Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kill for fun!

Alcohol kills brain cells. Human beings are the only species on earth, who takes the only organ on their body that cannot grow back, and kills it for fun..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Attention please!

Some kids are desperatly in need of attention. What more glory is there, than always being in the limelight- a subject of discussion on every family gathering, on the dinner tables of neighbouring households...? The kid uses every arrow in the quill for this sole purpose, hits the bull's eye sometimes, but fails otherwise. When singing, dancing, poetry does not serve the cause, use plan B, use the swearings learned from friends. Parents may be embarrassed, but guests dig such performances. Kid basks in glory, while parents search for a mug of water to get drowned... I feel the latest comments of Arundhati Roy, that K ashmir was never a part of India, is such a tantrum...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Centurion: 100th post.

I am now typing the hundredth post of Conscientious Reflections...
100 posts, 2 years and one month...  25 months .. averages one post per week... not bad, is it?
It all started in September 2008, as a personal diary, the name was different then, one which more suited my state of mind and intention at that point of time... 
In 2008, I never intended visitors to come in. Of course I was a bit shy, that some strangers would attempt to read my ramblings and rants... 
Only a privileged few used to drop in.. as I used to update the status with a link of post in Orkut and then Facebook and twitter later on...
You can see that if you check the comments in the blog, barring one or two odd comments, the initial posts, many of them my personal favorites, never attracted much comments.
Friends and relatives who stumbles upon them leaves their comments in Orkut or other sites... 
That time there was no interaction with other bloggers too. 
From last April 2010, more visitors started coming in. And that was the time I had my first follower... 
That was the time I started visiting other bloggers, putting comments there and following some of the most ingenious writers I had ever read...
They in turn had been kind enough to drop in and comment and give valuable suggestions... 
And I feel now I feel responsible for writing good... yes, that is the difference that I feel these days from those times when I used to write for my own sake.

I think I would just mention  some posts that are more popular and those are my favorites below:

Most popular post in terms of visits:
A Team : The Movie from past: This was my appreciation of a popular action movie, that was violent and humorous at the same time... as per Google Analytics, it is the most viewed page, most of the visitors coming from google search... 

Most popular post in terms of comments:
The last man on earth to watch inception: An appreciation of the movie block buster Inception got most number of comments.. and still I am getting a few of them...

My personal favorites:
Yossarian's struggles: About the book Catch 22. I loved the book. So I was intending to go overboard with it. I wanted to compare it with some other similar works I read at that time, and it was a post that took  more time and energy..  

Incredible life and death of my talkative middle finger: An attempt at fiction for the first time in years, this absurd story was conceptualized in a sleepless night. Started drafting it next day, stopped in between disheartened and again worked on it after a month and some how done with it. It came out the way I intended  it to be I feel...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

HaiKu (or Low-ku?)

blood horizon;
spilled wine from
fountain of hope.

Puzzled? For the uninitiated, this is a fine specimen of Japanese kind of poetry, called  Haiku, very short and sweet and pretty tough to make....

For the well informed out there, this is a first time, amateurish attempt of a newbie on the much touted poetic style that originated in Japan called Haiku. Don't pounce on me, last day I happened to see this kind in a very popular blog, so the mind which imitates anything new that it sees, tried it...

All Haiku masters out there, put your comments for this Low- ku... (I know I have not followed the rules, the climate one or the syllable one... I really cannot find how many syllables are there in wine... 1 or 2?)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bored to kill

Do anyone know the name of that Steven Segal movie that I watched last day, in the climax of which, the villain, armed to teeth, searches for him in an abandoned ware house for fifteen minutes, finally gets frustated and shouts, 'Come on, let us do this your way' and drops the gun?. Segal comes out and kills him with a karate chop...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love, sex and solitude: Memories of melancholy whores

Read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella Memories of my melancholy whores.  Whenever I get my hands on an unread book of a writer whom I like, I never reads it in a haste. There outbursts a fear in mind, whether the book justifies my opinion about the writer. I goes on playing with it, reading the title, looking at the cover, never daring to read. What if this novel turns out to be the one that I despises, because there is high chance that a writer makes the mistake writing some thing highly unreadable, and if this is it? It never happened with Marquez before, but you cannot say. So I took my time with this small novella, but finally read it. 

Memories of my melancholy whores is typical Marquez... Many themes that frequently appears in his previous works find place here also. But what sets Memories apart is the unique writing style devoid of the exaggeration or explosiveness. Writing style is more like his Autobiography, Living to tell the tale. It moves without any hurry,  in a slow pace, appreciating itself, enjoying the moments, but outbursting in places... just like the ninety year protagonist who decides to gift himself a night of love from a virgin, to celebrate his ninetieth birthday.

The novel starts in typical Marquez style- by stating a very unlikely situation, the one I just told. All of his novels have this peculiar way of beginning. Love in the time of cholera begins when Florentino Ariza proposes to the love of his teens, when her husband of fifty years of marriage dies. One hundred years of solitude has the picture of a city made of ice cubes and The Autumn of the patriarch has an old dictator dying alone in his palace after a century of autonomous ruling. 

This is the story of a ninety year old, unnamed, unmarried, unread, ugly looking teacher and journalist, who in his own words..."never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay ... by the time I was fifty there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once ... My public life, on the other hand, was lacking in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor without a future, a mediocre journalist ... and a favorite of caricaturists because of my exemplary ugliness" wants to celebrate his ninetieth birthday with a virgin. He manages to get a 14 year old girl, but he falls for her. He don't know her name or never seen her awake (at one point he is not even able to identify her in daylight).  The experience changes his life, he see a new vigor in everything, changes the way he live, he thinks, making him an overnight celebrity as his column becomes hugely popular throughout the country. 

Three themes that  I feel recurs in this novel is Love, Sex and Solitude. You can find it in many novels of Marquis in different proportions, giving varied interpretations.  Sex for Marquez is a refuge from unrequited love. Like in other novels, the protagonists sleeps with countless prostitutes, but never falls in love. Sex is a way to vent the solitude out of life. And love that requites late in life is an escape from solitude to reality and its beauties.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Devouring inferno: A seed is sown

Another attempt at fiction, just read it and comment if it is worth continuing...  

Devouring inferno

Chapter 1
A seed is sown

This was not supposed to end like this... No way...I always expected my story to finish like a fairy tale ... the chap on a shining armor, walking towards sunset with all fortunes around, but.... here I am, dejected, defeated, dying.... 

Two years back, I was a struggling young stage actor, trying to make the ends meet and hoping sometime to make it big on silver screen. My drama company was owned by Chowdariji, a miserly old guy, as related to art as a cat to a rat... he only wanted to en cash the strange assortment of individuals surrounding him, never bothering if he is returning anything for their services. The work load was too much, the team without any morale and absenteeism abundant. Slowly the quality and quantity of programs were diminishing and we were on the edge of the cliff, ready to tug on any available hay wire.   

And that hay wire turned out to be Kailash nath or Bhaiyya as we used to call him... He was from North India, tall, lean, with a pair of deepest, menacing eyes I have ever watched on a face. Bhaiyya used to visit Nairji's tea shop near our rehearsal  shed, and though he never used to mingle with us, Ramu the director was quite close to him.  We were always uneasy when he was around, although we used to admire him.

Ramu was just two years elder than me, but he was a natural born leader. He was with Chowdari from a long time and that was how he got to become the  director. He never had any special stage sense or talent to direct a play, but we all feared him and that was enough reason for Chowdari to give him all the control. Anyway the kind of plays that we made never needed any talent to direct or perform. Script writer Nathu circulated the script, a bunch of poorly photocopied sheets containing incoherent mess of a story studded with cheap comedy and double innuendo, among actors. We had to by heart them and put on some cheap make up, costumes and blabber on stage. All of us lived in the stage of total poverty, but Ramu alone was never in the ditch. He always seemed to have enough cash with him, and I have never seen him asking Chowdari for favours as we do. We deduced that Chowdari used to pay him money behind our backs, for managing us. 

One day it was our heroin's birthday and poor girl had agreed to buy us tea. As we crowded in the shop, all except Ramu, Kailash entered.  
"Chikne, where's Ramu?"
I was surprised that he knew me. I had never spoken or not even introduced to him before.
"Don't know Bhaiyya. He left early today."
"Hm, come out."
I was tensed, not knowing why this guy was calling me alone. I did not have the guts to disobey him. So I went behind him towards the banyan tree in the nearby junction. Bhaiyya sat on the platform and I stood near him, feeling like an invalid.
"How is your play coming around?"
"We are rehearsing Bhaiyya, next week there are some bookings."
"How is the finance, do that kanjoos Chowdari pay you anything at all?"
"What to tell Bhaiyya,  Ramu might have told you about our condition."
"I know everything. Ramu has specially mentioned about you. He likes you among those unruly gutter dwellers. What are your plans?"
I was quite flattered hearing that Ramu has mentioned about me.
"Some how I want to enter big screen, Bhaiyya. Then I will click. I am sure, I have talent"  
He started laughing his heads off. I was worried. Did I tell anything foolish?
"Ha Ha Ha... So you want to be a star, haan?"
"Ever seen yourself in a mirror? No height, lean, a little fair and good looking, I accept, but no way you are going to shine there. Only a big shot's son can dream of becoming a star in the field these days."
"Bhaiyya, I am just thinking of some small supporting parts."
"What you will get from that? You will be left licking the feet of directors and producers the whole life. Just for an entry you have to pay dedh lakh, bachoo..."
"You tell me Bhaiyya, what can I do?"
"If living, you have to live as a king. In jungle you should be nothing short of a Lion. Else you should die. Do you get it?"
"Haan Bhaiyya."
"Shall I tell you something? Chikne, you are not born for any of this drama- shaama... Believe me you can make your life huge if you just stand with me."
"How Bhaiyya?"
"The first rule is to be patient. I will assure you something big is coming up and we- me and Ramu want to share our fortune with you, if you pledge you will keep mum till we speak again next time and then stand with us. Are you ready?"
"Bhaiyya, Can I have...." "Time? Saale, we will get many invalids in Mumbai, there is no dearth of unemployed here. I want you to give your word now, or the deal is off. Thats it!"
"Ok, Bhaiyya, I am game." I told without thinking about consequences. I did not want my hay wire to disappear, shattering ay chances to emerge from the edge of the cliff. 
"Hm... I will inform you when time comes."

He walked away leaving me clueless, puzzled and thinking what turn my future is going to take next....

(To be continued...)

Friday, October 15, 2010

On religion, prayer etc.

This happened a few days back.... I was chatting with my friend when a friend of his, who was in the background till then chipped in to the conversation. We were talking about food, and my friend was telling a particular place was better because they served more quantity of non vegetarian items with food when compared to other places. But he had considered egg dishes as non veg (omelet or "aamplate", as they say it in my place). I told him never to consider egg as non veg because  the cost of egg is considerably less than chicken or mutton and a dish will also cost considerably less than when even compared to vegetarian dishes. At that moment my friend's friend, whom I am meeting for the first time barged in with his opinion. "Ey, egg is non veg yaar, don't tell it as veg."

A little background info now. My friend had told me before itself that this guy is a very nice chap, but he never stops talking, will talk more on religion and compel you to pray and do things like that. So I was kind of expecting to have a showdown with him sometime soon... 

"I was telling about the economy of non veg, don't bring in religion now." I retorted.
Thus started a discussion on religion which went on into topics like significance of religious scriptures, benefits of prayer, about belief....

He was telling that we should not fall into materialistic pleasures and should live a life of spiritual uplifting by doing good things like prayer, meditation. We got our life as a human after countless lives of many animals and we have to be busy with escaping from this world to a world of endless pleasures and stuff like that. He also told about the ever living soul. And if we eat non veg you will become like a lion. 

I was considerably happy hearing the last thing. I always have a liking and admiration for creatures like lions, puma, vultures....

He asked, "Who are you?"
I gave my name and permanent address. He was baffled for a moment and then tried to correct me. It seems I am an eternal soul who manifests itself in my body, whatever that means...

"That is YOUR belief." I replied.
"There is a chance that, it may not be right."

"No way."

"Have you ever read Githa?"  
"So you are arguing with just some bookish knowledge."
"Githa, Bible, Quran and such scriptures are not books. They are the truth."
"Again that is your belief. I need not believe that."
"But that is truth."
"How can you be so certain? A Belief can never be truth. Only knowledge can be true."
"We are on a constant search for that knowledge."
"Till you possess that knowledge, you are just believing and not certain. So you have no right to tell me what to follow. Because there is a scope for error."

From then onwards it was my show. I told him that I have read Githa, Quran, Bible and several books on religion like some works of Vivekananda and such things.(Actually that is half truth. I have read a few books on religion, but in an argument what counts is how much your opponent feels you knows. And I scored there. He really believed it.) That is the ground work, and then my mind should process it and the ultimate knowledge will come eventually from my inside. If you go on searching you will never find it. Do as your heart says. And one fine day if you are fit for it the answer will come from yourself. I mentioned the famous quote, the only real Christian in the world was crucified.  So why we have to be phony Christians, Muslims or Hindus if we are able to make our own  genuine private religion? 

The last nail on the coffin was the famous quotation from J Krishnamurthy. "Freedom from the known." I told him about his philosophy, which says no one should follow him or any one in that case blindly. Know yourselves, otherwise you will be a believer life long.... 

He never came near me after that till today.......

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Male or Female

Ah... copy paste... copy paste.... blatant copy of some other webpage...

From the Washington Post Style Invitation, in which it was postulated that English should have male and female nouns, and readers were asked to assign a gender to nouns of their choice and explain their reason.

The best submissions:

SWISS ARMY KNIFE: Male, because even though it appears useful for a wide variety of work, it spends most of its time just opening bottles.

KIDNEYS: Female, because they always go to the bathroom in pairs.

TIRE: Male, because it goes bald and often is over-inflated.

HOT AIR BALLOON: Male, because to get it to go anywhere you have to light a fire under it... and, of course, there's the hot air part.

SPONGES: Female, because they are soft and squeezable and retain water.

MAGIC 8 BALL: Male, because it gives monosyllabic answers that usually
indicate it did not pay attention to your question.

WEB PAGE: Female, because it is always getting hit on.

SHOE: Male, because it is usually unpolished, with its tongue hanging out.

ZIPLOC BAGS: Male, because they hold everything in, but you can always see right through them.

SUBWAY: Male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

HOURGLASS: Female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

HAMMER: Male, because it hasn't evolved much over the last 5,000 years, but it's handy to have around.

SUBWAY: Male, because it uses the same old lines to pick up people.

REMOTE CONTROL: Female...Ha! thought I'd say male. But consider, it gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying.

CRITIC: Female, What, this needs to be explained?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Movie round up October '10

Suffering from a blogger's block, after not posting anything from 3 months, today I think I will just put a quick one line review of some movies that I watched lately. No creative inclination these days...

Endiran/ Robot: Decades before Shankar was successful in making Kamal look aged in Indian and now he has done it reverse for Rajni and came out successful again...

The Expendables: Stallone, Statham, Li, Willis, Lundgren, Austin, Couture, Crews, Schwarzennegger, Rourke, bazooka, machine gun, grenade, explosions, Kung fu, karate,  fist fighting, wrestling, kick boxing, muay thai, chases, helicopter.... first Stallone thought of putting a story in the middle of this chaos, but later wisely thought otherwise...

Machete: Gallons of blood, decapitated heads, tasteless violence, mindless plot providing whole some entertainment!

Dabanng: Salman Khan molesting a police uniform in every imaginable way possible.

Grown ups: Sandler, Hayek and party having a vacation in producer's expense.

Predators: Pluralizing a classic movie name wont necessarily make a classic movie and a Pianist can't be Predator...

Once upon a time in Mumbai: No "company" for Ajai Devgn...

Tere bin Laden:  The other side of the border is a funny place...

Boss engira Baskaran: Watch out for last 5 mins...

Salt: Anjelina Jolie is the only actress who is capable of donning a single expression throughout a movie and manages to overact... now thats what I call talent.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan: Ingenious, hilarious and highly recommended....

Heard Shah rukh is making a science fiction called RA-1.... Mani Rathnam's title and Shankar's concept?