Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It seems that guy sitting next to me do nothing except work. Never saw him go for lunch or tea. Does he use the loo? The question I hate to ask him ‘How did your weekend go dude?’. Obviously he would have spent the quality time in his cubicle.
So here I am sitting desperately crawling to see light at the end of tunnel. I pick up my mobile and SMS my distress friend, Zara.
Yes, she is there and I pour out my frustration. No, she is not any Ms. Agony Aunt. But she is good at dwelling on the brighter side of life. How stupid and inconsiderate of me to tell her about the travails of a professional life when she has got no job of her own.
As usual she expertly steered the topic to things we would have loved to do- writing, reading, more movies…
Out of the blue came the question ‘So, what is your new year resolutions?’.
Wow!! What about that? I have never done a resolution except during the school years. And I made sure that resolutions were forgotten after a couple of months.
But this time around I desperately need to make some resolutions if it gives me some directions. I want these resolutions to make 2010 livable and lovable.
The big question in front of me is- should I be part of the crowd or should I stick out? I look around me to find softies doing their certifications, attending trainings, burning their midnight oil in front of their computer. May be I should develop a fear for pink slip. I come late to the office, browse through all the unblocked sport sites, blog, leave early, spend hours for lunch, nap after lunch, phone friends, give a shit about the technical junk and worst of all stare shamelessly at the married and committed women. But I am pretty happy here.
So here goes the resolutions I am going to make
a. From the beginning I had this feeling that I have been misplaced here. Find out the things you are passionate about and chase your passions no matter what the cost.
It’s not that easy to do considering that you are not sure about your passions. So I am rephrasing my statement.
Find out your true passion
b. I don’t know exactly what made me take up blogging. It must be a potent mixture of boredom, faint hope that I will be able to write well. Besides it is very easy to start a blog in blogger.
Another one of my resolution is to graduate from blogger to writer. Do not blog for comments. Do not blog for followers. Maintain the quality each time, every time.
c. May be it’s the absence of camera in our home that made me crazy about photographs. I used to stare at the photos appearing in magazines. Photos have the ability to tell a story by themselves. So as soon as I could afford it I went ahead and brought a camera.
Now there is lot of hard work to be done. I want to be good with the angles and lights. I will have to be fast with my camera (moments never wait). I will have to travel places and get the best snaps. By the end of 2010 I will be looking forward to owning an SLR.
d. One of the best gifts my folks gave (indirectly) was the habit of reading. My dad is averse to cable channels and movies. So the only time-pass I could choose was reading. To tell the truth my dad has a poor taste for books. So I had to sneak most of my books in. As soon as I finished my school I literally fought with my folks to get a membership in the public library. I was looking forward to the Famous Five, Secret Seven kind of stuff. Seeing the red and green bound books stacked on the shelf neatly piled opened a new world to me. I shifted from detective novels to good works in literature, history. Recently, because of a sweet friend of mine, I started out into the golden age of Malayalam literature. During my college years I paid a visit to a friend of mine. He is a softie too with a 6 figure salary and his main hobby is to collect books and DVDs (only originals- no pirated no Indian editions). Seeing his huge collection of books I promised myself that I will buy myself a collection.
The first thing I learnt when I began the book collection was that never judge a book by its cover. After some initial blunders my book collection is progressing with low cost good ones. The biggest blunder was getting ‘The argumentative Indian’. I realize I haven’t grown up to Amartya Sen yet.
So the next resolution is to keep up the collection and keep reading good books consistently.
e. After a brief encounter with religious authorities Bheemapally is back with their pirated movies. The sad part is there are no pornos anymore.
Watch some good movies, classics and some bad ones too.
f. Learn the guitar and strum out the John Denver songs. The main purpose is to woo good looking girls.
g. Date some hot girl.
h. Build a hot and attractive physique (Farhan Akhthar is my role model).
i. Last but not the least- Find another job
So these are the New Year resolutions I came up with. The list can be subjected to further scrutiny and modifications
God help me to see the list come true.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Who am I? What am I? Are we spiritual beings which comes into the world with human body attached to it?
We are so acquainted with our bodies right from our birth. We identify ourselves with our physical body. People are ready to spend anything on their body to preserve it and keep it safe.
What if I wake up one day with a part of me missing? Or what if some part of me refuses to obey my commands? I can't imagine myself there.
I still don't know the reason why I connected with him so fast. May be it's the similarity in our names. I will call him by J. J was studying in the tenth standard when Cancer struck him. J's parents were doctors and they resigned their jobs and shifted to the capital for his treatment. I had never seen him and only knew him through his grandfather. A young kid developing blood cancer was bit tough for me to contemplate.
Taking a break from his studies J started his treatment. He seemed to be on the road to recovery when his doctors found out that the cancer started raising its tentacles yet again. The bad part was that his arm was in danger of amputation. A costly operation was done to save his arm. But fate was unkind yet again. They had to amputate his arm.
We had heard of and seen videos of brave people fighting back to life after really bad accidents. But when some kid we knew lost his arm, it sent out a shock wave in the community. The toughest challenge such a person would face is the community itself.
- 'Good-hearted' people smothering them with sympathy. Sympathy is one of the useless emotions in English dictionary.
- Judges who try to figure out why this malady happened. Irrespective of their facial expression or voice tone they will obviously be deriving secret pleasure from taunting others.
- People staring at them as if they haven't seen such a specimen.
I saw him for the first time after the amputation. I had the picture of a scrawny kid. But he was well built (almost as tall as me). The hair was trimmed short. He looked healthy except for his arm. His physical appearance unsettled me since I was not prepared for that.
With some difficulty his folks got him admitted into a private school in the city. The authorities were hesitant at first. No one is sure if it was his fellow school mates who taunted him or if he couldn't adjust with the environment. In a class of 60 if you are the only one without an arm there will be some problem for obvious reasons. His conditions deteriorated. What started as a mental agony spread to his body. The supposedly dead cancer cells reappeared in his lungs.
One night I got a message that J passed away after a long struggle with cancer.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I was standing at the theatre complex proud at having made a choice of coming here (elated by the feeling that I am going to resurrect the Indian film industry from its shackles). There was this 'Rocket Singh' being shown in a different theatre in the same complex. Girls in skin tight outfits and ram-rod-straight hair were queuing up for their tickets. Needless to say, I was tempted to move on to the next queue. What if I got to sit near a beau? What if we start dating? But still with great resoluteness I didn't move from my queue. It's a great surprise to me that a production house with one flop after another manages to get the dates of the big stars, the prime spot in media and not the least the audience in the opening show.
The entire Indian film industry has fallen trap to laws of market. You produce only what the consumer needs. But sadly the need of the consumer is also decided by the producer. Maximum profits, that is the ultimate goal.
In the movie hall I searched for a seat far away from the college crowd. Thankfully I got one. Starting from the way credits appeared on the screen the movie promised to be different. There was an assortment of scenes showing a woman giving birth, a woman getting raped, a man being drowned. The opening simply captivated the entire hall. In fact the viewer picturise the big story in his mind within these few seconds. The method in which the entire exercise was depicted and the camera angles conveyed a big message in a short time. You will never feel such raw human passions with the minimum exposure. So my first set of applause to the cinematographer Manoj Pillai. In fact he is the star of the film.
Before going further let me give you the story in a capsule. It's about Haridas (Mammootty) who comes in to investigate the murder that happened in his village some 50 years ago. The murdered lady is Manickyam living in the village of Paleri- hence the name.
Mammootty appears in multiple roles and for the first time the main Mammootty appears as a 52 year old man with a broken family. (The real age almost)
The protagonist moves into investigate a crime that happened in the village the day he was born. He has got an assistant (cum girlfriend) with him. She too is a lady with broken marriage.
Although Haridas says he is drawn to the case by the nightmares haunting him, the viewer suspects that there is more to it than the bad dreams. So here Renjith pulls out the rabbit from his hat. If you are planning to watch a crime thriller you watch every other day, better change the plans. There is more to it than the crime. There are a lot of undercurrents in the movie. You will see the social, political, emotional and sexual scenarios of the 50's. The crime is interwoven with the dogmas of the society that day.
My second set of applause to director and playwright Renjith. He has been proving himself again and again in the last few movies he has done. After a long time I felt that a director is the hero of his movie. Renjith has written his name along with the best in the field. The movie is totally unconventional with many ideas out of the box. The screenplay moves in a leisurely pace. There are no many gaps in the script. Unlike the rest, female part of the cast has got plum roles and the sexuality is beautifully and sensuously shown.
In fact never before had I experienced living through the period while watching a period movie. I felt the experience here (equal credits to cinematographer). The colour tone set for the 50's gave it the smell of olden times. So when the scenes moved from the 50's to the 2000's we felt the shift – from a village caught up in the dogmas to a fast developing mini town.
Kerala was moving in from the 'village ruled by landlord' system to the democratic governance when a woman was brutally raped and murdered. Mammootty dons the role of evil landlord. Hey, I had thought that like all the super hero movies he will turn good in the end. But it doesn't happen. My third set of applause for Mammootty who shows the courage to play an evil man (evil landlord Haaji) and does it superbly too.
We see the birth pangs of democracy here. The common man desperately needs a change but the inertia of tradition still holds it back.
There is the hope for a new tomorrow for a young barber. He dreams of a future where the proletariat will hold the keys of to its own future under the shadow of first communist government under EMS. But his dream gets shattered on seeing the alleged nexus between the party leaders and the evil landlord, Haaji.
Here is a social set up in which the landlords are gods for the tenants. The reason why I used 'God' is because the landlord decides the entire course of the tenant's life right from the birth The profession he should choose, the wages he has to work with, the woman he should marry are all decided by his god, the landlord. In fact he will have to present his own wife if the landlord fantasizes her. Seeing the movie I felt a relief that we are living in a different era. But still couldn't help noticing the similarity with our times when people with money has the power to decide the lives of people with little money.
Male domination over the fairer sex is shown realistically. My fourth set of applause for Swetha. I had the view that she is just a sex doll. But the way she did the character of old village prostitute proves way beyond doubt her acting prowess.
Women are supposed to stay in the framework set to them by the society and if she strays out, she is labeled as an outcaste. Haaji uses Chiru for his pleasure and is thrown away later. She becomes the village prostitute with an idiot son. Later she has to marry off his son to another girl whom Haaji develops a fantasy on, knowing fully well that she will have to present her daughter-in-law to Haaji. Justice and equal rights are terms excluded from the dictionaries of these people.
The deterioration of socialist ideologies is the favorite subject of many directors nowadays. The teaming up with land owning class for the capital is shown in such a way that viewer has to take the stand rather than the director doing it for him. Like every other organization party needs capital to grow and the way it gets to the capital is a relevant issue even to this day.
'I am neither a communist nor a believer, just a barber', some dialogue that rings in our ears.
So much for the positives. Now what I didn't like about the movie.
The climax was something that entirely took away the beauty of the film. What was the need for Mammootty to be cast in a third role if the director was not confident of putting the same actor in two roles in a single frame. It could have been subtly done. The otherwise good technical film fails towards the climax part.
Mammootty who drew applause for the evil Haaji failed as the main character, Haridas. Mammootty could not sink into the role of Haridas. The man famous for voice modulation looked as if reading in Haridas' dialogues.
Malayalam has to look out for newer dubbing artistes. For every heroine who can't speak Malayalam, dubbing is done by a particular artiste in every movie (I don't know the name). The sad part is the dub is too good for the heroine who can barely act and the voice looks fake. This happened with the crime analyst. I think it would have been great if the dubbing artiste reduced the intensity keeping in mind the less talented actor.
The film was a great experiment. To say the story about an investigation of a crime that happened 50 years ago is a tough task. There were no characters from the period left alive to tell the story. No sudden twists in between. The 90% of story is narrated by Mammootty or Siddique. This can lead to boredom. But when thinking about it again, there is no other way for telling such a story.
May be someone else would find a better way to tell the story, but Renjith would forever be the brave one who tried this out. Way to go!!!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Life can throw surprises at you along the way as you make your journey- some nasty and some pleasant ones. These surprises are what make this otherwise dreary journey somewhat interesting. The last week this life threw a surprise at me- big time. Let me convert that into a blog while the freshness still remains.
11th and 12th were the worst years of my life till date- I will dub them as 'The shit years'. I have no much clue about what went on. Those were the years of my transition from a teen to early years of adulthood. So I had to grapple with my psychological changes as well as studies. The life was uneventful but for the early rise @ 5am, journey to tuition classes, from there on to school, back to tuition and home.
The school was too big for me. The tuition classes were too crowded for me. The only good thing was I met people from different schools. St. Thomas was one of the famous schools in the city. The girls were beautiful and hot in red skirts, the guys handsome in their grey trousers.
Bunny was stout. His friend, Nebu, was taller but as stout as him. They studied together, went to same tuitions. I was surprised to learn that they were my neighbors. So many a times we travelled together in the same bus back home. The only difference between Nebu and Bunny was that Bunny had lesser grey matter and so ended up in my college.
Well this is going to be an interesting story. It was the initial days of Orkut. Orkut became a rage in college. We rushed madly to get maximum number of fans, scraps, and friends. Orkut Buyokokten was an admired personality in our circles.
In one community there was a small game being played. It was like completing a story from where the previous person left off. It was a religious community and so others were acting pretty decent. I and this girl were coming up with horrific ideas (like bishops and priests as Mafiosi going to Italy to assassinate someone). Later everyone else dropped out of the game and we became friends.
I still remember the display picture she had put on- her Labrador. We used to exchange thick scraps. She was a jolly good girl and since she was doing her literature, had a good language.
I was quite surprised to see him again at college. He was in different branch though. Anyone's first impression of the guy was a show-off with a beard, slight stoop and a cigarette. At that time there started a prayer meeting, run by a few NRI girls. Bunny was experimenting on religious beliefs and since the girls were good looking, he went for the meetings. He was the favorite of the prayer organizers. If he was to come for a prayer meeting 3-4 girls would come too.
That was a time when cell phones came cheap and connections started coming cheaper. Everyone started getting a cell phone of their own. Zara got one cell phone from her brother. (I got mine after I joined my first company). She send me her number through mail (as Orkut started losing its privacy).
So one fine afternoon I called her. It's the first (and till date the only) time I heard her voice. I don't know what got in to me. I started stammering and sweating. I messed up the whole conversation. Zara thought what a nerd I were and threw me out of her life. Meaning she deleted me from her orkut account. (Later it turned out that many girls deleted me from their life and so I got used to it)
I didn't complain but felt pity on myself.
There were a handful of guys in college who did politics to make their ends meet. I am not blaming them because they had no one to guide them. So the wise stayed away from their surroundings.
There were two rival gangs and had regular fights with each other. Soon after the fight and head-smashing and bone-breaking there was ritual of filing a case in the police station. Every one with a small scratch would file a case against anyone whom they had slightest suspicion of enmity.
The first mistake Bunny made was hanging out with these useless guys. Hanging out literally means sharing a cigarette or a bike or small stuff like that. But enough for the other gang to look on with suspicion.
The second mistake was to hang around when a fight was going on. The opposite gang members filed a case against him for no apparent reason. But case charged was in the name of attempted murder.
Now the sad part is the useless guys had the right people in the right places. They negotiated their way out of trouble. But Bunny was left behind.
His dream of flying to US right after the studies never materialized because of the lone case. He had to wait a long time to resolve the case. Meanwhile he turned into a heavy smoker.
Some six months after graduation I joined my company. My folks brought me a mobile, my first one. I was elated. It had been a dream for some years. I remembered someone who had been a friend long ago. It was a mobile that broke our friendship. I had written the number down somewhere. With some difficulty I found out the number and send a message. There was no reply.
I felt a bit sad. But what if she had changed the number. I searched for the old mail in my inbox and send out a mail apologizing for my odd behavior.
Months passed and I forgot about it.
I was adjusting myself into new phase of life with new friends, new office, new principles and values. One fine evening I got a SMS.
'Checking if this is Jon's number.' I was quite surprised and send a replied back asking who it was. That was not a local number and soon got a reply back.
That was how Zara entered back into my life.
Bunny too joined my company. He was not very lucky to get into a not so good project. The night shifts coupled with smoking led to high blood pressure. He took up to jogging and passed through my street often. So we renewed our friendship. He was trying to kick out smoking too. After a long time the case was mutually resolved.
I guess he never thought he would work in the crap company. No one knows where our fate leads us to.
It was reunion for me and Zara. She was gracious enough to admit that she had goofed up a bit too.
This time around we switched our chat to SMSes. We had a lot of catching up to do. She had lost her mother long time back and a few years back lost her dad too.
She moved into with her brother in Bangalore and is happily engaged to someone. I was happy for her.
She was into movies and since it was a matter of mutual interest most of our chats were on what we saw this week. And sometimes it turns to the books read and even philosophies of life.
Once during such a chat I asked her plans for the weekend when she said her cousins are coming over. It went on and on about shopping, costs and so on when she said that Bunny and his mom are coming over next week. I was a bit surprised 'So you people are close to Bunny and his family?'
'I thought you knew we were engaged to each other.'
Engaged!!! The guy I met so often near my home or office is engaged to a girl with whom I chat often through SMS. I was stunned. It all happened a few years back and their family is happy with it seems.
This is what I call a pleasant surprise. Two persons from two phases of my life are getting married to each other.
Zara and Bunny may you two happily live ever after.
Zara challenged me when I told her that I am going to blog about them that there is no big story to write about. Well, there is a story in everyone's life. A story worth telling.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I FL IS OFF AT LL , THIS STUI OMANY AN TH THINGS THY O.
OUL YOU MAK ANYTHING OUT OF THIS.
I mean could you guys make anything out of the first sentence?
I feel pissed off at DELL, this company and the things they do. The difference between the two sentences is that first one was typed using my keyboard and from here on using the On-screen keyboard.
The earlier keyboard had a trouble with its 'J's and '0's. I ask for replacement. A guy from DELL came soon after with something that looked like brand new.
After a couple of hours its 'E', 'D', 'P'…. started going down and to make the matters worse all these characters are there in my password. So if I lock my system and go out, will have to borrow someone else's key board type the password and then use On-screen for further typing.
I couldn't believe DELL, an international brand would come with such a shitty crap. Then someone said that my company replaced my keyboard with a faulty one from our own store.
Anyways On-screen keyboard is painfully slow and frustrating. I am posting this frustration straight away.
Moral of the Story:
- E is the most important English alphabet in the world. You simply cannot live without an E.
- Everything is not smooth in the corporate world. Sometimes processes gets worse than the license raj days