for bachelors and we never expected them to indulge in chitchat. Maybe it was the fact that we were leaving that made this woman let her guard down.

Thinking back on it now I can see how clearly those things stacked up against me.

The cleaning lady took out the trash bag just as the woman upstairs was asking me about my family. The trash was stuffed in those big black plastic garbage bags and she had some difficulty getting it down the stairs. Ever the chivalrous, I offered to give her a hand. I took hold of the bottom in a fast grip and that was when I saw it.

The bottom had given away. And it was too late.

See this picture. See it very well :

We are at the head of a fleet of stairs. The bottom of a trash bag filled with papers has ripped off. The porno pics for which neither me nor V are responsible stumble out. Some get picked up with the wind and the lady from upstairs has a good long look at them as they fly past her. The rest fall out onto the stairs and in such an orchestrated manner that there is on one each step until it reaches the door of a family downstairs which unfortunately is open.

The door slams as the woman upstairs dissapears. All in one fast, swift moment.

The cleaning lady looks at the pictures and then back at the shocked, red faced me.

"Bachelors, eh ?" she asks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of sensitive student material

If you're from Kerala then you should know what's been going on this past week. If you're not, here's the gist :

Kerala is now governed by a democratically elected communist government. That's the backbone of this story. This year the government releases a social studies textbook for seventh grade students that is allegedly in tune with the central government textbook frameworks. There's a catch though, the textbook has a chapter that supposedly is trying to instill communist and atheist beliefs in its readers. In this disputed chapter a teacher pats the head of a boy because he wants to join a school without mentioning his religion or caste.

I don't see how this is atheist or communist but I must warn you: I have not read this chapter or the textbook and hence I cant make a sound opinion. That said, I don't see any mistake in teaching secularism.

This textbook has struck a nerve with a lot of people. The religious and conservative have denounced the book, calling it an attack on faith. The Congress party (ironically, this party is founded on the ideals of secularism) calls it communist propaganda. And since this is a student issue, student parties have taken to the streets in protest. If you've been following me on twitter you might remember me twittering about water cannon's and lathi's being used on students in the state capital last week. It happened again in my hometown a couple of days ago which resulted in a violent general strike that brought life to a standstill.

Two days ago, a Muslim student group called the MSF tore the pages and burnt scores of textbooks in a district called Mallapuram. Yesterday, the communist student wing, called the SFI, protesting against violence turned violent themselves and in the process beat up a news reporter!

What the hell ... ?

Again I'm watching ideology take a violent turn. People's lives are being affected for the belief's of others. I'm no sucker for communism and I have been vehemently anti-communist but I sure as hell wont fall for ideology. The Congress party is using this controversy as means to bring down the government and that is all. Believe me, they have no real purpose to satisfy the fundamentalists.

But the religious parties are a different matter. They want this textbook gone and they want it gone real bad. Why ? Because it tries to tell the future that they must judge each other as human beings and not by what they believe in ? What faith are they trying to defend ? The faith that makes them strap bombs onto themselves ? The faith that makes them grab a trishul and brandish it as a weapon ? The faith that has more blood on its hands than any mass murderer ever ?

The child in the textbook has a Hindu father and a Muslim mother. What religion must he jot down ? I think the fundamentalists are more incensed over this question than anything else.

As for the strikes, I cant help but chuckle. This state is in the midst of a financial disaster. We have starving people here. Corruption is rampant. Infrastructure is breaking down. There are animals in a zoo (the Thrissur Zoo) neglected and forgotten.

And what do the "political" parties - government or opposition - do ? The politics that is supposed to take care of its people fights over ideology. They fight over a seventh grade social studies textbook.

This state needs a cultural revolution. This state needs to watch Happy Feet.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Of tradition v/s progress

Among the couple of things that I cant stand, one of them is a world that cant keep up with the times.

A few days back while watching TV with my dad, a regional news channel aired a special report about the corruption of the youth by cellular phones. The report goes on to say that college kids were using mobile phones to watch and share pornography. You should know by now that this is nothing new.

Granted, its a worrying issue. But does it warrant a report that states its a conspiracy by mobile phone companies to increase their sales ? Yep, that's exactly what the said. They said that Nokia and other big companies are actually luring unsuspecting youngsters into buying their products by inserting porn into them and thus increase their sales numbers. They even have a woman agreeing with the theory in a very aggressive manner. If we were to take her word we shouldn't have mobile phones because she blames them for everything from terrorism to extra-marital affairs.

This has happened before. In a closed and restricted society like India modern products are looked upon with suspicion by those who are conservatives. When the Internet started to rear its head out here my uncle stated that it was immoral and evil. I still remember him standing in my living room proclaiming that it was used by loose women to snare young men in their lustful traps. One year later he was chuckling like a child over the fact that he could now pay his bills at home online without having to wait in line.

Heh. I bet he got snared by one of those loose women.

A women's magazine called Vanitha (which means woman) condemned the Internet as a device used by prick-for-a-brain men to seduce, bed and eventually cheat Innocent pure minded women. A mother wrote a letter to the magazine that told the story of her son being addicted to porn on the Internet. The magazine nodded its head and sympathized while warning the readers of the supreme evil called the Internet.

Two years later they gave its readers an email address for feedback.

For all those conservative minds out there : pornography did not come out with the Internet or cell phones. They came out the day man found a way to express his thoughts; be it pictures or words. Pornography has found a way to evolve with the times ... why cant you ?

And to all concerned parents : keep a better eye on your children. Blaming technology is just an escapist way of saying I have no idea what my children do.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A further delay

I'll be blogging via Twitter for a while now. I've set it up on my mobile since I'll be away from a computer for a while.

Follow me on Twitter if you have an account or subscribe to the RSS feed if you like. People who know me are aware that I'm looking for a job as of now so it will be some time before I return to the blog.

By no means is this the end, it just gone to a 140 words per post. :) See ya there !

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A bit of a delay

It's going to be a while until my next post. The time to leave Bangalore has come and I'm in transition.

I'll be posting regularly after a couple of days. Until then, Cheerio!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Of cyberspace racism

While checking the stats in Google Analytics I found out one of the keywords used to find my blog in search engines was "i hate mallus"

Hmm.

If you've been reading my blog faithfully you will know what "mallu" means. If you don't here's a rundown: "mallu" is a term used to call a Keralite, IE someone from Kerala. Well in my previous post I blogged about how Keralites were discriminated and racially abused. So it wasn't much of a surprise when I saw that particular keyword.

They probably do hate mallus ... but some thing's odd, don't you think ? They hate us enough to google the hate, but when they come upon a Keralite blog, they spend some time on it and just leave. Just like that. No hate speech, no racist abuse, no nothing.

Heh. Fricking cowards.

Anyhoo, I see this keyword everyday on my stats. Finally yesterday I Google it myself, just to see what's out there. Sure enough my blog is on the front page; sixth link. I check around and see that most of the links are to other blogs which have a lot of "mallu jokes" and the "i hate mallus" come in the comments. I spend some time around reading and smiling at the jokes.

Then I click on this site.

Now, as most people know everyone seems to get offended very easily these days. I have to agree with Chelle on that. People are waaaay too sensitive these days. Something said in jest or something said without understanding the culture should be forgiven. We all make mistakes in our lives. We shouldn't get too riled up on stuff like that.

But then again, there's also the intentional. This site was intentional. The authors do not make a joke about it. In fact they're material is pure hate speech and almost propaganda. And they are all directed at me and my community.

Needless to say I was fuming. I've been through other offensive sites but nothing lit the spark like this did, since they were abusing me personally. You never know how bad and ugly racism is until it touches you.

Now ... fuming as I were, I always look at things with a broad mind. I have always refused to think down a one-way street. I've always believed no one is born into what they are ... life molds them that way. So apparently these people were molded into hating the likes of me ... and I was curious. Angry and pissed, yes, but still curious.

I'll be the first to tell you Keralite's have their problems and believe me we have some mighty big problems. But then, who doesn't ? Before we rebuke a particular community or religion or whatever we really should look at ourselves first.

Anyhoo ... I decided to go through the blog,unthinkable as it might have seemed, to find a root cause. I like that ... behavioural analysis and stuff like that. Kinda cool.

So here we go : lets analyze a racist, shall we ?

1) The Authors:

Apparently it's a team blog. The user names range from normal one's like KK to some high fly one's like Dr.Evil and HellBlogger.

Meh. What's in a name ?

2) The Subject

The subject is the United Indian School (UIS) in Kuwait. I have never heard of this school but it surely must exist. There are a lot of Indian schools in the Middle East.

The blog states that it wants to expose the corruption and incompetence of the UIS.

Wait, wait ... lets backtrack here. United Indian School ?? These are school kids. Teenagers at best. Probably around 15 or 16. Pre-college stuff.

Oh.

So, it's a couple of kids who don't like their school. Fair enough.

A couple of kids who don't like their faculty and make it known to the world, in their own way. Fair enough.

A couple of kids who think Keralites are an evil cancer. Hmm. Something wrong there.

3)The Readers.

Very little comments on this particular blog. That actually made me feel better until I saw the feedburner. 169 subscribers.

Oh boy.

I was surprised to see no comments favoring the Keralites. I tried sending a comment ... and found out that it was moderated. Well, that would explain the lack of retaliation. Seemed pretty lame to me though ... if you want to say something to the world you have to prepared for debate. It's kinda cowardly when you don't want to accept criticism.

But then again ... all racists are cowards.

4)The Racism.

Pretty harsh language in the random posts I read. Apparently we are fit for nothing but slavery, have a language that should be used for torture and we sleep with our mothers.

Surprised ? Shocked ? That's racism for you. :)

I've also noticed some of the posts that seem to paint a very unflattering picture of the girls in this particular school. Male superority? Maybe. In fact ... very probable.

There are posts written by young ladies and they, of course, attack the Keralite guys. Yawn. That's nothing new.

Actually, hold that thought. Most of the posts written are actually by a young girl (hellblogger). Ahh. Now that's interesting.

5) The design.

It's a normal blogger blog with a three pane template. The title has a picture of the school on it and the panes are filled with anti Keralite badges and widgets. Oddly there's a badge which advocates support for tigers and a badge for Greenpeace. Heh, a weird place to find that!

6) The writing.

Is actually pretty good. I have to admit it. It's really good. These are written by people with a talent for words.

Sorry loss though that they squander they're talent on meaningless hate speech.

7) Random posts.

This is very very interesting.

The first few posts are by the girl named HellBlogger and they target specific boys of the school calling them either gay or really really stupid. The next posts target the faculty .... and then she targets the girls (ugly and whores) in the school.

After all this, she runs into her tirade about Keralite's.

Huh. Interesting.

8) The conclusion.

Here we have a group of kids who feel that they have been discriminated against by a school run pre-dominantly by Keralites. They're kids ... and so they vent their anger that is supposed to be directed towards the faculty at an entire community.

Why ? Because that's what you do when you have a very narrow mind and your thinking space constitutes a 2 x 2 wooden cube.

It is now clear that the girl named HellBlogger is the one who started the blog. Her case is different. From what I can deduce ... it seems like she might actually have had a crush on one of the guys of her school. She gets rejected. The guy falls for another girl. The cycle repeats itself.

So heartbroken and angry she starts a blog and attacks the guys first (along with their pics which is very very immature) and the girls later. Along the way she attacks the faculty which she clearly dislikes.

So why the hatred for Keralites. My best guess ? The guys she liked and the girls who stole them were Keralites.

:D

HellBlogger ... you might read this. If you've been discriminated by a Keralite, I'm sorry. But that does not justify you going up against an entire community. You're attitude is more like a sulking little rejected girl rather than a scarred life. You're inability to see the world for what it is is your biggest drawback. You'd might want to look at that first before you go along with your hate speech.

I wanted to give you a long sarcastic feedback filled with expletives but I decided against it. Why ? Because you're just a kid and maybe you'll grow to be more wiser in the future.

Besides, the best you'd do is call me gay.

**UPDATE 01/06/08**

The guys over at UIS have responded which I expected them to. A note of thanks to the anonymous commentor on this post for giving me the heads up. I had a good laugh out of it.

What ? Did you think I'd get all flushed up and pissed ? No, I expected the retaliation. And yes, the best you did was call me gay and a tuna among others. I'm not going to respond because I've got better things to do and this post was for my readers. You're post is for yours.

And anyways, responding to you would just be a recurring headache.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Of Addiction and rehab

88%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating



"Why don't you introduce yourself to the rest of us and tell us why you're here?"

My eyes span across the people in the room. There are about a dozen people and I notice a chance few. A ninja, a pin-up girl, a guy who wears a top hat, another guy with a baseball cap on backwards and a guy who I can only describe as Hobbes.

I close my eyes. How did I end up here.

I tell them my name. They greet me. I can't find any words after that. They look so ... so ... devastated. I'm stuck in a shitty basement surrounded by the sort of sad people society would call losers.

And I'm one such loser.

"Tell us. Tell us what happened. From the beginning."

Okay.

Okay.

"I started blogging in 2008. New Year's day. It was to be my new hobby. I had resolved to quit smoking and start blogging instead. It seemed like a noble prospect. It gained me praise. Little was I to know. And if any of you are wondering, I started smoking two weeks later."

I say that with a smile. No one smiles back. I look down at my hands.

"It was all right in the beginning. Blogging about anything and everything I wanted to blog about. A couple of my friends encouraged me. They read my blog occasionally and some of them left comments. Comments that were not relevant to the post but comments all the same. I was OK for a while."

"But then it all began. The need for more. I started reading other people's blogs. I saw the sort of readers they attracted. People with like minded mentality. People who objected and started post wars. People who just came in to say the posts made them think. I wanted all that. I wanted to be like those bloggers. I wanted the exposure. Admiration became envy in the bat of an eye and I didn't even notice it."

"I began commenting on their blogs. Some of them paid the compliment by visiting and commenting on my blog. But it still wasn't enough. Then I noticed that one of my visitors was part of a social network. A social network for bloggers. One that had a lot of bloggers. And it looked like he had a major part of his traffic coming from there."

The moderator places a hand over mine. "We are not allowed use the word "traffic" here. It's one of our rules. Its ..." she shakes her head.

I understood.

"Anyway. The site's name was Blog Catalog."

A few wince as if in the memory of pain endured long ago.

"I did what anyone would have done. I signed up. I didn't think about it. If the other's were doing it, why shouldn't I ? I wanted to be like them. I cant be blamed for wishing for the moon."

"No one's blaming you." the moderator says softly.

I nod. No this was not the place for the blame game. This was not that sort of place at all.

"At first it was all about the widgets. That was all I did for the first week. The widgets and surfing through other blogger profiles. No harm. Just some time spent."

"But then ... after the first week ... I ... I ... clicked on the discussions button."

I hear a gasp. I notice a tear somewhere.

"I cant say the rest was history. I have to tell you the horror. The madness. The desperation. I started by replying to a few threads. You know ... lurking around. Laughing at the spammers, stuff like that."

"But then I started to get engrossed in the discussions. Debate's started forming in my head. They carried on to my dreams. I was falling for the whole idea. I agreed with some, I scoffed at the others. My political views changed. My social views changed. My views on human emotion changed. When I look back at it now I realize they were all changing accordingly with the BC mob ... it was slowly changing my life."

The hand on mine again. "We are not allowed to say "BC" either."

I nod.

"Minutes became half hours. Half hours became two hours. Two hours turned to evenings. Evenings turned to midnight. I noticed none of this. I ordered food. I held my pee while pressing F5. I drank coffee to make sure I didn't sleep in the middle of a post war. I prayed for people to start flame wars. I started flirting with the women. I even called myself Casanova."

I dig my face into my hands with a moan. I can sense the feeling of attachment in this place. Everyone knows what I'm talking about. The moderator does not pat me or soothe me. She knows its not needed.

I rise. The story is not over yet.

"I neglected my hygiene. Every time spent in the bathroom or anywhere else would be a minute lost in the discussions thread. A lot can happen in a minute. Food did not fill my hunger anymore. Water did not quench my thirst. I did not stop smoking. But my blogging cut down drastically. I didn't care if I got any tr-- ... visitors on my blog. All I cared was if someone replied to my threads, my replies or my shoutbox."

"My girlfriend left me. She said I seemed to be obsessed with a particular member of the site. And the truth is ... I was. No, I am. My family tried to contact me, but I rarely took their calls. I didn't want to be disturbed. I had more important things to do. They eventually gave up ... and disowned me."

I shake my head as I consider what I just said. The futility of my past.

"People began to realize I had a problem from then on. For one I was rarely seen outside other than in my office. My work lagged as I sat on my workstation logged onto Blog Catalog. When I spoke to workers I spoke only about Digg articles I saw on the discussions thread. It was either that or politics or worse ... religion. And when I started a conversation, I would tag it with labels ... or say "hey this is general discussion" or "this is shameless my work promotion". My boss reported me to the office shrink."

"He ran some sort of mental test on me. He's the one who diagnosed me with ... with addiction. I couldn't believe it. Me ? Addicted ? I laughed in his face. If I remember correctly, I laughed a bit too loudly. I ran home and shut the doors and typed up a new thread and tried to joke it off. I desperately wanted people to tell me I was fine. You see I knew then ... that I truly was addicted. But I just didn't want to believe it."

"Then the Surgeon Generals report came out. It warned the public of the dangers and the fatality. Then the grisly news reports : bloggers found dead at their computers, a guy with his fingers stapled to the keyboard presumably by himself, a woman cackling and screaming at her screen; her fingers withered away with constant typing."

"I woke up. I was going to go crazy just like them. I started seeking help. Some of them were drastic. Doctors forced me away from the Internet. But when I sat at a computer that wasn't connected to the Internet, I hammered it to dust. They forced me away from all computers then. I turned into a hungry animal with that. They said I would go past it. They said it was a phase. What did they know ? What did they know about the craving ?"

I raise my palm for everyone to see. "These fingers. They still twitch for the keys that are no longer there."

A woman among the group burst into tears. The rest try to fight back the tears.

"Last week, the clinic recommended this group. I wandered outside this building for the next six days, unsure and scared. I didn't know how to enter or what to say. But today I just thought : to hell with it. And so I'm here. With people who were there. With people who suffered the same. With people who know what I feel."

I smile.

"With people I can connect to."

There is a short silence. But a comfortable one. Then the applause starts. Everyone stands up and applauds. I feel the tears warm and free flowing on my cheeks. I feel a sunrise inside me.

The applause dies down. Everyone takes their seats. The moderator turns to me.

"Is there a final word you would like to say."

I look at her. I look at the group.

"Actually, yes."

She gestures with her hand. Go ahead.

I take a deep breath.

"Ok, general discussion. Why is McCain in the White House a bad thing ?"

Pandemonium.

Authors note: Inspired by a delightful blog post on Sogeshirts.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Of Reality TV

When they came out, people were like ooooh and aaaah! I remember the first reality show I saw : Survivor. I never really got the point of it. What did they try to accomplish other than TV ratings and ad money ? A moral statement that said humans dont blend so well under harsh circumstances ? I gotta tell you ... that's nothing new.

Why was everyone so goo goo gaa gaa over reality shows ? The news channel is a true reality show. No one drools over that ? No, people seem to have an affection to shows where people's characters are either ripped apart or showered in gold. Put in a celebrity or two and you've got big dollars in revenue. There isn't a decent sitcom or show that you can honestly sink into. Why ? Because everyone wants be an idol or a superhero or the last person to come out of a house.

A couple of days ago I was watching an Indian reality show. I dont remember the channel, it was either 9x or Sony. Anyhoo, the contestants were children and they were required to dance their way to glory. The anchors were people I have never seen before and the judges included Raveena Tandon (who still looks gorgeous, by the way) and two others who, again, I have no idea. When it came to the elimination, the audience decided to vote out a pair who had been lavishly praised and honestly to me looked talented.

I have no idea why they were voted out, but the audience looked like they were least interested and maybe, just maybe they had voted randomly on the unfortunate pair. The kids were crying like hell and I dont blame them. They're young and they had to cope with failure at a very tender age.

The anchors however were bawling too ! The lady anchor was openly crying and the male anchor sits down on the floor with an obviously fake look of devastation on his face. He wipes his eyes periodically but for the love of me I couldnt see any tears coming out of them. And just when you thought he couldnt make it any worse the guy actually starts to sing a sad song!

Oh, for the love of God !

Suffice to say, I switched channels immediately.

Celebrity shows are another thing I cant stand. I did not watch the Paris Hilton show on principle but I did have the misfortune of watching the Paula Abdul show and the Hogan show. The Paula Abdul show was annoying to the core and I just couldnt stand it anymore when she started crying because her assistant forgot to bring her matching shoes to her dress. Really ... how long can you take it when a watch a woman do this all the time:



Woman, get a grip!

And the Hogan show just made me feel really uncomfortable. There is something seriously wrong with that family.

TV guys, if you're reading, please please ... scout for some great sitcoms like Frasier and Seinfield or even Friends but please cut down on the reality shows. You're basically sending the next generation the wrong idea that future TV lies with no soul reality shows.

Believe me, I would not want to live in such an era.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Of Jodhaa Akbar

Powered by: Chakpak.comJodhaa Akbar


I know, I know it's late to be reviewing this, but I was only able to watch the movie over the weekend and since this was an eagerly awaited movie I just couldn't resist reviewing it.

Jodhaa Akbar (JB) is a 2008 historical epic starring Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai. The premise of the movie is the romance between the sixteenth century Mughal emperor Akbar and the Rajput princess Hira Kunwari Sahiba who is referred to as Jodhaa in the movie. IMDB clocks this movie at 213 minutes which is pretty long even for a Bollywood movie. Ashutosh Gowariker whose earlier credits include the Academy Award nominated Lagaan and the critically acclaimed Swades directs this movie.

Watching JB is like watching Ridley Scott's Heaven on Earth; a movie that was painfully politically correct in its every stride. While this is not necessarily a bad thing it does make the movie more artificial rather than real. JB is also similar to Santosh Sivan's biopic Asoka. Asoka tried to theorize that it was love that turned a warrior blood thirsty king to a non violent Buddhist. It is the same sort of love, apparently, that turns Akbar into a wise and secular emperor.

Bollywood historical epics, in my opinion, have always been a joke. They never get the facts right and they always end up making a larger than life character out of real people. For instance did you know that Mangal Pandey was hanged in secret by the British because they did not want an uprising over his death ? Yet the movie makes a dramatic public execution that leads to a revolt and subsequently the War of 1857 at the same moment he dies. Rajkumar Santoshi's The Legend of Bhagath Singh with all its 15 years of research made a glaring mistake. Singh shot the wrong man in Lahore. DSP Saunders was not the target; Police chief Scott was. But of course the hero of the movie can't make mistakes.

JB however has a disclaimer right before the credits that state it is based on only one of the versions of historical record and that there are other versions. Gowariker himself has stated that most of the movie was his imagination, so I will forgive some of the inaccuracies I saw in the movie. Yes, I know, I'm weird that way.

This is Hrithik's movie all the way. He truly personifies the glamour, lavishness and fury of the Mughals. His Akbar is a very restrained performance and he is excellent while portraying the young emperor who is lovestruck and vulnerable. Aishwarya does a good job portraying Jodhaa but I just couldn't see her as a Rajput princess. The Rajput's were defiant and fiery and you see none of that in her. She even holds a sword like a clumsy drunk buffoon in one very embarrassing scene.

Cinematography is another strong point in this movie. Before special effects Hollywood was famous for its camera work (Ben Hur for example) and it seems Indian cinema has reached this stage. The camera makes epic the ancient battlefields of India and it also captures the elegance and magnitude of the Mughal and Rajput palaces. The elephant sequence and the climactic scenes are a gem to watch for.

Since it's directed by Ashutosh Gowariker you have to expect a lot which is exactly what I did but I have to say I was disappointed. There are some scenes in the movie which are just stunning like the execution of Akbar's elder brother and then there are some scenes which were unbelievably corny like the death of Jodhaa's brother. The film is long running at over 3 hours and it seems like Gowariker seems to have lost his way on certain days of shooting. If I were to draw the high points and low in chronological order of the movie it would look like this:



Jodhaa Akbar is a good movie and bold according to Bollywood standards but it loses some its pitch at various points. Also it's a bit long and this will take the interest out of any person who's not much into history. Watch it if you liked Lagaan and Swades, but give it a miss if you don't like historical epics and if you don't want to spend 3 hours on a movie.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Of human rights

A cyclone devastates a South Asian country. Thousands are dead and hundreds of thousands are missing, presumed dead. The world pitches in to help but the regime that governs the country holds the supplies and then distributes the supplies to its trauma stricken citizens as propaganda. They then hold a referendum among the people to make sure they stay in power.

An African country is ripped apart by civil war. A refugee crisis of unthinkable magnitude originates. Rape, murder and other acts of genocide take place on a daily basis. The refugee's are starving and wake up every day knowing that they will either die of starvation or will be killed by a state sponsored militia. What does the world do ? The world debates on whether or not it's genocide and whether or not they should interfere.

A man in an Islamic country is harassed because he put up some offensive materials on his website. The website is hacked and a death threat pasted on the front page. The man is told that he will face charges but nothing is done about the death threats.

A woman and her lover are killed in a remote village in India. The killers are her own father and brother. They wanted to restore the honour to their family which the woman lost when she decided to live in with her lover after divorcing her husband. The family drags her and the lover out of their house and beats them to death in broad daylight. The villagers watch and applaud.

March 15th 2008. Human Rights Day. Are you kidding me ?

Have you heard of the Geneva Convention ? It was supposed to make war civilized. We've had a lot of wars since the convention ... has anyone of you witnessed a civilized war ?

Have you heard of the UN ? It was supposed to protect human rights. That was it's basic objective. "Never again" was the catchphrase used during the Armenian genocide. The Jewish Holoucast occured after that but there was no UN to stop that from happening right ? What about after the UN was formed ? Rwanda, Serebrenica, Darfur ... to name a few. And please dont tell me that the perpetrators were caught and put on trial. We're supposed to stop such things before they happen, not swear that we won't allow it to happen ever again.

"Never again" is what everyone says. I say what the f**k were we doing when it happened the first time ?

You know what's ironic ? The cavemen that we thought were dumb and stupid according to our standards are the one's who enjoyed human rights. The advanced and civilized us have none.

So stop kidding yourselves. You have no rights and never will earn it ... until the day you're fellow human has it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Of becoming an internet phenom

"I always wanted to be a news anchor ... the news they break to shocked people around the world, that's so powerful ! That's why I wanted to be a news anchor."

She smiles. Her makeup on her cheeks actually cracks as she does. Lady, I saw you an hour ago ... and boy I got to admit : being on television breaks a lot of myths.

She looks back at her papers. The executives behind us work as though nothing is happening. I've always wondered how they can just wander around when they know they're live on TV. I guess they just don't have the time for it all.

"You come in highly recommended."

"I know. I was among the best at WNBC."

She nods. She hasn't looked at me yet but she still goes through her papers. I shuffle through mine. I really don't need to go through them, I already have a gist. That's your gift when you're experienced. You have the gist.

"Live in 2 minutes!" someone calls out.

"You OK?" the producer points at me and asks. I give him a thumbs up and smile. What a loser.

"What are you doing tomorrow night ?"

She looks at me and smiles a sarcastic smile. "Oh no, I don't date colleagues."

Not what I heard from the grapevine.

"Oh OK. But the offers still open ... "

She chuckles. "Darling, a lot of offers are still open. I do not date colleagues."

We'll see, I think to myself. I just hope she keeps the darn makeup when she's with me.

"Sixty seconds."

I check the technicals. Mike's OK, wires are OK, balls OK. Good to go.

She pushes her papers in place and sighs. She sits erect and tosses her hair around one final time.

"Here we go ..."

"Yeah."

"Welcome to Fox."

I smile. That was touching.

"Five !"

This is it.

"Two !"

The producer gives me his thumbs up. We're live.

I swivel in my chair and face the camera. I look straight at it, gives it
my best smile and manages to say in my best anchor voice:

"Fuck! I just made You Tube history !"

The producer's face literally explodes. "Jesus ! Get off the god damned air !!!!"

I get up as pandemonium breaks loose. She stares at me with her mouth gaping. She looks like a Disney witch.

"Have a lovely day darling."

I smile and walk out.

Authors note: Inspired by a digg article.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Of Pangea Day

Pangea Day was broadcast live all over the world on TVs, internet and mobile on the evening of May 10th which by the way turned out to be 11.30 pm for us, which meant I watched the program on May 11. For those of you who don't know what this was all about Pangea Day was an innovative program featuring short films from all over the world in an attempt to make people understand that emotions, however different they may seem are actually basically the same everywhere. In other words we are not different from the people who we consider our enemies and that we are all the same irrespective of where we come from.

As a movie critic I really liked the show which showcased some brilliant short movies (which are the hardest to make) including two from India. there were three movies that I really liked : J'Attendrai Le Suivant from France; Elevator Music from the UK and More from the US. If you'd like to watch these movies and the others featured on the show; you can do so here.

On the humanitarian side I thought this was a very brave and novel approach to world peace. There were some truly touching scenes in the show but none more touching than the finale where an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man came on stage hand in hand after having lost direct relatives and still believing that peace will come to their troubled lands.

Touching, truly was. But, just being touching is not going to help. The question I asked myself was exactly how effective this show was.

While I sat there watching it, I couldn't help but think of the many people I know personally who would have scoffed at the show. I thought about the people I knew would ridicule the Egyptian group for the music and their language. I thought of the people I knew would consider with contempt the movies made in the Islamic world. These people wouldn't have even watched this show and even if they did they'd probably have just walked out after an hour or so.

It's not just the people in India. I'd bet you the people over at shelleytherepublican.com would have screamed treason if they ever saw Operation Homecoming. How do shows like this get to people like them ? Simple answer: they don't.

So, was it an exercise in futility ? No. It was a start and believe me that's better than nothing at all.

When you live in a place where multitudes of culture's meet at crossroads it's easy for you lose hope in humanity. Sadly, India is one such place. The distrust and hatred that exists on so many levels of racism is so thick that you can almost smell it in the air. A colleague of mine once told me he hated Muslims; my neighbor laughed as he watched a news report on how Hindu mobs were slaughtering Muslims in Gujarat. I have listened as five Muslim men ridiculed and laughed at a documentary on Hindu customs and traditions. One went so far as to call Hindus the "damned" people who would never see heaven. This person was fully aware that I was in the room.

How do you reach these people ?

I've tried to change the thoughts of a few people dear to me, but other than them I really don't think people will want to listen. They have been brought up in a society that has told them that they are superior. And these people are not illiterate. They have been taught both sides of the story: the scientific and the spiritual; the humanism and the fundamentalism. And in today's day and age it's frightening to know that many still believe in the spiritualism and the fundamentalism.

How do you reach these people ?

Pangea Day was a noble effort. But did it reach the audience that should have watched it ? It's success cannot be measured by the number of viewers but by the number of people whose thoughts and views it changes. Until then, it will remain as an effort and only that; one among the countless others.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Of saying goodbye (ver 2)

Imagine the prettiest girl you've ever seen. The sort of pretty that's hard to avoid. The more you look at her the more pretty she becomes until she's so gorgeous that it's hard to believe.

That is what she looks like. A dream come true.

Its hard not to stare at her. As she walks towards me all eyes in the cafe are on her. She has that naughty smile on her face, the smile that tells me that she knows I'm going up in smoke as well as all the others.

She sits on the couch facing me, crosses her legs and raises her glass of martini to her lips. God, she's graceful in every move.

"Hi" I say. All those eyes now face me with jealousy and brief hatred. I'm telling you ... she has that kind of hold over people.

"Hey" she replies and smiles.

The song that plays is Silence by Delirium. I can see her sing this song to me in my mind. I look down at my glass and realize it's untouched. I haven't had a drop to drink but the very presence has drowned me under the influence.

I grin and she notices.

"What's so funny ?"

I shake my head. What can I tell her ? That I'm madly in love with her? That sometimes it's driven me to do crazy things ? That I think about her every second of the day from the minute I open my eyes till the minute I close them ?

That sometimes it's so hard, I cry myself to sleep ?

"No, really ... what's so funny ? Is it something at work ?"

I give her a look that implies she's nuts. "Come on, you know nothing funny ever happens at work."

"OK. Private joke then. I just hope it wasn't at my expense."

She smiles and takes another sip. She looks up at the lights inadvertently shaking her head ever so softly but just about enough to make her hair move as though they had a life of their own. The lights play a devilish game with her face and eyes and she looks like a goddess.

I want her. I really do. I just need her. Once ... and then let fate decide. I press my lips as I slowly realize my love life is forever shattered. I cannot love anyone else with the same intensity, the same ferocity, the same turbulence with which I love her.

The lights make her eyes twinkle like small diamonds and I wonder if the heavens really do like cruel jokes.

"Any plans for tonight ?" I ask desperate to make her talk.

She looks at me. "No. I just want this to be one peaceful night." Another sip. And silence again.

What is she thinking about ? My gut wrenches as I realize I have only a few seconds left, at most a minute.

Almost as if on cue, her cell rings. I look back down at my glass. She speaks into the phone for only a couple of seconds but it's enough for me to understand. It's time for her to leave.

I look back at her just as she tosses her head back (again gracefully) and finishes her drink. She collects her bag and rises.

"He's here."

I nod. I stand up and place my glass on the table. She moves closer and gives me a light kiss on my cheek. I smell her perfume, the softness of her lips and the touch of her skin ... it's all enough to make me feel a bit dizzy. I'm vulnerable and I just might tell her; at this last minute I might just tell her ...

My hands find hers ... and my fingers find her ring.

What do I tell her ?

She smiles into my eyes. "Keep in touch. I'll miss you."

I smile my best smile but I don't say anything. I'm scared my voice will betray me.

And then she walks away. The lump in my throat is hard to push down and as she walks out the door the first tear rolls down my cheek.

Sometimes, life just isn't fair.

I look down at my glass. It's still untouched. I sit back down and take my first sip.

Nope, life just isn't fair.

Author's note: This is my first snippet of fiction in over a year. The short story that I blogged about earlier is finished and will be up during the weekend. I havent put in an appropriate title for the above snippet, let me know a few suggestions for a title.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Of Kareena and Size Zero

Know what, there's been a lot of sad emotions going through this blog for quite some time now. I think it really needs a good facelift. And what better way to do that than with a nice healthy rant !

Now, I normally dont do celebrities but I just have to on this particular topic.

The media has been going goo-gaa over the fact that Kareena has become a size zero. For those of you who dont know, Kareena is a top Bollywood actress (images later) who recently acted in a box-office dud called "Tashan". In this movie she wears a lime green bra that seems to have bowled over everyone's mind. If she really is a size zero I DO NOT want to see her in that lime green bra ever again !

Ok, here's prespective because images are way better than words in such a case:

This is Kareena, voluptuous, sexy and absolutely delicious in Don.



This is Kareena, famished, looking like she might just faint and her RIBS showing in Tashan:



This is what the glorious people over at MSN India had to say about the above pic :

She has not looked so hot on screen ever before. She is surely making heads turn with her image makeover and personal life.


Here's something I'd like to say to the MSN India dickheads: a majority of us guys like girls with meat on her bones. We would prefer not feeling her endoskeleton in bed.

Now there are a lot of teenage girls already gaping at what many concieve is going to be the latest fad in women fashion. If you are one of those teenage girls then here's something to ponder about. As freakishly scary Kareena looks in that absolutely wierd picture that is NOT size zero.

This is size zero:



If anyone thinks the above pic is not that bad ... here's some more food for thought. The two girls in the above pic are Uruguayan size zero models. They're names are Eliana and Louisel Ramos. They're sisters. They're also dead ... both from malnutrition.

Dead. Ok ? That's the danger when you try going Size Zero. You can end up DEAD!

Ladies, please keep your curves on. They are way more sexier than ribs ... and they are absolutely cute. So please go ahead, grab a burger and believe me : no one wants to see you as a size zero.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Of saying goodbye

How do you say goodbye ? Not to a person but to a dream ? A cherished dream that would have held the future for you, a dream that would have lasted all your life ?

That is what I have to say goodbye to when I say goodbye to Bangalore.

First off, apologies for not posting anything for nearly a month. The past three weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of emotions, heated discussions and difficult decisions. At the end of it all, for better or for worse, I've decided to leave Bangalore. Health, finance, career and family all had their part in this decision which I have to say, was one of the hardest I have ever had to take.

Two years ago on this very day I first set foot upon Bangalore. The myth's and legends of Bangalore being the techno savvy city of India were all thrown out the window in the first five minutes. While I was expecting something hi-tech I was greeted with pollution, garbage, stench and crowds. Of course this isn't the case for the whole of Bangalore but to someone who had come in for the first time, it was a bit of a shock.

I met V after four years that day and old friendships were renewed. Bangalore is the city that brought me back to my roots and my childhood. I was happy here ... for the first six to seven months, but then things went down a steady spiral.

I cant quite put my finger on what really happened, but I am sure that the dream did not work out. Working and being happy in your own country is something we all wish for but as you all know we almost never get what we wish for.

The dream isnt a total failure however. Career wise, Bangalore has done miracles for me. I can now go up to any interview without fear and work in any corporate without fear because I've been exposed to international work standards. This was not the case with my previous stint in Abu Dhabi where I worked for a local Arab company. In that office everyone screamed at each other and curiously, screamed at their computers.

But its still goodbye.

There are things in Bangalore that I wont miss. The pollution, the dust, the mosquito's, the rascist tones and most importantly, the dogs. Bangalore must have the highest population of stray dogs. You will not find a cat here and even if you do they'll be living on rooftops not daring to get down. Seriously after 11 pm Bangalore belongs to the dogs. I have been chased countless number of times by these hideous fanged creatures.

What I will miss are the malls, the pubs, the girls and the friends. There are memories here that I will never forget. Getting drunk with V and K, sitting by a lake in front of V's office and so many more.

When there were good time's there were also the bad times. And during these bad times I have hurt a number of people. I'm not going to name people but if you're one of them then please do know I that I am extremely sorry for my actions. I've apologised a number of times and a lot people have thought that I've never meant it but I do, I do mean it, from the bottom of my heart ... I do mean it when I say I'm sorry.

There is one memory I will forever cherish and that was meeting "her" for the first time. She was a long distance relationship and after two years of chatting and emails I finally saw her for the first time two years ago on this very same day. She was blurred in my vision that day; not because of tears, but because I was not wearing my glasses at the time; but that blurred image of her in a black tshirt and spotless white chicas will always be there in that album of memory snapshots. It's goodbye to you too, I've tried contacting you for the last few weeks but ...

Sigh.

We've slowly and surely drifted apart, you and I, and however much I may think it was all your fault on drunken nights I know I had my part to play in it too. I hope to see you again before I go.

Hmm.

So its goodbye Bangalore and its more likely to be goodbye forever. It's goodbye to a dream I've had for four years but I must be strong. Change is unavoidable and life is never constant. It's time to turn the boat around ... and try once again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Of thirty questions

I've been tagged!

This is something I've been waiting for quite a long time now. I've read other bloggers getting tagged and sending them out and it seemed like a fun thing to do. I could have asked to be tagged but I didnt want to hurt my precious ego. So you see ? Waiting for something does work!

Many many thanks to Ann for tagging me. May you rest assured that you have had the honor.

Without further ado please do delve into my complex mind:

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER:
Race. It's fun when you watch a bad movie with V and K. Especially the part when a character said that you involuntarily say the truth when you're drunk. The three of us looked at each other at the same time.


2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. Nice theoroms but its kinda awkward when no two characters have a normal conversation without delving into philosophy. For ex:

A: Hi! What did you have for breakfast.

B: (starts off on a two page essay about objectivism which includes something about bacon and eggs)


3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME?
Monopoly. I rule during the beginning and the middle of the game but once Mayfair is lost ... so am I

4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE?
That I've read ? Times. Favorite magazine I would like to read ? National Geographic.
Favorite magazine I'd like to rip to shreds ? Cosmopolitan.

5. FAVORITE SMELLS?
The smell of paint and gasoline. Oddly I know a lot of people who like the same.


6. FAVORITE SOUNDS?
It was the breaking glass intro of Stone Cold Steve Austin. But all that changed a year when I heard a tiger roar in the jungle at 2.45 am. That was exotic!

7. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?
The feeling of not having accomplished anything. The feeling of failure.


8. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE?
Its a toss between these two: "I am so not drinking ever again" and "Dang It !! Not another wet dream !!"

9. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE?
McDonalds. I like their burgers. I do not like Roland. I've had a thing for clowns ever since I read Stephen King's IT.


10. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME?
If its a girl: Navomika. If its a boy: ... I dont know ... Chucky, maybe ?


11. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. "IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I'D...?
Buy a house, get me a 59" plasma TV, a PS 3, an iMac and a Porsche. No ... you're not getting any of it.


12. DO YOU DRIVE FAST?
Yes. Which is one of the reasons my Dad does not let me drive.


13. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
No. I dont trust myself with them.


14. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY?
Cool! Till it tries to kill me.


15. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?
A Maruti Zen. Remains to be my favorite car till date.


16. FAVORITE DRINK?
Vodka. Just love it!

17. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD
Remake the Star War prequels, make them immortal to the movie industry, walk up to George Lucas and scream: "THATS HOW YOU DO IT YOU RETARD !!!"


18. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI?NO!!!
Never had broccoli. Wooohooooo!!!


19. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?
Anyone see "The Island." Ewan McGregor dyes his hair in a particular way. I dont know what that color is but if any of you do ... let me know!

20. NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS YOU HAVE LIVED IN.
Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Thrissur, Bangalore, Calicut


21. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Soccer. Man U rules !


22. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU.
She's cute. :D


23. WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED?
When I had nightmares I used to have a crucifix. Then when I started sleep walking I had a cricket bat, a knife and the TV remote.

There's nothing there now. Except maybe Debonair.


24. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN?
Yes. And I'd like to live the same life all over again, so I can rectify a couple of life altering mistakes.


25. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL?
Night Owl. I sleep at around 3 am.

26. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP?
Sunny side up please with some pepper over the top.


27. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX?
Tiger Ranch, Bandipur. This is an amazing jungle resort.


28. FAVORITE PIE?
I dont like pies.


29. FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Chocolate ice cream!


30. OF ALL THE PEOPLE YOU TAGGED THIS TO, WHO'S MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?
Can't say. I'm placing my bet on Offended.

Whew, so thats my first tag and I am going to send this over to the following:

Hamish


The Offended Blogger

Lord Likely

Anok

Pentad


Charmaine Zoe

Ekim


That was fun. :D