Friday, November 25, 2011

Welcome back....we missed you

I really couldn’t believe what I was reading. Sardesai tweeted about government opening up the FDI in retail. This was waiting to happen. But so fast, was a bit difficult to digest. With one blow GoI did the inevitable.

Welcome K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Carrefour to the Mystic land. We are going to be bombarded with the imageries of happy Indian family driving in their small cars and walk out with loads of shopping bags. Here is the desi version of American dream. Handsome young couple with cute, sweet, cherubic daughter driving the medium segment car, eating ‘healthy food’, buying flats with swimming pools, taking life insurance, watching flat screen TV and driving on weekends to some hill station. The Desi dream is about to grow more colourful from now on.

The post liberalization generation tend to label the bureaucratic, static, red tape laden regime as ‘Socialism’. Well then that was what the writers and thinkers told them. Today the pre-90s is treated with shame. A history India prefer to cremate quietly. Ironically the final salute to ‘Nehruvian socialism’ will be presided by the heirs of Nehru’ legacy.

I browsed through a few Indian economic dailies. Everyone were giving a high five and patting each other on the milestone. Some of the words: ’Government has atlast shook the shackles to do a much needed reform’. The advantages are going to be more foreign investments, jobs and economic development. Minister Sharma went on to add 10M jobs in 3 years. Hopefully the Americans and Europeans are going to migrate to India in search for jobs. I remember a sequence from a movie- ‘The government seizes land from the farmer and builds an IT park over it. The jobless farmer is given the job of sweeper over his own land’. Clever idea right- one job generated.

The system has degenerated to such a level that, the focus is to cater to the pleasures of elite. But then its and effluent we will have to live with.

My friend’s family have been traders for ages. Today they struggle to stay in competition with bigwigs. He used to moan how unfair it was. But being an ordinary consumer, I would have preffered the retailers who can afford to price their wares less. The merchants do steeply charge and had the power to artificially create inflation. I told him, ‘How do you expect to stay above competition?’. But shutting individual, small scale traders out of competition can usher in a monopolized era in coming years.

The Indian elite may have conveniently forgotten the UK riots by now. Over feeding a goose on consumerism can ultimately kill it. Realisation that purchasing power is no longer decided by merit but by other external factors can question the very basic ethos of the capitalistic and liberalized society. A system feeding on itself is ultimately unsustainable.

Lastly there was a time when a few ordinary people burnt the foreign goods and decided to wear the swadesi ones. Are we discrediting their sacrifice?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review- Manja Veyil Maranangal (Malayalam)

The last week I didn’t watch a single movie. I was too engrossed in a wonderful book. I haven’t been engrossed in a book in recent past with this intensity. I finished it in 6 days and flunked an exam on the way. The way I procured the book itself was sheer marketing ingenuity of the counter clerk.

The author, Benyamin, is young prolific Malayalam settled in sands of Arabia. As he indicates in the book, the exile brings best out of a writer. Benyamin had already shot to fame with his best selling work, Adujeevitham. It went on to be adopted as academic piece in Kerala University. And now he has proved that it was not just flash in a pan.

The plot revolves around the life of a young, reckless, day dreaming, wanna be writer. He stumbles upon a murder and sacrifices everything, even his family legacy to solve it. The plot is set in two timelines and places. The story is told through the eyes of protagonist and the writer(narrator). The manner in which the author stitches together the two timelines with relative ease is sheer genius.

And also I found it so endearing the way the writer takes us for a ride through Diego Garcia. The narrative doesn’t look forced. Most of the writers fail when they try to draw the picture about the environment. When I browsed through the first few pages I thought this was going to be another one of those mediocre crime thrillers. Soon I realized how the unsuccessful young protagonist draws the author and his friends into the plot. And the readers too along with it. The way he meets up with his childhood mates all in quick succession do cast an apprehension in the mood of the plot. But then the clouds clear. The author’s and protagonists life intertwines so much so that in the same way the protagonist loses everything in the quest, the author loses his friend’s circle.

There are a maze of emotions throughout- love, hate, friendship. They conflict with each other through the two narrations. There are also a wide variety of social issues- multi ethnicity, terrorism, black s, religion. The author doesn’t stray away from the main plot. For an average Malayali reader Benyamin is a whiff of fresh air. There are even a lot of neo imageries ,like Orkut, Facebook , to tell the story. This is a jump over generation gap. May be Mallus have procured a Chetan Bhagath (in terms of popularity) with a lots of quality

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A tiny adventure III

It was well past midnight. His fantasies were fulfiled. He kissed a woman- the first time. Now he can walk around with head held high, for he just tasted the forbidden fruit.

Still a feeling of vacuum was bothering him. A physically challenged friend of his was getting married to a normal girl. What beauty did she find in him?

Even at this hour of his success. He sat deep in thought- totally bowled over by a girl who challenged commodifying and sexualising marriage.

She asked him, 'What are you thinking?' 'Tommorow dear' It's not for the night of victory.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Movie Review - 7aum arivu (Tamil)

It's difficult to judge a Tamil movie by normal standards. Particularly due to their liking of fantasy and super heroism. But according to me the universal yardstick for a cinema is screen play and intent.

I did hear from others that this was a 'watchable' movie. A cousin had come down and wanted to go for any Tamil. Hoping this to be a worthwhile exercise, I booked a ticket.

The movie opened with much grandiose. It travelled back to ages, similar to the lines adopted by Kamal Hassan's Dasavatharam. Surya trotted around in his chiselled body and hair locks. He saved the Chinese from some deadly virus and then Barbarians. Camera moves into the present. The present day Surya dances and prances around in his brunette hair do. Sruti gives him company. I sit in my seat hoping the director will come to his senses. To my horror he climaxed with some of the horrific logic ever discovered.

The only good part of the movie is Surya. Murugadoss hoped he could carry along with good looks and six pack abs as he did in Ghajini. For him half the work of Ghajini were already done by Nolan. Here he had to do something orginal. He comes.up with some of the most laughable logical and genetic explanation, immersed Surya in some blue solution and passed shocks hoping it will awaken his genetic memory. Thankfully Surya's genetic memory wakes up in nick of time to save the world from a Chinese catastrophe.

Shruthi Hassan has probably decided to move into acting from her lackluster stint as Rockstar. She is a genetic engineer this time, hell bent on tracing the Tamil greatness. The one thing I learnt about genetics is copulation of two great actors needn't produce another one.

The constant harping of ancient Tamil greatness, invinciblity and the betrayal is unbearable to watch. Please grow up guys. There is more to history than Boddhi Dharma

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.