Thursday, January 27, 2011

A fist full of SMS

"What the hell is happening? Who called from my phone?"

Sudden shouts that came from the sitting room caused ripples throughout the house. Seethamma, who was busy boiling tea, shuddered at the voice. It was a rare occation. Rajagopal Master, her husband was a man of cool temper and if he is making this noise, matter is serious. Seethamma ran towards the sitting room.

Akash and Anu had already reached there. Both of them where quite perplexed seeing the usually quiet, amiable Master fuming with his mobile phone in his hand.

"Who called and finished the balance? Tell me the truth!" Master's sound boomed again. His friends had compelled him to buy that phone. For years, when the whole population of the village was basking in the new found sensation of cell phones, SMS and SIM cards, he resisted the compulsion from friends, former students and family. What good was mobile phone for a retired school teacher like him? He used to maintain that it was for business men, who need connectivity on the go.

It took his friends, his former colleagues all now in the same age of autumn as Master, almost three years of continuous persistence to make him consider buying himself one. And Master, a careful spender, or miser in Seethamma's own words, used to be very particular in recharging it. Only once in a month, not more than Rs 30 and that too if there is a full talk time offer. He had charged for Rs 50 last day, and Rs 20was cut immediately thanks to the devotional pack that Seethamma activated. He was quite irritated by this waste of money, but Seethamma was a very devoitonal kind of lady who will not budge in that particular matter.

"I send an SMS for a quizz programme." Akash admitted.
"SMS is free for us, isn't it?"
"No daddy, not for contests." Anu chipped in. "Rs 10 gets cut for every SMS." There was a sound of blame in her voice.
"But Dad, there was a chance to win a DVD player, if the answer is selected."
"But what guarantee is there that you will get the right answer? I have seen some of your answer sheets and am sure you are not the type who wins quizzes." Master mocked his son. 
"No Daddy, infact I got it right!"
"Tell me what was the question?"
"Who is the PM of India?"
"Hm.. and the options were, Manmohan Singh, Obama and Tendulkar."
"What a silly question? Who does not know the answer? Every indian will get it right and what are your chances of winning against that many entries? These are tricks by companies to loot money from customers, traps set to cheat fools like you. What a waste of money? So are you sure you have send only one SMS? "

"Daddy, I sent an SMS to India Too Have Talent!" It was Anu's turn now.
"Daddy, it is a reality show in TV. We can vote contestants through SMS and those who get more votes win." Aakash was taking revenge now. "The first prize is a flat in the heart of the city!"
"So what do you get after helping them?"
Anu's lowered gaze was answer enough for Master. "Oh! So these people are building flats with SMS from my pension money and you are helping them loot me. What about last 10 rupees?"

"I send an SMS to Queen of Kitchen, the program on cooking in Indianet Channel." Seethamma softly told.
"You too?" Master was embarrased and all the more angry now.
"The prize was one day's supply of vegetables to the whole family. I could not contain myself. Please forgive me!"
Master's face mellowed and he became quiet. He noted in his mind to offer some sweets to temple and burn a candle in the nearby church, for good luck with the contest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some spicy history...

What was the prime cause of discovery of Americas? What led to the conquest of Sindh, thereby causing the emergance of Mughal Empire? What made the discovery of one half of the globe possible? What initiated the inflow of hundreds of literary works based on sea voyage in different periods by different authors from different nationalities like Sindbad and Robinson Crusoe? And what caused us to study Geography in secondary classes? The answer is a dry berry, pungent leaves and some black twigs..

Spices caused a maritime revolution in the world. The continous flow of them from East to West from time immemorial, through different routes changed the history of mankind. But spices are not a useful or inessential commodity. They does not have any health benefits, any huge medicinal value or any aesthetical value. Then what was the reason for this humongous trade flow? The answer lies in their exotic nature, the mystery surrounding them. Spices were believed to originate from faraway lands, from the edge of the world and they were just a bit less than inaccessable. The moment this aura left them, the price came down, eventhough demand remained same.

The first known evidence of spice trade starts from the period of Greek glory. Alexander's conquest bought spices to  Greece. Then most of it came from Arabia. The trade route was by land. Arabia imported it from India and mysterious spice islands in far east, which was not discovered till another thousand years. After Greek, Romans carried forward the trade. Some historians of the time even blames the import of spices for the decline of Roman empire. After Rome, the sea routes totally fell into the hands of Persians and later Arabs. Chinese also had their share of adventure initially, but soon became bored and contented with inland trade. Portugese where the ones who put a stop to Arab monopoly, courtesy Vasco de Gama. Along with them Spanish, although they took the wrong turn and ended up in Americas suspecting the natives as Indians, courtesy Columbus and the wrong calculation of earth's circumferance by Ptolemy. The entry of Europeans introduced new dimensions to the trade- of violence, greed, plunder and religious zealotry. The colonialisation of East by West was initiated by them. Then came Dutch, English and finally French. But by then exotism of spice trade was wearing off. New novelties like chilly, tea, coffee and chocolate took their places. Slowly once invaluable pepper and cloves, took their places in sealed covers in super markets.

The Spice Route: A History by John Keay, traces back the route in which these exotic goods travelled in the last three millenia. Most part of it is not recorded, and had to be revealed from connecting the dots left by shreds of evidences, anecdotes and guess work. The best quality of the book is that, the author although narrates a serious subject, keeps his wit intact. The prose flows with relentless pace till the termination of the story and keeps the interest level intact.  One caution though, it is better to keep a dictionary by your side while reading it, if you insist to follow the history of the spice route word by word.

And the good news is that my Indirank jumped to 79 today from 74. Thanks to and indibloggers for their support.

On this occasion enjoy this romantic song from the movie Ghulami (1985), which I personally feel is the best hindi song of 80s:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inside the studios

Remember those distant times when your family ventures out on an evening after a celebration, to the nearest studio for having a photo session? The good news is that people still do that, if you can believe this wonderful documentary "City of Photos" directed by Nishtha Jain...!

The crew ventures into 'the friendly, neighborhood'  studios of Kolkatta and Ahmedabad, to see what goes on there. On one side they are in a struggle to survive from the digitalization of the medium, and on other they are using digital photography to  the most for keeping the limited patrons loyal. The movie tries to take a look into the psychology of capturing a fleeting moment of the face on a frame. The  bizarre background choices patrons choose, the need to look like a star, to be beautiful for a prospective marriage, camera shows it all. The most peculiar observation is the fetish shown by people to take pictures with calamities as the background- a train wreck, a cyclone or even twin tower explosion. The changing trends in props used in studios is also dealed. A starking contrast is made over the photographs of destructions and joyous celebrations taken by same photographers. This witty, and same time heart tugging documentary is definitely worth one hour of your life. 

And just for record, I watched this latest Malayalam movie starring Dileep and directed by Shafi, "Marikkuntoru Kunjadu" (Mary had a little lamb). The only reason this one is a bit better than Dileep's last movie that I watched, "Pappi Appacha", is Biju Menon's act. He looms above all others portraying a role that he has never attempted before. Otherwise movie is a washout. Situations from all Dileep's previous movies are rehashed and remixed, with very less comedy situations, and what turns up is a boring watch. Laughs are too far in between, heroine is just lame, co-actors wasted and Dileep is loud and repetitive. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Growth: An organic concept


The magical word which makes everyone in this world excited. A small kid, a sprout, a family man, an entrepreneur, a shop keeper, a contractor or a politician. An organisation, a sports team or a nation. The aim of every one is to grow. To touch the horizon of greatness, of success. 

If you consider the phenomenon of growth as a natural process, it is very interesting to note how contrasting it is with the idea associated in present days with it. These days, everyone aspires for an overnight growth. Companies want to triple their growth rate every quarter, moms want their kids to be taller, stronger more mature than peers. A business man wants to earn profit the next day he invests. 

But if you observe closely how an organism grows, it is clear that growth rate is directly proportional to the life of the being. This may not be a very exact observation, but a very near to exact one. It is also a very gradual step by step process. A kid takes years to become a matured person, taking one step at a time to observe and start reacting to its surroundings and developing its mind and body from the time it is conceived in the womb. The turning of helplessness into confidence takes a time of atleast 20 years. Also important is the inputs that it intakes. Nutritious intake of food in right quantities, at right time, continual education required to develop the mind, all complements the process.
Now if the parents want their kid to start running in the age of  one and to defeat Viswanathan Ananth in ten, it is just over ambition. (Athimohamanu mone Dinesha.. as Mohanlal says in a masala movie). If they force feed the kid with more nutrients and over pressure to excel, it will cause more harm to the kid finally. 

In other systems also this theory should hold well. Like if you take the case of a start up, careful planning with achievable goals combined with a proper execution with sufficient inputs, qualitative and quantitative, and ethical transactions with their vendors and suppliers are essential for a wholesome growth. Otherwise the result is premature death. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

An inside look into a war torn world..

Khaled Hosseini has achieved fame through two of his novels based on life in a war torn Afghanistan, where he was born and brought up- The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, of which the former is adapted to a successful movie. While nothing extra ordinary can be told about the literary value of the works, what makes them special is the human emotions displayed. The development of the story is solid, narration crisp and the quick pace keeps up your interest till the end.   

Kite runner tells the story of repentance of an Afghan immigrant, Amir. He was the son of a wealthy and courageous Pashtun merchant. His close friend is his Hazara servant, Hassan, who is the best kite runner in town. To get the respect of his father, Amir betrays his friend in a competition. The guilt eats him and to escape, he causes the expulsion of Hassan and his father from his home. Later when Soviet invades Afghanistan and topples monarchy, Amir and his father runs away from home and migrate to US. Years later the crime he did to his friend haunts him and Amir return to Kabul to find him and do justice. 

The guilt of Amir, the innocence of Hassan and the bravery of Baba are the strong points in the novel. Khaled Hosseini tries to visualize the Kabul he is familiar with, but fails in doing justice to it. When you read the novels by Kazantzakis, you can discover a Greek even in a crowd. Or an Egyptian if you have read Naguib Mahfouz. But Hosseini just generalizes certain Afghan traits and never bothers to show how being Afghan makes them react in the way they are. At some points, over dramatization and too much coincidences mar the beauty of the narrative. Like the entry of an adult Assef in the climax. Appears like the villains in some old Hindi movies. 
But in A thousand splendid suns, Hosseini corrects these faults to a certain extent. It is more tightly woven and the history also becomes a character here. This one is the story of two women- Mariam and Laila, who are the extremes but by a quirk of fate becomes married to the same man, a much older Rasheed. The novel sincerely   portraits the uglied face of Afghanistan by the rule of different political ideologies. Each change is thought to be a new beginning, but chaos settles in very fast. Monarchy, Soviets, Mujahideen and Taliban, all comes and goes altering the lives of all involved. The hardships faced by females in the acute male dominated society is described in a very matured manner. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being content..


A sentence that you often hear in interviews, especially ones were the interviewee is a senior, well experienced person, who has reached on a top position by great hard work and toil. But I don't think I have ever heard this one, if interviewee is a beginner, some one who just tasted success and someone who is expected to reach on top after some hard work and toil.

Is this a coincidence, or is being content in your life is a feeling when you reach on zenith and are sure that what you are is the maximum possible to achieve? Is 'Being Content in life', a statement of accepting failure in front of old age? If a young person admits he is content with life, is he a loser or a quitter or is he trying to shirk off his responsibilities?

I believe being content is a feeling where you are at peace with people, nature, universe and yourself. It is not the feeling that you don't want anything more from life, but it is when you love what you are getting from life, and invest it to the most and gets benefited out of it- money, experience, affection or wisdom. Peer pressure, failures, back stabbing from friends does not affect you. You are eager to achieve success, but it is not for monetary gains or for show off. When you are a content man you aspire success because you know it is yours for the taking, and it cannot escape you, provided you walk towards it.

This feeling gives you confidence, relieving you of your fear for failure and humiliation. You know you are right and if proved wrong you are ready to gracefully admit and correct your actions, thereby leading to higher success. You completely takes responsibility to your actions and is reluctant to blame others for things happening to you. You gets proactive as you are not defensive. You are away from rat race and you can enjoy your time doing quality work. You can enjoy the beauty of nature, you have time for a walk in the early morning, or for appreciating a work of art. You cannot be compelled to do something that you do not like. You live your life with a set of principles that you stand for. You get respect and love from the people who enters your life because you are content with your life and they don't fear you harming them in any way.

That is being content... !

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Respond, or To React..?

I was reading this article on maintaining an emotional maturity in work place, when these two terms got into my attention- React and Respond. Two words that sounds similar, but the implications are totally different. 

To react is automatic, reflexive and mostly impulsive.
To respond is thoughtful, calculated, reflective and often positive in nature.
If we depend on reactions, we do not have any control on the situation. 
Like some one hits you, you hit him back, he and two of his friends barges into your home, kicks the shit off you, knocks down two of your front teeth and pisses on your expensive Persian carpet.

But response gives you total control of the situation. 
Now some one hits you, you bear it grinning, later you call two of your good friends, barges into his home at night when you are sure he is drunk and alone, beat the shit off him, knock his front teeth and piss on his expensive Persian carpet... See, now who won the war by giving a thoughtful, planned response...?
I started this one as a very serious post, but could not help it... sorry guys :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Comedy of errors.. !

Last day I happened to watch a modern version of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. Although the name of play was quite incomprehensible to me, the experience was just awesome. We, audience were laughing our heart out and applauding from the word go. Each act, each dialogue, each minor expression from actors is that funny. 

An old man visits the Mayor, to ask his help in searching his son and servant who has eloped from home with money to start business. The man has one more son who happens to be twin brother of the missing son who went missing 20 years and back and the servant's twin brother too went missing with him. So in the town there are two pair of identical twins, and all hell breaks loose. Elder son, who reached town long back has married a rich man's stupid daughter and took to drinks after marriage gets on the rocks. The elder servant is an idiot. The younger brother who steals money from father is a bigger idiot and pisses off his younger servant, who happens to be a ruffian. And there is some Priyadarshan style running around due to the confusions.

The double role is the one that I enjoyed the most. How fast, they change their styles and how convincingly! Had an enjoyable evening. (Yeah and that Amitabh- Govinda starrer with similar story was copied from Shakespeare! Of all things in the world... )


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lessons That I Learned as a Mechanical Engineer: One

I have read a lot of forwarded emails circulating with similar themes as that  of this title which are quite humorous. I myself has forwarded some of them. This post is more of a rumination of what exactly I learned, or imbibed in life as a mechanical engineer. Wherever I had worked, (there are quite some places, thanks to my nomadic nature!) the basic mode of work is similar, which can serve as a good model in any walk of life. 
Before proceeding, I will introduce you to a few terms, which will make our discussion more comprehensible. First one is PROCESS. Process is when some work is done on a set of inputs to give a desired output. So it becomes imperative that the quality and quantity of  inputs as well as the work done is what decides the quality of output. Next word is SYSTEM. System is a collection of different processes, that are interconnected with each other and mostly the output of one process serves as the input of another one. 

Consider life as a system, entangled with numerous interrelated processes. If any of the process is not giving the desired result, analyze the inputs that you feed into the system. Check it both quantitatively and qualitatively. Also give a look to the way you use the input. There may be an anomaly in the way you process them. Like for example: The gastronomic problem may be due to junk food (quality of input), due to excessive gobbling up of  dinner (quantity of input),  or due to not chewing the food properly and consuming as if world is going to end tomorrow (problem with the process).

See you next time with more...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Life Of Pi: A Bizarre Recommendation

Recommendations find me in very bizarre ways..

I have an interest in quite a wide variety of things, so I always hunt for recommendations- from friends, media, reviews. And some times I get a recommendation out of blue. Many times it works and sometimes not.

Some weeks back I happened to visit a blog in which the blogger wrote a post on feeding her dog. She wanted to know what was the natural food that was to be given. I replied it does not matter because domestication of dog is not a natural process. Hunting is what the natural mode of life sustaining to dog. 

Her reply was that, she took great care of dog, it was comfortable in her home and never wanted to go away. The logic sounds solid, but my doubt was, whether another option is given to dog,? Did it knew it can be free and hunt like his other cousins living in forest? And I mentioned the Jack London's novel Call of the wild, that chronicles the transformation of a dog to a wild hound when it gets a chance to come out of its comfortable human company. 

May be she was a bit irritated, and closed the matter commenting that she believed dogs, and other animals of course, are better protected with humans and they do not have to suffer for food like when in a jungle and she got her opinion from reading Life of Pi, a novel by Yann Martel. 

Now when came across this novel, I remembered this incident and decided to read it. And I am glad I did it. It is a wonderful piece of fiction, kind of Robinson Crusoe meets Panchatantra tales. 

Yann Martel is a Spanish writer, who came to India, to sustain himself as it is cheap here and also to get some inspiration, to write a good novel. He found it in Pondicherry, a former french colony, now a union territory surrounded by Tamil Nadu state. 

Pi, or Piscine Molitor Patel is a sixteen year old boy, the son of a zoo keeper. Political turmoil in the country makes the family decide to sell the animals and settle in Canada. On the way to Canada, the ship in which they travels, sinks. All family is killed except Pi, who escapes on a life boat along with an oddly named Bengal Tiger, Richard Parker! Pi stays in the boat and survives the six month journey with the help of lessons learned about animal behavior in his zoo. No one believes his story when he reaches back to civilization.      

The novel falls flat in the first couple of chapters. The obsession of Pi with all three religoins of the subcontinent reminded me of that scene in Manmohan Desai's epic masala movie Amar, Akbar, Anthony were all three siblings belonging to different religions, unknowingly donates blood to their long lost mother. (The scene shows three of them lying on bed and a tube circulates blood from all three simultaneously into the arteries of the old lady!) The balancing acts gets mushy. Another turn off was the long passages where author tries to justify zoos. Can you imagine Moby Dick starting with Ishmael defending whale hunting?

But once the boat sinks, the story starts floating. The suspense builds up, narrative becomes tight and you can feel the saltiness and heat in the middle of Pacific ocean. Richard Parker steals the show with its antics. The battle for superiority between animals is portrayed with much sincerity.

The notable point of the story is the transformation of the boy. A strict vegetarian by birth, he is forced to eat fish and turtles. The remorse that he feels when he kills a fish the first time just disappears moments later. Later it is also revealed that he ate a small portion of human meat too, of another stowaway, with same intentions, whom he meets mid-sea and whom Richard Parker polishes off.   

After reading the book I feel that my Blogger friend has misread it. The story shows that man is just a civilized animal, who can turn around to his basic instincts once the need arise. Another point is when Richer Parker exits into a jungle after the journey, without even acknowledging the presence of Pi, his tamer (which is strikingly similar to the way in which Buck, the dog in Call of the wild, exits into wild.. So the initial passages justifying zoo life gets contradictory and may be author included it there for irony. Then it is the master stroke of the book!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Son Rise

Title is not misspelt. I precisely meant what I typed! These are the days of son rises. In politics, business, movies- sports seems to be an exception. May be because talent is a must there!

A son rise happens when a successful person, mostly who built up his own life by talent and hard work, promotes his son (or daughter)  to continue his legacy. On paper this may sound fair and fine. But, in reality?

Last week I happened to read an admission by Rahul Gandhi, scion of Nehru family, (I think attaching a Gandhi title to their family name is not a fair thing to do) touted as the next Prime Minister of India, in a meeting with students, that his family back ground has helped him in coming up in political circle. The story also mentioned that this candid admission did not go down well with audience. 

Now if an average person has to come up in politics, he should start from being an ordinary party member and then show sufficient leadership and organizational skills to slowly  make his way among the crowd to the top. It takes years of hard work and toil in different levels- from grass root to national. When the son of a political leader enters politics, he gets a top position automatically. On what basis can we ensure that this person deserves the position?

This situation makes me think of the origin of caste system. With division of labor, classes originated. Then after years, came a situation where it became impossible to a man belonging in one class to migrate to another, better class, socially or economically. Son of King remained King and son of cobbler remained cobbler. And society was plunged deep into caste system for centuries.

Are we going back to the same period...? When sons occupy the position of their rich fathers, there is no scope of outsiders to come in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maya Bazaar: A Veiled View

Surabhi is a traveling drama troupe from Andhra Pardesh, that tours the villages and temples and performs plays, mostly devotional dramas. The most remarkable thing about them is that they are 125 years old. And all on stage and off stage artists, about 50 of them- including kids and women who all perform, are family members. K M Madhusudanan's documentary chronicles the history of Surabhi through the words of its lead actor.

Surabhi was started when a family was invited to perform a puppet show in the house of some influential persons in Surabhi village. Instead of puppet show, they performed a live show of Kichaka Vadha. The play became popular and Surabhi went on to become what it is now. Another peculiarity of Surabhi is that, at a time when ladies never used to come out of theur home, the women acted in plays. Later many women went on to act in movies and shot to fame. The dedication of the artists is what makes this family a succes story. The policy is to act the play even if there is one person as the viewer! There was a case when a pregnant woman delivered on stage during acting...

But the documentary is very superficial. There is a scene in the starting where an artist puts on makeup behind a veil. The feeling after the movie finishes is that the veil is never lifted. Incoherency, slow pace and non- focusing on the human story is also a big let down. Just the history of Surabhi is told and then some feeble attempts to draw parallel between the structure of the play and silent movies of Phalke era is done. No interaction is done with the members other than the lead actor and the covering of events is also very amateurish. If director had attempted to unveil Maaya in the Bazaar, it would have been a worthy watch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Quest for Home

Harlesden High Street is an English play written by Abhishek Majumdar, set in London with three Pakistani immigrants as the main characters. He has won the Metroplus Playwright award for this play in 2008. The play deals with search for identity by the working middle class who are away from their roots. All three characters are constantly on a search for Home, the metaphor for an identity in a land where they had taken shelter from a long time, but still not become their own. 

Rehaan, a second generation immigrant is running a Pak cash and carry shop with his friend Kareem who wants to take his mother for an eye surgery, in Harlesden High Street, known for its immigrant population. The store does not earn them enough for that and this causes clashes between each other. The preoccupation with selling causes a void in their personal lives too.  Rehaan lives with his father's ghost who has very high ambitions for his son, which he is not able to fulfill. Both Kareem and Rehaan are on search for a way to sell their goods, when they are not comparing the virtues of Karachi,  with the indifference and prejudices of natives. Ammi, Kareem's mother lives in past, recollecting about her husband and feeling bad about her deteriorating eye sight.

After a thorough soul searching caused by increasing frustration, the three protagonists finds the truth that all people are same and it is up to them to built up their home by working together. A rain causes them to make the shop a shelter and results in a good business. The rain of love and harmony ultimately makes them rooted in Harlesden High Street.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Out of Thin Air

Big movie industries are expanding and by investing more in content and technology, trying to lure more population into their influence circle. The harm that is caused by this is that, the products, which has to be lapped up by people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, gets molded in a way that is appealing to all. This causes a lack of cultural diversity and also a marginalization of minorities. For example, the Mumbai based movie industry, Bollywood as it is called, is reluctant to base the stories in a pure Maratha background, as this will affect its business in other markets. So in last five or six decades, the industry tried to package its products with a Pan North Indian sensibility. But a vibrant Maratha movie industry thrived and delivered goods for its people. (Case of Malegaon is also another variant in the story. They are out to beat Bollywood by aping it.) Another resistance came from Bhojpuri movies, that are also showing some positive signs of good health.
Out of thin air is a documentary directed by Samreen Farooqui and Shabani Hassanwalia, that shows the resistance put up by a very unlikely bunch of movie makers from the most distant part of India- Ladakh. Bordering Pakistan, China and Tibet, Ladakh is a place of surreal beauty and a tourist (terrorist?) attraction. But it was an unknown fact that there is a movie industry catering to the needs of 3 lakh population living there. The movie making is very similar to Nollywood, the Nigerian film movement that I wrote about in a previous post. But in Nollywood, poverty is a choice and here it is by default. ("We don't have to pay tax here." "No tax! But why?" "We don't have anything to give")

The players are from a diverse cross section of society. The movie flutters through interactions with writers, actors, directors, producers, singers and it is astonishing to see their dedication to the cause, the knowledge about their weakness, budget being the main concern (15 lakh is the biggest budget for a movie) and their confidence in themselves. ("I give 10 out of 10 for myself in dance!" says the most popular actress, who is also a home maker.) 

The only other heroine is a lady who is also a deputy in Police force! A Buddhist llama writes songs for the movies, acts in bit parts and even dances in some.("In my college days I had done a dance from Kaho Na Pyaar Hain.. and people used to call me Hrithik.") When asked for the inspiration to pen romantic songs the Monk candidly admits about a failed love affair of his college days. An action movie director never had a hit. He blames it on the trend of Love stories and sentimental family dramas, but is waiting for the tide to turn. The villain, Zuluzulu, introduces himself with the Gabbar lines of Sholey and boasts everyone calls him Sanju Baba or Munna Bhai...  

The movie is very witty, fast paced, and uses the immense beauty of Ladakh totally to its advantage. Deftly edited and beautifully scored, it is a pleasure to the eyes and ears..

Friday, January 7, 2011

Malappuram Kathi..

"കായിക്കാ, ഇങ്ങള് മലപ്പുറമല്ലെ?"
"അതെയല്ലോ മോനെ."
"എനക്ക് മലപ്പുറം കത്തി കാണിച്ചു തരുമോ?"
"കള്ളനായിന്റെ മോനെ! അനന്ക്ക് മലപ്പുറം കത്തി കാണണോ ഹിമാറേ?"
ലുങ്കിയുടെ മാടിക്കുത്തില്‍ കൈ വെച്ച് അലറി കായിക്ക. 
"അയ്യോ! മാണ്ട കായിക്കാ, ഞമ്മള് ബെറുതെ പറഞ്ഞതാ."
"ഇതാണ് പഹയാ, മലപ്പുറം കത്തി." കായിക്ക ശാന്തനായി മൊഴിഞ്ഞു. 

Sorry to non malayalee readers. Just an old joke retold. You can check this great intro scene of Reservoir dogs. (Caution! lot of swearing... quite a lot... ahead). Don't ever miss the fabulous song The Little Green Bag in the end...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The new age smuggler.. !

Rajagopal master had just come out of the busy vegetable shop with a bag full of groceries and an empty pocket when a blood red Ford Figo came fast and braked a hairline away from him. The scene was not alien for Master who had tutored around three generations of pupils to greatness. He was used to the scenes where a luxury vehicle stops near him and an old student, now in very good position jump out to show his respect to the pious, old Master.  The one incident that he still boast to his family and students was when a Supreme Court judge, a senior person then and a student of Master in his early days touched his feet to show the respect infront of the whole market.

But today Master was in for a surprise. The person who got down, a young man with a very colourful attire and a pleasant smell that precedes him in a kilometer radius, was Abu, one of Master's recent students, whom he had always considered a failure. The change was more profound because it was just a month back that Master met him at the same place. Then Abu was the owner of a week old stubble, some ill fitting clothes and the smell that comes from inside a cellar fiilled with rats. Abu had failed to find an occupation, something Master always knew. He was pretty tired of life and problems at home. That was his last day in India. One of his distant relative had agreed to take him to Gulf with him and Abu was ready to go anywhere at that point. 

Master was dumbstruck when Abu alighted, his grip on the bag became lose and some vegetables helped themselves out to the road. Gulf is no more a money minting destination and sudden transformation of Abu was unexplainable. Abu gave Master a devoted smile.

"Master, I got a job as an attender in a super market at Qatar. When I saw the price list there I got surprised. One kilogram onion costed only Rs 25! Overnight I switched career and now I am an onion smuggler...!" He explained sheepishly while handing over the onions that fell down from Master's grocery bag.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An introduction..

Yesterday my uncle, my mother's eldest brother, took to blogging. You can read it here. I would like to just give an introduction to my readers, (well, although I am very much inexperianced compared to him in worldly matters, I have a few intelligent readers with me, who are my strength) and I find it my duty not only as a devoted nephew, but also as a concerned human being, to give an introduction to this new blog from a very experianced veteran, so that every one can benefit from the pearls of wisdom shared in it. 

Mr A P Kesavan Namboodiri, a teacher in his early days, took to entrepreneurship and business. Two plus decades of successful business and conventional agriculture later, he literally struck gold with nature. A radical change in the paradigm shifted his attention to nature based agriculture and then into natural living. Now he spends his time succesfully tending to his acres of land which is just left in the hands of nature to be cultivated, livestock that supplements the mutually beneficial living and in giving awareness to the world about this one and only way left for human survival. He has given classes in places throughout Kerala, some of which are aired in radio and several television channels, on his green way of living. He gives as much importance to his action as his words and the result is to been seen in his life- a very healthy and wholesome physical, mental, family, social, economic and spiritual life, emphasising the importance of a balanced living.

Kindly lent an ear to the blog, and give the valuable suggestions, making it a bilateral conversation so that it becomes mutually beneficial.