Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Rocket Singh"- Movie Review

I rarely go to movies. But this is one of those that I didn't want to miss out on. Many reasons and I'm going to list them here.

Firstly- Shimit Amin. He has given us the blockbuster- 'Chak De India'. But before that he gave us - 'Ab Tak Chappan'; a movie that will go down as a classic in Indian cinema. Second, I liked the little jig that Ranbir Kapoor was doing in the promo video. And finally, when I came to know that the movie was about a Salesman, I just had to catch it. For the record- My Dad's a sales guy, my Uncles are sales guys, I'm in the same line... so ya... sales kind of runs in the family.

The movie builds up really well. The scene where Ranbir Kapoor is given an intro to the job by his senior is simply brilliant. I could visualize my Dad and Uncles as the senior, and me as Harpreet Singh, looking in awe at the whole thing.

The dude who plays the Senior Salesman was just outstanding. Those are the atypical characteristics of any salesman. He's constantly looking for extra information and he knows how and when to use it. He's building a network with the 'chaay-wala', the watchman etc. He's in on the gossip of the company he's selling to. He tries to sneek in to files. Constantly on the prowl. Constantly sweet-talking.

I even remember my uncle telling me to tuck my tie in to my pocket when we were having lunch. A scene that is almost exactly re-made in the movie.

The performances are brilliant. I don't know most of the cast except for Gauhar Khan. (Yes, she's hot- and that's why I know her!) The rest of the crowd were mostly new faces; but all played their roles brilliantly.

To be honest I am kinda disappointed with the ending of the movie. I wish there were more twists and turns. And the paces slackens considerably toward the end.

The movie has a nice message. But it doesn't get too preachy; which is a good thing. I don't want to reveal too much here.

I still think it's worth a watch. So go catch it. :). Ta-da!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 6th 1992 and Me

The views expressed in this article might be controversial to some. It is not my idea or intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I offer no quick-fix solutions. I’m only stating things the way I see them.

I was 7 years old on Dec 6th ’92. I remember school shutting down and we being rushed back home. I didn’t understand what really had happened. I was studying in a Hindu school and the general impression I got at the time was that something good had happened, that something was being set right after a long long time. There was some fear around. But generally there was some kind of pride building up inside all of us.

Since that day I became acutely aware of my Hindu identity. I started looking for religion in people’s names, dresses, habits. I was aware that I was buying my cricket ball from a Muslim shop and that the boy who I played cricket with was a Christian.

As years went by, I got even more radical. It didn’t help that we had moved to the Gulf where prejudice is a way of life. It had reached a state where I didn’t want to be friends with Christians or Muslims. I just didn’t trust them.

But as you grow up things get a little bit more complicated. You realize many things. It’s not only the Hindu guy who treats you well- it can be the ‘other guy’ too. It’s not only the ‘other guy’ who is insensitive and insensible- it can be the Hindu guy too. There are good people and bad people in every faith, caste or creed.

I realized that ‘they’ are not very different from ‘us’. They have the same questions about God and religion that come to our minds. They find it difficult to comprehend the complex web of spirituality and religion with the conflicting views on sexuality, morality, life, death, etc. just like we do.

Leaders manipulate people using religion, caste, nativity etc. The demagogues make you angry, they make you hate, and they control your emotions. When your blood is boiling it is very difficult to make rational decisions. Politicians thrive in this situation. They don’t want you to use your brains. They’re not good enough for it and they know it. The only way they’ll win is to use sentiment.

Looking back at that fateful day I feel ashamed of what happened. I feel cheated and abused. I feel stupid and small. Maybe I was just a child… but it still is very difficult to get over the false-pride I felt at that time.

It might be true that the particular spot is the birthplace of Lord Ram. But can any temple bring back the lives lost? Can any temple/masjid  reverse the decades of suspicion and hatred? Ram and Allah stand for love and peace. Not hatred and war. And let’s be clear- the masjid/temple is not for God, it’s more a political statement.

I’m not an authority on history so I can’t say with certainty if there was a temple before the masjid was demolished. From what little I have read, it was not uncommon for Muslim conquerors to destroy places of worship and build masjids in its place. What we should learn from that- as Hindus, Muslims and primarily as Indians is when we belittle another faith, then the damage that is done lasts for centuries. The cycle of violence, hatred, prejudice is never-ending. We don’t need that. The after-effects of the short-sighted decisions of the erstwhile Muslim rulers of India are still being felt today.

Today- You and I are the rulers of a New India. We have history to learn from. In principle, it is we who make the decisions for the future of this country. So do you want to move ahead or do you want to repeat history again? Temple/ Masjid- is it going to bring peace to our land? Can we try to forgive and forget- at least so that we are not manipulated by the scheming politicians? Please ask yourselves these questions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

mY iNteRviEw!!!

Hey People,

This blog and it's brilliant charming author have been featured here. Do have a look. : )

Thanks for reading my blog. Have a super day.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

My First Ever Improv.

Hi guys & gals. I know it's been a while. Been kinda hectic with the running around for the training and then i've joined this theatre work shop. We're coming up with a pantomime in Feb. Guys and gals in Chennai do come and watch. I'll keep you guys updated with the dates and all that.

I've acted in plays in school. But we were always told what to do and it was fairly easy enacting those roles. But Pantomimes are slightly different. Guys are given roles and they are required to improvise(improv in short).

I chose to try out the villain character... I did a lot of impromptu improv so I'll be recollecting my lines from memory. They might not be exact. But it should be a good read. Here we go.

"I come from a long long time ago... from a place far far far away. I am Dr EVIL!!!....and this is my story.

You see I was supposed to be the hero in all those fairy tales... but for my cursed bad luck.. damn bad luck.

Take the case of Snow White... I was supposed to enter the cottage and kiss her to release her from her curse. I reached the cottage and went inside. I found her lying down. I closed my eyes and bent down and gave her the most tremendous lip-smacking kiss I could have conjured. I opened my eyes and realized I was kissing 'Grandma'. You see I was in the wrong fairy tale... I was in 'Little Red Riding Hood'.

Now take Rapunzel... not many of you guys know that Rapunzel is actually Telugu and I would call her 'Rapu!'. So I went below the tower and I said - 'Rapu Rapu throw down your lovely hair so I may climb and be with you'. Her beautiful long hair came tumbling down and I climbed it and I found myself face to face with the wicked old man. While I was busy fighting the old man, that 'Prince Charming' fellow- without any respect for tradition, enters the tower, uses the lift, picks up Rapunzel and rides away in to the sunset. And they live happily ever after.

Finally we come to Cinderella... and this time I was prepared. I was running 6kms a day and I knew I was going to beat that damn Prince. So we were in the ball dancing away. Suddenly the clock strikes 12 and Cinderella comes running out and I chase her. That slow poch Prince coudn't catch up with us. But what happens? He stops at the stairs and ends up with the glass slipper. And I run after the carriage and end up with a pumpkin. Now I put my hand inside the's nice... it's soft... but it's not Cinderella.

So now using my secret weapon I have destroyed the Prince and enslaved the 3 beauties.

Snow--- you are too SLOW. Sweep faster!
Cinderella... Cindy... Go wash my Chaddi!
Rapu...Where are you?...ah there you are... come... massage my kallu!

And this time... I'm going to live Happily Ever After."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Human Nature

I was flabbergasted. All my attempts to raise money to build the school had come to zilch. We required close to 2 lacs to build the school. All we'd managed to raise so far was a measly Rs 32,748/-.

Raj came to my office one day. We were best buddies in school. But life took us along different paths. I took to social service. Started working in NGO's and finally I set up one on my own. Raj went in to business. He was doing well. He'd already made a sizable donation to my fund and I felt guilty asking him for any more money.

I opened out to him and told him of my problems. I went on and on ranting. I told him I couldn't believe people were not willing to donate for a noble cause like this one.

"What is society coming to?"- I asked him.

He smiled and said- "Let me take care of fund raising for you".

It took me a while to realize he was serious. It wasn't like him to offer such services.

"How do you plan on doing it?"- I asked him.

"Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies"- he replied. " Give me ten grand from whatever you've collected and 3 months time. You'll have your money".

I pondered on this a bit but finally gave in. I trusted Raj. I was very curious though as to how he was going to raise this money when all my volunteers' efforts of the past 6 months couldn't bring in any money.

One and a half months later Raj was in my office with a cheque for Rs 2,17,571/-. I was astounded.

"And there is still more coming"- he grinned.

"How did you pull it off?"

"Come I'll show you."

We took the car to a village just outside the city. Situated a little away from the main village square was a thatched hut. Inside there was a Swami sitting inside with a few disciples.

"This is it"- a gleaming Raj said.

"The Swami gave the money to you?"

"No, I set up the whole thing. I pay the Swami and his disciples to sit here. "

Furious hearing this I began to remonstrate before Raj calmed me down and explained how the idea came to him.

"I was at a temple and was looking at these beggars sitting just outside. The temple undal was just a few feet away from the beggars. I noticed people putting 50 bucks, 100 bucks, even 500 in to the undal. However, they'd drop just 1 or 2 bucks for the beggars. That's when the idea came to me. I called the beggars. Explained things to them and told them I'd set things up and they just had to act their parts."

"So I came here and found this obscure place for them. Then I went and told my wife that I wanted to meet this Swami and donate some money as his blessings had helped me. We came here and I put a big sum of money in the undal in front of her. Leave it women to spread the news like wildfire... All her friends and their friends started streaming in to this place believing my story to be true. One month down the line and we have your money."- Raj said smiling.

"You are a true businessman"- I told Raj appreciatively.

"It's really simple"- he said. "You were trying to appeal to people's charity. That never works. I was simply appealing to their greed!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Nothingness...

The idea for this post comes to me while I'm sitting in Nungambakkam station. I'm not here to catch a train. No, I'm here to kill time!

I know most readers will find it strange. But, I count this as one of my many 'original time-pass ideas'. I've taken a train pass for 3 months. Whenever I'm bored or mind fucked I come to the station and take a train up and down the line or chumma sit on the platform. What am I doing??? Ans- NOTHING!

Yes, after an agonizing 24 years on this planet, pondering over my fate & wondering what my 'hidden' talent is, I've finally found something I'm good for. Ladies & Gentlemen- I'm GOOD FOR NOTHING!

The many years I spent in education... and I learnt NOTHING. The countless books, magazines and newspapers I've read and still NOTHING makes sense. Infinite hours of watching TV and movies and I still don't understand anything. All those long never-ending discussions with friends and family... and what's come of it??? NOTHING!

I've accomplished nothing in my life. I've never been brilliant in my studies. Never been brilliant at any sport. I have no awards. Never been been part of any of those societies or clubs. Never been on a holiday. Never left home. I've done NOTHING till date.

There are many works requiring my urgent attention... but I undertake nothing. This is not just some special day I'm talking about. This is about my everyday routine.

Folks- I'm an expert in the 'art of nothingness'. It's in my blood. It's become a part of me. Defines me... it is a part of my character. I can out do anyone in it. I can sit for hours, days, years doing NOTHING.

This has to be something special. I'm yet to come across anyone to feel threatened in this special talent of mine. In fact I dare you to think of one person in your life who has done NOTHING. I'm sure you won't come up with one. The honours are all mine... all mine.

Everyone's been telling me that I've been wasting my time. But they are wrong. This is what I'm supposed to be people. This is what I'm supposed to do. This is what I was born to do!

Having just discovered my purpose in life Ladies & Gentlemen I would like to conclude by saying that now I'm only 'good for nothing'. But, it will be my life-long endeavor to be the "best for nothing."

Thank You.

Friday, November 6, 2009

India vs Australia

Last night I re-discovered the Sachin that made me believe anything is possible. He was supreme last night. But, alas, like many times in his career... he couldn't finish it off for his team.

Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Yet, he doesn't have any big trophy to his name. Like the World Cup, or a test series win in Australia or SA. All great players have one or more trophies to their name. Tendulkar hasn't been able to use his game changing qualities to bring any big cup home. Maybe that's what spurs him on, after 21 long years in international cricket.

Coming back to his innings last night- I feel honoured that I watched it. I will take the memories with me to my grave. It was marvellous. His team-mates must be feeling real ashamed that they couldn't complete the job after Sachin had done so much. They owed it to him to finish it off. That wasn't to be.

Australia are clearly one step ahead of India in every dept. No where is this more visible than in Aus's fielding. For an eg I will recollect the last wicket that fell. There was clearly a lot of tension and Praveen Kumar was trying to run 2. But Haurtiz's rocket throw was perfect, right near the wickets and that made it end game. The ability to keep calm under pressure, to execute perfectly, to be ruthless... all these qualities are highlighted in this one little instance. All these qualities are the hall-mark of the Aussies and you'll find them repeated many times in every game. That's what makes them a champion side.

For too long now we've been depending on raw talent. We should be proud of a system that's able to generate a Sehwag, a Dhoni, or a Bhaji. But not all 11 players can be like that. We need to chip away at the edges of the ordinary cricketers and make them polished so that they shine on the international stage. Ravindra Jadeja was clearly too excited...and that cost him his wicket. Nehra played an irresponsible shot. And why wasn't Praveen Kumar diving in full body for that last run? That could have easily made the difference. These small things make a big difference in the end.

We lack finishers. We lack that finishing quality within us. Even Sachin is not a finisher. Dhoni is & Raina also to a certain degree. We need more of that calibre. It is a real tough job. But the guys should be trained for it. Even in bowling I've noticed that we lack that killer punch. How many times have we let the last wicket just drag the match on? We should be ruthless and finish it off at the earliest.

2 times now in the same series that India has lost matches chasing that it should have won comfortably. Not good at all. Means we haven't learnt our lessons from the first time. This is where Indian cricket needs to improve. This chalta hai attitude will not be accepted. We will need to be machine like in our pursuit of being the number one team. The Aussies are not going to surrender that spot easily.

Australia are still a depleted side. With 2 games to go, I'm still not willing to make any bets. Let's hope India gets it finishing act together for the next games.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paneri's fav RIMC Story

Paneri is a wonderful story teller. His art is not in writing stories... but in narrating them. Here I will try and note down one of his oft repeated stories. His fav one obviously.

First a lil bit of background. Paneri was my class mate in UG. We hit it off almost immediately and through 3 years we were thick as thieves. I was more frequent in his room than in class. But his room still didn't beat Anna Kadai. Every good college boy has an "Anna Kadai" in his life... where he 'smokes', has 'rasna' and 'verai kadalai' and most importantly... where he can keep 'account'.

Now 'Anna Kadai' is a special place and maybe that deserves a blog post on it's own. So I won't get in to that now. But basically we used to sit there for hours and hours and hours and hours(k... u get the picture don't u???) and chat about anything in the bloody world. And that's also usually where Paneri would come up with his gems.

Now Paneri studied in the Rastriya Indian Military College-RIMC, in Dehra Dun, which is supposed to be India's best military school. You study in the school from class 8th on till your 12th. And, as in all army schools, discipline was a real pain in the ass( not just literally... they would get thrashings with hockey sticks for breaking rules!). But boys being boys being boys had to naturally get around them.

Now cutting bounds was forbidden- but naturally all the guys knew a way. But it was a very risky proposition. Caught out of school bounds and you could be demoted or even thrown out of school. So you'd do it only on very very rare occasions... only for something special.

Now it happened that 3 of Paneri's classmates had gone out one weekend. They came back.. all fabulously excited and called everyone around to tell them what they'd experienced.

"Boys... we just watched a XXX movie in the theater!"

"OMG!"... everyone was excited. "How? Where? What?"

Turns out that a movie- "Machalti Jawani" was playing. And it had everything. Everything, everything, everything required to satisfy an adolescent. :).

Now everyone was keen to catch this movie... and the boys couldn't wait till the weekend. Now it was a risk cutting bounds on weekends... but to do so on a weekday was almost tantamount to suicide coz of the strict vigil.

But never mind... anything for "sex" said the boys and off they went... cut bounds and to the theaters to watch- "Machalti Jawani".

The movie started... and the boys were all 'eager', 'excited' and 'desperate' for some "action". It started... and they were waiting for something to happen... and there was nothing. Interval... and the boys were looking at each other and wondering what the hell happened. They decided to stick around till the end of the movie.

The movie went on and still there was nothing. And finally it ended. The movie was a bloody lousy drab.

Dejected the boys returned to the dorms. The other 3 rascals were on the bed and dancing to... "Machalti Jawani... Machalti Jawani... Machalti Jawani!".

I remember laughing my head out at this point of the story. And Paneri in his trademark way was just nodding his head and smiling at the rest of us. We were laughing at it for so long... it was crazy.

And finally Paneri was like..." you know dude... there was a scene in the movie where the villain was going to rape the heroine... and I thought... ah.. finally something! But guess what? The bloody HERO comes and rescues her!!!!"

Paneri... you are one of a kind!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting over our Pakistan Fixation

Rahul Gandhi has said many things that I have disagreed with. But for once I totally agree with him when he says that it's time for India and Indians to 'get-over' Pakistan.

We've been giving too much time and effort in dealing with Pakistan. Sure our history, the wars we've fought, and even the current threats posed by Pakistan require our attention. But we have to admit that our fixation with Pakistan is more than just that. We are obsessed by Pakistan.

Every Indian will have an opinion on Pakistan, and usually it is a negative one. Our history books go on and on about how the two nation theory was actually a 'complete falsification of the idea of India'. Most of our obsession is due to the trauma of partition on our national psyche. Our National leaders took partition as a slap on the face and till date our policy makers don't seem to have recovered from it.

Our obsession also has much to do with the romanticism of our Independence movement. No doubt our freedom struggle was a glorious one. And the ideals that held our leaders and our people together are timeless and true for all of humanity. In this context - Pakistan, or the creation of it, went against everything that our National movement stood for.

Somewhere along the line I think we Indians feel that India and Pakistan should get back together, that the aberration of Partition must be done away with. Like in the movies- where the errant brother finally realizes the follies of his ways and returns home to his elder brother seeking forgiveness. This romanticism is evident not only in general every day talk but also in our policy.

From this romanticism and idealism springs the fear in Pakistanis that India means harm to them. That India wants to do away with Pakistan, that India poses a constant threat to Pakistan. The military and political establishment have milked this paranoia for all it's worth and have kept Pakistanis in the grip of fear. No wonder the people there don't question the military's involvement in running of Govt. They feel that it's a necessity born out of the threat posed by India.

What this means is that our romanticism and idealism and Pakistan's fear is entangling us in a vicious circle. Do we need that? Isn't there another alternative?

Yes, there is. But it requires us to me objective, practical and smart. And let me tell you we are hopeless in all three.

We need to accept the idea of Pakistan and partition. No doubt it was a painful exercise and that it definitely could have been handled better. But let history be where it belongs. Let's not be victims of history- but let's learn from it.

It's been 62 years since Independence. That means there are at least two generations of Indians and Pakistanis that have never been part of the same country. We are two completely different nations now. Different ideals, different systems of Govt, different policies. India should learn to treat Pakistan like it treats any other nation.

There are the usual examples we cite when we compare India vis Pakistan. We are a functioning democracy, our economy is now the fourth largest in the world etc etc. But let's not get jingoistic about it. That's again a trap.

Let us not be victims of our past. Let's get over this impasse and look towards a brighter future. Sure it requires us to look at history in a different perspective and that is going to be a very very difficult task. But it can be done. And it must be done. We need to.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger- Trying to get Traffic to my blog!

There is nothing I like reading more than comments to my posts. It gives me the 'euphoric high'. I feel like a million- billion bucks when someone new comes to my blog and makes a comment.

Initially, when I'd just started blogging, I'd have just a few guys & gals who commented on my posts. Usually the same people in all posts. It was nice. But I wanted more.

So I focused on improving traffic to my post. And I've learnt a few things along the way-- which I thought I'd share with you.

I looked to other blogs with decent "readers' count". I tried to make sense of what I was going through. And I have to admit- it wasn't easy!

Most blogs had guys and girls ranting about 'random arbid bull shit'. That seemed a sure shot way of attracting the crowd. But I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. :P

So it wasn't content that was driving readers' to these blogs. What was it?

I figured that you had to go out and be visible. You had to go and make comments on other blogs. So I did. This wasn't easy either. You see it is one thing to read 'random arbid bull shit'. But to try and actually find something to comment on was(&is) extremely difficult.

So you try and improvise. Usually the first 3 lines of a post will tell you were it's ending.
Most bloggers need psychiatric therapy (and have very big egos- Don't tell them that k!). So you need to sound nice and empathetic in your comments. There are of course trademark comments like- "Nice one", "Loved it", "Brilliant!" etc. (if I've used them in comments to your posts I really meant it-- this is only for the 'others').

Guys and Gals with 'sexy' profile pics again manage to attract traffic to their blogs. I'm still trying to find a photographer who can shoot a 'sexy' profile pic for me. Everyone I go to says... "Saar very difficult Saaar.. your face very difficult Saar!".

And one more thing... if you are a guy- focus on 'girl-blogs' and vise-versa for the women. Why? Guess there's a bit of Freud in it. We arouse curiosity in members of the opposite sex. They'll usually come back to your blog. You go to theirs again and they come to yours again--- and a relationship(blogging!) is established. With members of your own sex it doesn't seem to work that way. I guess we all figure that if this guy actually likes the 'random arbid bull shit' that I'm writing then he'll come back again. Why waste time and effort reading his 'random arbid bull shit'.

Well... be grateful that I've actually shared this knowledge and insight with you. So you won't have to go through all that 'random arbid bull shit' that I had to go through.

K... enough of this 'random arbid bull shit'. Back to work... off now. Ciao!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Heads or Tails

This is my shot at 55-word fiction. I've read a few interesting stories around. Thought I'd give it a shot. Hope you like it.

Heads or Tails

There was a lot of money... and a lot more if it didn't have to be split in half. I had the gun. Ram was busy packing up. I was confused. My conscience was pricking me. Finally I decided to toss a coin. Heads- he lives, Tails- he dies. I tossed it... it came down... Tails!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A World of Dependents

I've been alone at home the past 2 weeks. It's the longest I've had the house all to myself. Well there is Kasper....:). But he's welcome... let's me do my work and he does his(which is sleeping of course).

Amma usually stays with me. She's gone to be with Dad for a few days. I don't talk much with Amma. But I realize now that though we may not talk much I miss just the presence of her.

It's nice to be on your own. But the truth is days are long, and nights even longer. I long to go out... meet some friends... etc. There are books... but sometimes... the presence of another person cannot be compensated by that.

You know... this got me thinking about how dependent we all are on each other.

Imagine if one day the world around you collapsed and you were the only survivor.... how would you live? Can you find food for yourself? Can you make a fire without matches or a lighter? Can you climb a tree? Can you fish? Do you know which plants are poisonous and which are not?

Do any of the degrees we've earned matter when we are faced with a raw situation like that? The futility of education....

I hate being dependent... and it kills me that after all these years I'm still not on my own... but we are never really independent are we? We are never really free...

We are trapped in society... we must live by it's laws... must submit to it's demands... because otherwise we(as a whole) become worthless, powerless.

Now I understand those people who cling on to old ideas, customs and traditions... even though logically it doesn't stand. It's part of the process by which all of us submit to society... to each other... that's what's enabled us to survive...

But must this come at the cost of reason? Must our customs and traditions inhibit us? Growth of societies invariably depend on the growth of an individual who changes things forever with his vision and action. Instead of making things so tough for these individuals shouldn't society be enabling these people?

We need each other to live.... we need each of us to do our best so that we all may grow... these are basic things that every person should be able to deduce.... then why all the madness, superstition and non-sense around us? Why?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Confessions of a Cricket fan!

Namaskar. Is karyakram mein aapka swaagat hai!

Late last night I'd met up with a few friends in Coffee Day. As usual I was the early bird and I had to wait a good 45 min before I got some company.

Anyways... I was there. I prefer sitting outside to indoors. So I found myself a chair and sat down.
Well I was the only non- looove matter person there outside. Every other place was occupied by a couple. In fact it had to be that way. I'll tell you why- because of the god-damn mosquitoes!
I couldn't sit outside for 10 min and had to go running inside. You had to be in love to not realize the god-damn mosquitoes! God bless them couples...

So I went inside and here the crowd was a more even spread. You had groups of guys and girls sitting around. I was the only loner. I didn't mind. There was a hot-chick sitting with her-gal friends and I found myself a nice place where I could get a nice 'view'. :)

I found that I had to look at the TV too. So I did. Ah...What is this? A cricket match! That too India playing... against Sri Lanka... how come I didn't know! How come none of my friends told me about it! What the hell?

So as a true gentleman I pretended to focus on the match on TV while my attentions were actually else where.

As I was watching Dravid got bowled. Nice... Then Yuvraj was trying his best to edge behind to the keeper. He finally got lucky and did just that. Then Raina came in and showed Yuvraj exactly how easy it is and that he shouldn't have wasted 6 balls trying it. Raina did it in his first one!

K... screw the match... where is the babe? Yes... she was there... and yes she caught me looking at her... girls always know... and she gave me one of those 'i know you are looking' stares, and she got with her friends and giggled... i knew she didn't mind being 'looked at' by me.
Just as I was about to muster up the courage and actually go and talk to her my friend calls and he's like 5 minutes he'll be there. Ah.... what the hell... I decided not to proceed. I stayed put in my chair.
(5 minutes turned out to be 30... but he has a girl friend... and like the old saying goes...''love takes time".)

The cricket was excruciatingly boring. Every time the ball went to the outfield I'd find myself counting in my head till the next ball was bowled. And it was consistently in the 3-figure mark. GOSH! I'm here sitting jobless trying to watch my fav game and I couldn't. Yes... there was the distraction... but I think there is a deeper reason to it. ODI's have lost their thrill. 20-20's have taken their place and I think it's just a matter of time before ODI's get 'phased' out. Luckily for me there was the 'distraction'. :)

So I was waiting for my friends... pretending to watch the match... and generally enjoying myself... when suddenly I felt like I was being stared at. I looked around and suddenly found a head moving sheepishly away. No it wasn't the chick. It was a guy! Apparently he walked in after I had... and he was sitting alone too.

Right... I thought it was a one-off. But no... this guy kept staring at me... I was like what the bloody hell. I felt like a chick. I moved my position a little. Still staring at me... I pretended to look at the TV and watch him through the corner of my eye, and yes, he was still staring at me. Now I was getting paranoid. I took a quick glance in the mirror to see if there was anything on my face... I couldn't find anything except my face! I looked around to see if my fly was open. It wasn't. Everything was fine... and I still felt naked.

By this time I'd lost focus on the chick. I realized that this is probably the way chicks feel when I stare at them. I felt guilty. I prayed to God and begged him to take this guy away from there. I made promises that I'd never stare at a chick again... though all along I could hear a voice in my head saying "who you kidding?".

All right I told myself... focus on the match... God damn.. it was so bloody lousy anything else had to be better... yes there was the chick.... but no... there was my 'admirer'.

I couldn't take it beyond a certain point... So I finally got up... walked to the guy... and asked him what his problem was... he looked helpless... and at that moment I realized he was squint... and i felt terrible inside. One glance at the girls and I saw them giggling... I felt like a bloody fool.

I thought of walking out just then... but my friends came in at that very instant... talk about timing...

None of them reads this blog and I never gave them the full story of the awkward moment there. It was way too embarrassing. I hope you won't tell them....

Now if only the cricket had been good... none of this would have happened!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Connecting with your Blog Dosts


How to you to be doing is? All well?

Been some time. Well it was nothing but the old writer's block. And if not for Issam's call today I don't think I'd have actually written this post.

Issam is the only follower of my blog whom I'm personally in touch with. And the blog often features in our conversations. It's something that connects us. A passion that we both share. And that's only enhanced our friendship.( People out there- pls don't start getting ideas... I'm straight... I can't vouch for Issam... but I am STRAIGHT! )

You know sometimes it plays in my head that we should be able to contact each other. Connect in more ways than just our blogs/comments. We could share ideas. We could actually become friends... coz hey.... we all love blogging don't we?

But then there is the apprehension. I mean... blogging is actually putting your thoughts out there in to the big bad world. And well... quite frankly... we don't know what kind of people are out there. Maybe it's better that we keep our identities to ourselves in the virtual world. You know like Frost's poem about the wall... and 'good fences make good neighbours'( in this case bloggers!).
Being anonymous allows one to be more frank about things. And any clash in thoughts can be handled right here.

But it would still be nice to know all of you out there. I didn't like tagging... but you get to know a bit about the people around when you go through their tags. That's nice. And maybe we should do more of that stuff.

I don't know... maybe we could be good friends... maybe we'll never hit it off. But do you think it's worth a try?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who is God?

ps: This post is purely fiction

I'd been volunteering in a home for the mentally challenged. Every Saturday I'd go to the home and spend some time with the adults and children there. I'd try and teach some of the kids or I'd spend some time talking with the adults. We would sit together and make beads, weave carpets, learn to count change, try and pronounce our names etc.

The kids were easier to handle and more eager to learn. The adults were of course slightly different. They'd take offense if you tried to teach them something. So you had to do it with tact. You couldn't tell them that 'they had to go to the toilet'. You had to suggest that 'we all make a visit to the loo'.

To see the effort that the people in the home took to do ordinary routine things made me realize how truly blessed I was. I had a 'working mind'. One that could perform the 3R's, one that had learned to identify things, one that enabled me to live, to think clearly(or so I thought!).

And so I went to the home to reinforce my feeling of superiority. To enhance my ego. I truly believed that I was one of God's chosen few. This was all of course till I had my conversation with Ramu.

Ramu is a patient in the home, the same age as me. He'd just moved out from the kids in to the adults. Ramu is among the boisterous, ever-curious, energy personified types. You rarely have a dull moment with him around. Here are a few samples of his misdemeanors.

Ramu was one of the few people who knew how to operate the school bell. Unfortunately this wasn't a good thing because he'd ring it whenever he pleased, and that meant all the children who'd been trained to get up and leave class if the bell rang, would all get up and leave their classes creating a major ruckus in school.

Ramu loved the biscuits you'd get in the tea-shop opposite the road. The prob was he never had any money. So he'd order one of the younger fellows to keep the watchman occupied, then go in to the watchman's cabin and snatch whatever money he could find. He couldn't count the money. So he'd simply buy biscuits for all the money in his hand.

Some girls had come to volunteer and he reportedly told one of them- "that your pants are so tight I can make the outline of your bum!"

He'd been caught by a nurse for peeking in to the ladies' bathroom. His retort was- "If you can see me piss, why can't I see you piss?".

So Ramu wasn't easy to handle and one day the person-in-charge asked me to take care of Ramu as he was being very difficult. I decided that the best way to keep him in leash was to keep him occupied. I looked around the room and pointed to a picture of God.

I sat next to Ramu, folded his hands together and made him close his eyes. I told him to pray to God. For a few moments his eye-lids were closed. And then they opened and there was an extraordinary radiance in his eyes.

"Ajai Anna I've just found out that I am God.".

I laughed and asked him how he'd come to that conclusion.

He said -" I find that whenever I pray to God I'm actually talking to myself!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Kaminey"- The Movie Review

I'm not really a movie buff. I'm not much in to watching movies in theaters at all. But every once in a while an exception must be made when family or friends force me.

So last Friday, I was coerced in to watching a movie by mom and sis. Now I knew "Kaminey" was an 'A' rated movie. And I didn't want to be embarrassed watching the movie with family. But they'd already bought the tickets. And no one.. absolutely no one was free at that particular time to fill in for me. So I decided to tug along and watch the movie. It was a Vishal Bharadwaj film after all.

And let me tell you this.. 'Kaminey' is a once in a life-time movie. And I'm glad that I was forced in to that movie hall! Absolutely brilliant! Bharadwaj brings the Guy Ritchie/ Quentin Tarantino style of movie making- tuned to India(or more precisely Mumbai). Though the story is not really new... the treatment is as original as it can get. The writing for this movie is first class.

The story line from the outset is quite predictable... but Bharadwaj keeps you glued to your seats with the pace, twists and turns. The characters don't mouth long tardy dialogues... it's very galli lingo. The entire look and feel of the movie is very earthy and you know that if there were characters like these in real-life, then that's exactly how they'd behave. The humour is dark and intelligent.... the movie goer who enjoys the brainless comedies Hindi movies are famous for will not enjoy this. 'Kaminey' requires, or rather demands, your attention for the complete 2 hours+.

The script is just so well written and so tight, it's unbelievable for an Indian movie! There have been a few good movies that have come out in recent years. But this movie is not parallel cinema. It is basic Hindi movie 'formulaic' fare complete with looove ishtory, judwaa bhais, draamaa, emosion and real 'kaminey' villains...all building up to a climax... but the film still holds despite it's predictability... and that's the beauty of it.

Each one of the ensemble cast- from the corrupt policemen(lolo and lebe), to the politician-don(bhopu!), to the full-time don(tashi- tashi the greeat!), are just wonderfully sketched out and each actor does full justice to his role. The performances of each of the actors are just out-standing and that's what really brings the movie alive. Shahid Kapur(as Guddu and Charlie) is fantastic. The character of Charlie and his trademark lisping of 'f' for 's' is just tremendous. The character impacted us all so much that we were all lisping for 2 days straight. :). Priyanka Chopra(Sweety) is brilliant. She plays and aggro-Marathi babe with such flair (The scene in which she shoots her machine gun in the climax is one of my favourites in the movie). My personal favourites were the guys who played Mikhail and Tashi- killer dudes.. with killer attitudes to boot! : )

And special mention must be made of 'Dhan-te-nan'. The energy in the movie builds up to a crescendo and the song fulfills the requirement as an outlet for all that pent up energy. It moves you and pulls you in to the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I 'fuggeft' that you 'fhould' watch it. I'll be happy to read your commentf on it. ;)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

India's 62nd Independence Day

Happy Independence day people!

Well it's time for the patriotic bandha in me to come out. It is after all Independence day. What better day to write a post about your country ah?

I have to be honest here. I feel a bit old. I remember India's 50th independence day celebrations. I remember at exactly 12 noon all the TV channels played Rahman's 'Vande Mataram'. And today I realize it's been 12 years since! That's almost half my life!

Many critics, most famously Winston Churchill,( and more recently some chinese joker named Zhong Guo Zhan Lue Gang) have predicted the end of our nation. We have defied the critics and we continue to march on.

India is not a nation in the conventional sense of the term. We are not one race, or people who speak one language, or follow one religion. We are not exactly a physical entity by ourselves(though this is arguable).

India is an idea. Or, to put it better... India is an ideal. India is not an easy country to understand. It forces man to put aside all his ideas of separation and classification and look at things differently. It forces you to answer difficult questions. It requires you to be tolerant, to be understanding, to be different, to seek the truth, to be lawful, to understand differences, and above all- to challenge convention.

Our founding fathers dreamt up an India that would be an ideal to all humanity. The idea lives on and contiues to inspire us. India to me is a passion. It is pure, it is magic, it is old, it is new, it is vibrant and most of all it is happening!

There are miles and miles to go. There is much to be done. But let's not forget that greatness is our destiny. Let's get together and make our 'tryst with destiny'.

Jai Hind.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Narayana Murthy's- "A Better India: A Better World"

I just finished reading this book. I'm glad I bought it. It's a collector's edition. One that any true connoisseur of books should have in his library.

Mr Narayana Murthy is one of the leading intellectuals in India today. He was the founder Chairman of Infosys and is the face of India's BPO revolution. Though he has retired from the Chairman's post, he continues to be on the board of Infosys and many other companies.
This book is a collection of Mr Murthy's speeches and articles. He mainly talks about the many issues that India and the World are facing and suggests some ideas which may help in fixing them.
Murthy talks about Climate Change, law, Globalization, Socialism vs Capitalism, IT and so on. It is an intellectual treat and I strongly suggest it if you are of that bent of mind.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What is LIFE supposed to be?

We are all born, enter childhood, then in to the teens, then we become adults and then there is old age. And finally there is Death. So many people around us.... and yet... when it comes to LIFE, there really is only one routine in it for all of us.

I know there are a gazillion philosophies out there saying LIFE is supposed to be this and that and many things. But to be frank- I just don't get it. Not at all, not one bit.

Some people say chase your bliss. Some people say sacrifice is the essence of life. Some people say it's for the future. Some people say it's your past catching up with you. All of these are conflicting and yet you feel there is some amount of cosmic truth to each of these philosophies. Having said that I still find it difficult to accept any one philosophy and really tell myself -this is the one!

Why can't things be much simpler? Or you know, why can't some higher purpose suddenly come to me and take me and grip me and give meaning and solace to my life. This takes me back to the scene in the movies where the hero is holding on to his dying father who tells him to take revenge or to grow up and be the best soldier or actor or whatever it is. And you know... that guy actually actually has something to live for.

I have a general philosophy. But somehow... it works for everyone else but me! Most of my friends come to me for advice or to seek counsel. And I base my answers on a certain understanding, and most of the times, I am being modest here, it tends to work for them. But for me... I'm still clueless as to how to apply it? What to apply it for?

I'm 24 bloody years old. I still can't figure out what I want to do with my life. One moment it's this and the other moment it's something completely different. There is frustration, anxiety and a certain panic that, you know, how long am I going to be floating around like this?

I find it extremely difficult to put anything in perspective. To be rational about things. Dreams and aspirations are never rational are they?

I had decided some time ago as to what I wanted to do. But unfortunately my folks decided that was not going to be. Then I decided on something else. But that doesn't seem to get me motivated to do what requires to be done. I know it seems simple that I should go back to the first course. But it's not that simple. Why? Well coz in someways the course that my parents have/want in mind is also something that I've wanted to achieve but gave up on.

I've tried to visualize myself 5 years in to the future. I can't see anything except that I feel helpless and stupid and that I haven't done anything with my life. I dread that. I don't want that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The ABC Tag!

Well... yet yanother tag!!!

This time I've been Tagged by Sowmi..... :)

This is the ABC tag...

Read at your own peril!!!!!

A – Available? - Na... I don't think you people can afford me...:P

B – Best friend? The BOO! :)

C – Cake or Pie? Cake and pie and chocolate and ice-cream and strawberries and carrot halwa and.....

D – Drink of choice? Whisky on the rocks with no alcoholo! ;)

E – Essential item you use every day? The POT!... Come on... imagine if you didn't use it for a day!

F – Favourite colour? ---Blue... I like all things Blue: Blue Sky, Blue water, Blue movies(ah..ooopps... that wasn't supposed to come out!)

G – Gummy Bears Or Worms? --- i have no idea what the person who wrote this question intends with either.. but in anyway i want out of this question!

H – Hometown? Chennai OOR... Vanakam...Idly/Sambhar/Pongal Saar! soooooppppeeeer! :P

I – Indulgence? ---- Books!(Other indulgences might potentially invite law enforcement agencies to pry around... so let's keep away from that!)

J – January or February? --- or March? or April?... duh! -- Let's just say any time I'm having fun is a good time and I prefer that!

K – Kids & their names?11-- I want my own cricket team u see... the Kesavan XI! Their names... hmmm venkatanarayan subramaniam vikatalakshmi anthony anwar Supreet vignehswara AJai Kesavan(THt's one name k!). I've only got one name so far for my kid... when i get others... U'll be the first to know. :)

L – Life is incomplete without?
Losing your Virginity... Serious guys come on.. :P

M – Marriage date? Feb 30th 2010

N – Number of siblings? one

O – Oranges or Apples? Hmmm.. depends... Is there going to be a girl biting the fruit at the other end??? Coz even then both fruits have their advantages... Apple... you can go on gnawing away till the center till ur lips meet! and orange u can get all dirty and squashy! ;)

P – Phobias/Fears? "The only thing to fear is fear itself"....AJai Ravi Kesavan

Q – Quote for today? "All praise Lord AJai... pray that he is kind to us...pray that we don't invite his wrath!"

R – Reason to smile?----I'm extremely Smart & Handsome & Sexy.... That should give all you girls there plenty of reasons to smile! :)

S – Season? ---Winter--I like feeling the warm blood running through me in the cold..;)

T – Tag 3 People?--- Issam( why should I suffer alone???), Sana, Ayesha!
U – Unknown fact about me?---- I'm SUPER SEXY! :)

V – Vegetable you don't like?Bitter Gourd... It's not that I don't like it... but I don't prefer it.

W – Worst habit? :P... Next Question!

X – X-rays you've had? 472198....Honorary President of the Chennai X-ray Club! I get them done free u see...:)

Y – Your favourite food?--- Food.... foood... fooooood......... foooooooood!

Z – Zodiac sign? Cancer..... Beware the CLAW of the CRAB!

Friday, July 31, 2009

India & Global Warming - 2

This is a continuation of my previous post. First time readers would do well to read the post just prior to this one to get the complete picture.

The challenges posed by Global Warming are enormous and are going to challenge the human race in every way possible. There are going to be technological challenges, infrastructural challenges, societal challenges, etc. It might not be too far fetched to say that it is going to be the most difficult challenge that we will face in this century.

We are going to have to be at our innovative best if we are to generate enough power to sustain life and civilization as it is today. In this scenario it is imperative that the Ministry of Power should develop a road map for power generation in the future. Sadly, nothing of the sort is forthcoming.

Below, I'd like to discuss some plans and ideas that I have in mind to overcome the power generation challenge. I've not really done a complete study on the viability of these projects but I have a hunch that some of them could work.

Central to my ideas is the belief that we have to try and make each house self-sufficient in power. Solar energy will of-course play a big part in this. There could also be other avenues like the construction of low-cost wind mills, or energy from bio-mass etc. Now what this means is that every house owner is responsible for generating energy for themselves. So if you want to put that additional AC in your house then you have to make sure that you are able to generate enough power for it.

Any excess power generated should be fed in to a grid. In times of distress where a particular household is not able to generate enough power for it's needs then it should be able to draw power from the grid. So for eg, if it's an overcast day in the place you are staying in and the solar panels on your roof are not generating enough electricity then you can draw power from the grid and run the appliances in your house.

Major solar-power plants and hydel power plants can be used to provide power to large industries. Additionally they should also supply power to the grid which can balance the supply and demand over the whole country.

I think we should take it on ourselves and try some of these ideas out. It might not be a bad idea to go in to the interior regions of our country, where there is still no access to electricity, and give it a shot.

There needs to be an urgency to tackle these challenges. We need to be more bold and welcome the challenges that the new economy is going to put on us rather than shy away from them.

I'll be happy to hear your thoughts on these ideas. Thanks. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

India & Global Warming 1

Flashback to the 80's and 90's- The American Auto Industry Lobby in Washington successfully stalls all efforts by Congress and the Senate to introduce emission and mileage controls on automobiles. The Auto industry argues that consumers should have the freedom to choose their vehicles and the kind of performance it should give. The industry feared that, with tighter laws, the American public would not be able to buy the big gas guzzling Suburban trucks and 4-wheel-drives that they were so fond of.

Coming back to the present. General Motors(GM) is bankrupt. Ford has lost it's position as the second biggest car company in the world and had to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata to stay afloat. Chrysler is considered so toxic that Diamler-Benz(with whom they were supposed to have merged!) removed all associations with them and the company is struggling to find a buyer who can bail them out. The American Auto Industry, once the pride of the American people and the poster-boys of American prowess, now lies in tatters.

On the other hand Euorpean and Japanese Auto makers had to comply with the strict laws that their Governments were putting in place. As a result the mileage efficiency and emission levels of their cars improved drastically. When the era of cheap-oil ended, these manufacturers offered vehicles that were more value for money than the American ones. As a result America lost while Europe, Japan and other countries(most notably South Korea) took over the market.

Now, where is the lesson in this for India???

The Indian Govt's line, in most international forums for climate change, has been that the so-called developed countries should do more to curb pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases. On paper this looks like a good argument, coz if we compare the per-capita emissions of India and the so-called developed countries, our pollution levels are way below. But, having said that, because of our Jumbo size, India still manages to be the 3rd most polluting country on the planet!

Our Govt and members of our elite argue that, if India has to become a fully developed and fully industrialized country, then it needs to have more leeway in fulfilling it's emission and pollution control obligations. They argue that it is simply not acceptable that one standard be set for all because the developed countries have already developed, whereas India cannot afford to set tighter laws and regulations coz that would impede economic and industrial growth.

I think the Govt and others who have taken that line have a fair point. We need economic growth to remove poverty and for further societal development. But should we not accept global norms when it comes to pollution control? Should we leave it to other nations to try and bring down their emissions while we go on with the old way?

Clearly there is going to be a new way. Scientific studies have proved that the old way is simply not sustainable. Oil, Gas and Coal are not going to be replenished and when the world runs out of these sources we're going to have to look at others. This is where my eg of the American Auto Industry comes in. What will happen to India when the world runs out of these sources?

Other nations will have a head start when it comes to developing technology for renewable resources. Since they have tighter regulations in place today, manufacturers and researchers will look for the technologies that will be more Eco-friendly, and in time they will have these technologies with them.

It is bad enough that India is lagging behind today when it comes to industrialization. But if we follow the course that the Govt intends for us, then we are going to be laggards in the future also.
Most of the power plants that we are building today will simply be of no use tomorrow. What about all the money invested in them? We are still going to have to generate power. If we hold on to the line that we are holding on to, then we will soon find ourselves in the same place where the American Auto Industry is today. The rest of the world will be reaping the benefits of foresight, like the European and Japanese car makers are now, and we will be playing catch-up just like we are now. If there is no reason and no incentive for our researchers and manufacturers to develop alternate sources of energy then obviously there is going to be no development in the field.

Analysts estimate that the renewable energy market will be worth 2 trillion dollars by 2050. India's current GDP is a little over 1 trillion. Isn't there a big opportunity for India to try and capture that market? We have to awaken our people to the possibilities of renewable sources and their market potential.

I will continue this essay in my next post. :)