Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gha(stly)jini

Alright. I watched the movie despite being warned by a friend that it is a remake of the South Indian movie and not a remake of Memento, the brilliant film by Christopher Nolan. And I got dearly punished for it.

Ghajini, for me, is a 3 hr 15 min torture to be endured. The film is about a guy with a short term memory loss ( This term is wrong though. The guy is unable to convert short term to long term memory. Even Memento got it wrong) who is seeking revenge for his love's (Asin) death. OK, so far so good. But the whole focus in the film is on how Aamir has built his unreal muscles and how he gets to use them. His condition is left to the viewers' imagination with a brief 'he can't remember anything beyond 15 mins' dismissal. So with a series of discrete scenes joined to make a movie, Aamir gets his revenge on Ghajini Dharmatma (Weird ass name) after going through a whole lot of trouble.

There are certain things I'd like to outline. Asin is cute in her bubbly girl role, a role getting pretty common nowadays. But the good girl in her is very illogical at times, like when she forgot to switch off her cell phone when the killers were in her house, and a lot many more I had counted in the hall, but have forgotten now. The police inspector can run faster than a bus. This shows you are watching a south remke. None of the goondas seem to have guns when Aamir is around. They fight with medieval weapons like clubs and swords. Also, Aamir can read two diaries, follow the bad guys, beat about 12 guys in a span of 15 minutes.

I'd have been disappointed lesser if they had actually shown how Aamir accumulated all his data on the killers, as shown in Memento. But the main crux of the film is on Aamir flexing his 8-packs and killing a bunch of guys. Jiah Khan has been dealt a hard deal as a medical student interested in the case, because she barely gets screen time (not that her performance demanded it). She seems more of a journalist than an MBBS student. Why Aamir is shown as a psycho who shouts when he gets a chance is beyond me. I thought he just had memory loss problem and not schizophrenia.

Lastly, I'd like to tell all the people who thought Ghajini was actually good to go and watch Memento. Please do. And then revert back with your comments.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hilake, Milake Nahi!!!!!!


If you are wondering what the hell the title is all about, just translate literally and you’ll arrive at the world famous drink that James Bond drinks. Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. Just caught this bit on TV and felt I had to spew some venom on this.

It’s always nice to see any dubbing of a film, book or a show for a producer. It’s an indication that his work is get5ting more popuropurlar film, book or a show for a producer. Its an indicator ting more popular and is reaching out to a wider audience. But the cultural costs at which these dubbings are made are huge almost amounting to blasphemy. Take Hollywood films for instance. Now a good film like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl becomes Samundar ke Lutere. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone becomes Tilismi patthar (I’m not too sure) and Goblet of Fire becomes Aag ka Pyaala! I’m not actually against dubbing at all. I’m all for cultural identity and localization. But please keep the names intact. Gryffindor has become Garuddwaar and Slytherin Nagshakti. Would we have kept quiet if the West had made an English Mahabharatha and changed Krishna to Chris and Arjun to Adam?

One more thing I hate is the Indianisation of cartoons. For those of us who grew up on Dexter and Swat Kats, we can’t bear to look at the unholy, crappy Hindi versions on offer. Mahabilla Shahar, Bade Miaow, Chhote Miaow, the incredible list goes on. The dubbing artists aren’t anything to brag about too with Dexter’s nerdy accent giving way for a vocal horror in the name of dubbing. I’m not much of a fan of the stupid Japanese cartoons the kids watch these days, but my cousins tell me that Hindi versions of the cartoons are, well, shit to put it mildly.

Book translations are always good for the authors and the publishers as it means more income. I know the publishers don’t really care much for the maintenance of quality and standards in the translations, but trust me, I just got my hands on a Hindi Harry Potter (easiest to get) and it is not pretty. Though I couldn’t read more than 2 pages, I hope that at least the names of the houses have been maintained.

And to my utmost dismay, I just happened to catch a glimpse of a Hindi dubbing of Scrubs on SAB. Watching Dr Cox’s tirade in Hindi and JD’s soporific, emotionless and dry monologues and narrations (one of the reasons why the show was so popular) made me think if the guy (Hindi guy) was actually getting paid for this or was a gun held to his head and a microphone to his mouth.

All said and done, I just wish the TV would return to normal behaviour after the horrendous atrocities that are the news channels and the 3rd degree torture that are the reality shows and the saas bahu sagas.

How I long for those long gone school holidays when I used to play in the morning and watch Medical Detectives in the afternoon and then Swat Kats at 4 pm. Bring back the long lost cartoons and the shows of yore, because the crap pile just gets bigger and bigger in the TV.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Maximum (Terror) City


Another ‘26th’ disaster. This date is really turning out to be an unfortunate one. I had just finished with my exams and I turned on the TV (a rare activity I do in the hostel) and I saw the burning Taj and Oberoi, the carnage at Leopold’s and the CST massacre. Taj is one of the faces of the Mumbai shoreline and the first thing that greets people when you enter from the Gateway of India. Leopold’s is one of the oldest hangout places for tourists and Indians alike in the city. And CST, the lifeline of Mumbai, was held hostage by 21 year olds. An attack on these places is a slap on the face of Mumbai.  

Now that the terrorists have been killed, the finger pointing game has started. The first to go was Shivraj Patil, who frankly had to leave given Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bangalore and Mumbai all happened in a span of 4 months. I do remember distinctly reading about a blast every 3 weeks. RR Patil, with his DDLJesque dialogue just revealed the administration’s mindset about the terrorist acts. They have conveniently been accustomed to anything and everything that happens. The typical ‘Chalta hai’ attitude so characteristic of us. 

But the gaffes have continued to flow in like water. Politicians have amazingly started taking things personally with counter attacks being launched on protestors and bereaved parents alike. Just a word of caution for you people. Since you have been elected by us, we have every damn right to question you for your utter incompetence. Maybe we didn’t do it in the most polite of the ways, but I guess that’s not a reason to take things personally. So start acting professionally, else if we take things personally, then there might be hell to pay for you. 

Amidst all the chaos, the real focus has shifted from revamping the structure of the current security system to mind games. Since P. Chidambaram has taken over the Home ministry, we can (and hope to) expect some better measures in organistion from a more responsible and educated person. As for CMsaab, it’s highly foolish of you to take along RGV and your son for a tour to the Taj. It ain’t good PR management. You might be genuinely concerned (otherwise you have no business being the CM) but stupid moves as these and your shocking sarcasm at the press conference (with the videos being played over and over again) leaves little to the imagination about your attitude. 

With most of the focus on the Taj and its restoration, it’s highly imperative (and logical) that we shift gears in CST too. It is the gateway to Mumbai and anyone can enter it with weapons (as yesterday’s mock operation by TOI showed). So checking must be intensive. People who complain of their right to privacy being breached can go home and stay there. We don’t want idiots and cry babies like you to enter the city. Strong measures call for some compromises on everyone’s part in order to ensure the safety in the city. Its very hypocritical when people resent the laws and are the first ones to complain when the law fails. So learn to respect the laws first. 

I have some very honest questions. Why don’t we have a separate NSG unit or any unit for that matter for anti-terrorist operations? This is the 4th time we have succumbed to terror. Why couldn’t the 200 odd commandos storm the Taj and Oberoi when there were only 10 terrorists in all? Surely, there would have been lesser hostages killed. Why were the warnings ignored (not once or twice but 4 times)? There is a serious need for the detachment of security forces from legislation so they can cut the red tape and get into action straightaway. Bureaucracy is the bane of democracy with the bureaucrats leaching the taxpayer’s money in pointless meetings and parties. What I would like to believe is that not all politicians are hopeless. Some might be seriously interested in changing the system but have their hands tied behind their backs by the majority (who we all know in and out). This is the only hope that I have for the city I love the most in the world. This is a highly volatile time where strong actions and not emotions should be the order of the day. 

Lastly I salute the all the officers for saving the city. Never again will I grumble about police checking. I feel immense pride in being from the same Institute as Hemant Karkare, although the Institute seems to have forgotten him. There wasn’t the standard two minute silence in respect or even the slightest mention of him. Shame on you, VNIT. 

Perhaps the admin people were too busy pepping up the college for a future NBA visit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Can't think of a title...........

Well I'm in a pretty good mood today. So I'll try and list all the beautiful things in life (ahem, philosophy galore) that can make me (or for that matter, most people) smile. 

1. Good music: Pink Floyd, Warren Mendosa, and all other such bluesy stuff. I just love it when people utilise the guitar the right way and make music which makes sense. Thank you, Gilmour, Clapton, G. Moore, Johnson, Satriani, Warren, Bruce Mani. Also, Kishore's classics have only one word to describe them. Pure ecstacy.

2. Bommarillu: One of the cutest movies I've ever seen in my life, it can just wash away all your worries. Genelia's bubbly act is one to die for. Also it is the first south Indian movie I have watched. Personally, I don't like them. I'm a south Indian by the way.

3. Cinema Paradiso: Another movie. It's an Italian movie about the relationship between a boy, Toto and his friend, Alfredo. The relationship is shown wonderfully, unlike the fake crap one usually finds in movies. Also, its the ONLY movie to move me to tears (which might prove to be a shock to some people).

4. Children: Hehehe.. I just love it when my 3 year old cousin comes home and dances and runs around. Their innocence is unbelievable. I love it when he asks questions and I have to be the one to answer.

5. Calvin and Hobbes: Undoubtedly the best comic strip of all time, it never fails to elicit laughter whenever I read it. Thank you, Bill Watterson, for all the wonderful moments.

6. F.R.I.E.N.D.S: I can only say," Oh! My God!"

7. Good old books: I can never forget the old days when I used to line up in the library for Enid Blytons, Hardy Boys and the classics. I can still pick up any of those old books and enjoy every word of it. Throw in some Archie Comics, Harry Potter, LOTR too. A bit of rain, a good cup of coffee, and a good book spells heaven for me. Damn, you engineering.

I think there are more. But I can't remember any more. Will update later.

PS: Do not be afraid. I'm not intoxicated. I'm not going to die. I just felt that we need to appreciate all that we have got in our life a bit more. The boy next door has taught me this. Thank you, PC.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Those Were The Days.....

Hmm. Back after a long gap, it feels good to be writing again. Final year blues set in after each event in college gets over. And believe you me, it doesn't feel good when it happens. So this one might seem a bit morose and dull to some of the people. Here's one about the progress of a child's life in our country.

Year 0 : You are born. Enjoy your time baby cause it's going to last very few years.
Year 1-7 : Still enjoying. Amma and Appa getting fidgety about how the little tyke is going to turn out to be.
Year 8-10 : The nagging virus hits the parents. Symptoms are known to be highly irritating and produce unpredictable results in children. Disease highly contagious. May be caught if staying in vicinity of any similar species.
Year 10-14 : The coaching class and camp virus attack. Children are known to suffer from fatigue.
Year 15 : Child enters 10th class and his life gets ruined. Notes, question papers, study material rain upon the poor chap. Amma says," Study now Beta. You can enjoy your college life." Appa nods along.
Year 16-18: Child is in 11th and 12th class. Amma repeats the same mantra. Appa still nodding along. Tuition fee triples. Time for enjoyment and rest halves.
Year 18-22: Child is in graduationg university. Amma says, " Study now beta and get a job. You can enjoy your life after graduation."
Year 23-29: Job takes over from studies. Boss takes from Amma. But the mantra remains the same. Wife/girl added to life. Troubles and tension multiply, in that order.
Year 30- 60: Slog your butts off boss, lest you be left behind in the race against time and the race for money. Children appear. Mantra remains the same.
Year 61: You finally get time for yourself. Or so you thought. Grandchildren handed over to you for caretaking. Enjoy your new job for the next 10 years.

I won't write further because I can't. I'm sick of the academic situation in our country where only engg/medicine are respected professions. It feels horrible to be one among the lakhs of people graduating every year of which 80% of the people don't know what they did just 4 years back. I'm one of them.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

High, Higher, Highest!!!!!


Hehehe. Its all about the magic of perspective. I love the pic. Its not photoshopped or edited. I did jump (though from a lower height than apparent). 

Rock On Review

All you (rich) rockers, this is your story. Band formed, band rocked for a few years, band disintegrates due to ego hassles, band reformed.

Its basically the story of a band called Magik(Ekta Kapoor anyone?) and their journey. As youngsters, they just go places, play their music, have fun and have no worries in the world. They have pot loads of money (Ibanez Jem, Line 6 amps, PODs, Gibson guitars, Fenders flying around everywhere, Tama drumkits, Sabian cymbals and what not). They win a chance to record an album and then screw it up because the lead guitarist Joe(Arjun Rampal) thinks that Aditya(Farhan Akhtar) is hogging the limelight. 10 years later, Adi(the investment banker) is still fighting the 'demons' of past(Please!), thereby playing with his marital life and his lovely wife Sakshi(Prachi Desai). The other two members KD(Purab Kohli) and Rob(Luke Kenny) are hanging around in the same city.

The reunion is successful and they get another shot at the same album recording. But 'Fate' has another ace(rather 2 aces) up its sleeve. Rob has brain tumor(after all the ganja sessions) and Joe, the 'poor' man of the band has to leave for a cruise job as a musician which pays a hell lot.

The story has nothing much to offer and the only noticeable performances were Purab Kohli and Farhan Akhtar(to some extent). The girls are purely for eye candy( which is necessary) i.e Debbie(the nagging wife), the ex and the friend. The plotholes are so big that you can drive a truck through them. Here is a list.

1. Arjun Rampal has an Ibanez Jem which costs about Rs. 90000. Add to that the equipment and the total comes upto about 1.5 lakh. Plus he has a whole range of acoustic guitars. And he's supposed to be poor.
2. Why does Farhan Akhtar leave his girlfriend?
3. The logical thing to do was to record the first album and then put in the special ballad in the second album. But no, you have to fight and screw your chance for fame and money.
4. Frankly, I think Farhan did little wrong. Arjun 'lead guitar' Rampal picked a fight for no reason. And to think that his girlfriend had her hopes up of a chance at styling the video when the channel has a host of designers at their beck and call.

FYI:
1. The band singing Zehreele are all Indian musicians. Vox = Suraj Jaggan (Dream Out Loud), guitars = Chandresh Kudawa.Also Dream Out Loud(Amazing guitars. Listen to the solo in Zehreelay)
2. Arjun Rampal can barely play the chords. He can't play any solos.
3. Luke Kenny is a VJ and was the judge at Channel [V] Launchpad( the very contest referred to in the film, except that they don't offer a record deal).
4. No Indian rock concert is as crowded as shown in the film. There are barely 200 people at the shows.

Coming to the music of the film, its pretty much standard rock n' roll, so it's nothing to brag about. Sindbad the Sailor starts exactly as Highway Star (Deep Purple) and has all the qualities of a typical Hindi rock song. The title track and 'Teri Meri Baatein' are the only good songs in the film. Tum ho toh(Debbie's ballad) is worth a listen.

The film is barely watchable. Don't blow your money on the multiplexes. Watch it on your comps.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Enaqbz Penc

Sessionals are almost over. And they were nothing to be proud of. I'm in a cranky mood and people are talking movies here. Living in hostels can screw your movie taste.
So let me ruin some movies for you. I'm not much of a fan of Hindi movies, purely because they linger somewhere between reality and fiction. Rather, they choose to show selective reality. Here are some movies in a nutshell.
1. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham: Boy is adopted by rich parents. Boy falls in love with poor girl. Parents refuse, boy leaves. Younger brother brings him back.
2. Apne(!!!!): Father is a boxer. He is rejected as a coach by his protege. Younger son steps in to defend fathers honour as older on is too busy making moolah. Younger one dies almost. Elder brother wins. Younger brother is alive again.
3. Aamir: Terrorists force an NRI Muslim to plant a bomb in a bus in Bombay as they have his family in captivity. He doesn't and dies.
4. Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic: Angel saves the day (for the kids), brings love into the 'family' and also has a kid.
5. Tara Rum Pum: Racer wins. Gets the girl. Then he loses. Then he gets the girl again.
6. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehnaa: Two dysfunctional couples figure they can't stay together(1 person in each couple). So they don't.
7. Hum Aapke Hain Koun: 2 weddings, 17 songs and a funeral.
8. Hum Saath Saath Hain: Modern day Ramayana.
9. Kismat Konnection: Guy has no luck. He meets his lucky charm, the girl. They marry.
10. Maine Pyaar Kiya: Boy loves girl.
11. Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai: Boy loves girl. Boy is killed by girl's father. Girl gets boy replaced. Father goes to jail.
12. Heyy Babyy: Three men, a baby and English gone horribly wrong.
13. Neal and Nikki: Boy has loads of girls before he marries. Girl runs around in less clothes with him. He marries her and saves money on clothes.
14. Devdas: Man loves girl. He can't marry her. So he drinks himself to death.( Why he can't marry her is a mystery. Just because his parents say no?. He's rich for god's sake.)

PS: This is a result of a bad exam hangover. Personally, some of the movies have very good entertainment value. Forgive me if I have 'offended' some sections of the public(LOL).

Monday, August 25, 2008

<-(SRV)<- the Great!


If you don't understand this post, don't panic. Its pure crap.

He was a very nice person when born. He smiled at the nurse, the parents and everyone else. Initially, the boy showed great promise. But he had difficulty concentrating. So his parents went to the doctor who then advised," The boy needs an iron hand. " And iron hand it was. The parents turned into martinets. Timetables and strict guidelines rained upon the poor kid and ruined his life. And the boy showed no improvement. In fact, he grew more timid and lonely. But the charts were ingrained in his mind. They were his only hope. His precious babies!

Come school and the boy was bullied a lot. School proved to be a nightmare. All the taunts, all the jabs induced a paranoia in the boy. He started stammering(" 'Tick' hai!). Everyone someone came upto him, he broke sweat. He could always be seen with his hand in his pocket and wiping his dripping forehead. He hated the world for what it was. He hated everyone.

6 years of undergrad and grad studies changed the boy. He was sweet and kind(yet timid). He became a teacher and showered all his love on the pupils. But one thing he did not forget, was his love of charts, graphs, notices and timetables. The 'loveable' teacher loved the students with all the percentages and charts he could fathom. He 'explained' to them, the subject with all its nuances. But unfortunately, he forgot that he was teaching 20 year olds and not 12 year old students. Try as he might, he could not satisfy the students. He even tried the good cop, bad cop routine but to no avail.

Thus, again, he only received hate and anger. Frustrated with life, he decided to fight fire with fire. Thus, the next year, the 2nd batch of children bore the brunt of his anger. They were decimated. And yes, he liked seeing this. It rained notices, classes, charts, graphs, assignments upon the poor souls who had no idea what hit them. Morning classes were deliberately canceled and evening classes were taken to help the students tide over the sleepiness. After all, he was helping them. He was helping them take anger management classes and increasing their patience. Or so he thought.

2 years on, THE BATCH and him meet again. It's a head on collision which can only result in death of either of the aforementioned. The little boy has grown up. He is a man. He is power-drunk, and knows the extent of his power (unfortunately for him), for he can only have a small inventory of weapons. The batch however has an experience of 15 years. And that, my friends is something extraordinary.

Just wait and watch. Come November, a murder shall happen. And no Sherlock is needed to solve it. It shall be Murder on the Central India Express.

AK streak continues!

1. I have lost yet another quiz in similar fashion.

2. I hit the post, went just above the bar, and even hit a penalty. Only two people from my team managed a penalty (myself included). It was like we took the match into our hands, and then kissed it goodbye. It wasn't sweet parting at all.

I hope this streak doesn't carry over to the sessionals.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Akhand Katwagiri!

Two weeks have thus passed since our wing has been renamed the AK wing. We are a collection of 'katwas' of the whole Insti. By the way, katwa = a person with perennial bad luck everywhere. It's a euphemism for loser. Fatbaby, dukkar,tubelight, jaggu, me, dedhia and ugam. Some instances to help support the aforementioned conclusion:
1. Fatbaby orders omlette in mess. It takes time to arrive. He is hellbent on shouting on top of his voice at the mess guy. As soon as he warms up and gets ready, the mess guy arrives and all hopes of an entertaining encounter are lost. Fatbaby has fallen short of English cutoffs consecutively by 1 mark. Same with me for DI.
2. Dedhia's interview disasters continue to persist. He's been downed by 4 interviews and a GD( though still going strong).
3. I joined the wing only this year and the bad luck has taken over my life too. I was leading in a quiz (one place I generally win) and last round was a double or nothing. The other team doubled and I ended up with nothing.
4. On more than one occasion, on a very sunny day, it has rained the moment we left the hostel for a trip or a ride.
5. Dukkar's carom exploits are now famous. He is notoriously unlucky in the game and the queen seems to evade him always (and not only in the game). Ahemmm, Cognizant anyone?
6. Jaggu lost yesterday in carom inspite of being an excellent player.
7. Tubelight was given this very moniker, a quality which his friends failed to notice for the last 2 years.
8. Newsletter ahoy! Nowhere in sight. Thanks to LMG. (This issue has now been sorted out. One more is left. HTT has his say in that)
9. I lent my cam to a senior. He has conveniently forgotten to return the USB cable.
10. Fatbaby's name was omitted from the roll list and his DD was misplaced. LOL.
I remember only the milder instances. More AK next time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

(Mess)Food for Thought!

Well, its been a while since I wrote, primarily because of lack of internet access (ahem, LAN wires). I've been thinking of what to write about as the first few weeks of college are truly useless. That too, in a city where virtually nothing happens. Welcome to 'Sleepy Haollow'.
One thing I did find entertaining was the trust vote day. But for the fact that TV was unavailable, I would have been glued to it, anxiously waiting for the results. Some MPs were simply ignorant about what the N-Deal was. Well, RG, himself didn't know what IAEA was. Pure entertainment. As I said, news channel = complete package. For more details, check the article on India TV.

I wonder what the horses would like to say about all the allegations? I think India TV would very well like to cover the story if they can find a person to do it.

Lastly, (and mostly out of the blue), think about this line:

" A rich man's joke is always funny."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

THANK YOU FOR THE MAGIC!


Finally Euro is over and it’s a looooooooooonnnnnnnnnggg time since, to be writing about it. But I wish to thank some people who made it possible for me to enjoy the tournament.

First, I thank Mr. Steve McLaren and the entire English team for NOT qualifying for the Euro and making life easy for (non English) football fans in India. Had England qualified, I would have had to wake up everyday in the morning having to look at the ‘expert’ analysis of the world’s most overrated team everyday. Trust me, newspapers in India are obsessed with everything that is British, walks on two legs and kicks a ball.
Newspaper people, get some real writers for football. Your people suck. Get someone whose area of interest and expertise expands beyond ManU, Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Not to mention the hoopla the news channels would have made over them and their WAGS. And they are not exactly great at the game either.

Coming to the WAGS, even without the English, the media still did show lots of pictures of them posing in, ahem, less clothes. Might seem good eye candy for once but later you get sick of it. You don’t want to see them on TV when there are so many other mouthwatering prospects (read ‘matches’) on offer. HToday compared the WAGS of Holland and Italy when their match was to be played later that night. Are they going to play? So WAGS, thank you for showing up in solid support for your better halves.

Russia, thank you for defeating Holland (*sobs) and bringing them back to reality.

Turkey, thank you for showing me that it’s never over until you say it’s over. I bow to you.

France, all I can say is LOL and thank you for not going through (ya right!). I would have had to skip your matches.

And lastly, Spain, thank you for winning the cup and reaffirming my faith in Spanish football. You rock.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No Clear Deal?


Anxiously counting down to the final outcome of the most talked about pact in recent Indian history, I can not help but equate the UPA’s state to a mother whose child is hell-bent on getting his way. The Left, after weeks and months of threats has decided to pull out their support which will cause the downfall of the UPA government provided they fail to gather support from other parties.

About the deal itself, I know not much about it but I certainly know that it will certainly help India progress and that the proclivity of the deal towards India’s interests is almost unbelievable. Uncle Sam has recognized India’s potential as a powerful player in world politics (if not a superpower) and thus is prepared to offer their resources to assist in the process. But as usual, like in every democracy, someone has a problem.

This time, it’s the Communists. They feel the deal will leave India at the mercy of the US. But every pro has a con. Every coin has two sides. If the deal is done, the degree of technological advancements in the power, defense, science etc. will be so large that the aforementioned ‘risk’ has to be taken. The deal should go through or we would have squandered yet another chance of progress, like we have in the past. We have the tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot and then crib about it later. Anyway, this is not about the past.

The UPA has now realized that the Left is not the only ones with seats. The SP and RLD have agreed to support the deal and bail the government out and prevent early elections. SP has 39 seats in the Lok Sabha and Mr. Mulayam Singh has met the Congress and held talks. I think we have had enough of Prakash Karat’s antics and that he has to be shown the door if he wants to leave.

If the govt. manages to hold its own, it shall be a slap in the face for the Left and they will be truly ‘left’ out, trying to heal their wounds and their egos. Here’s looking forward to a deal between SP and UPA.

Mr. PK, kindly take your support and go home. You will need it to mend your broken ego.

Let the child be abandoned. Unlike real life where the child usually has his way.

Monday, June 30, 2008

All Hail the SAVIOUR!

It all started when life was getting too complicated. People were offered too many choices. And they could not make the right one. Someone had to rescue them from the misery and the pain. “It’s too difficult. I can’t think right. I don’t know what to do during my free hours. There’s just too many channels to watch. I’m so frustrated that I just want to shut off my TV and sleep”, said one such victim. They couldn’t stand it any longer. Someone had to do something, and quickly. Shutting off the TV? No! That just can’t happen. So they took to the mantle and shook TV out of its slumber. TV would never be the same once they arrived onto the screen. Yes, it’s the rescue squad of Indian TV, the greatest channel there will ever be, INDIA TV!

There’s just too less space to write about them. So here’s just a brief on what to expect on this explosive and mind-blowing channel.

You get up in the morning. You wish to read the newspaper but it has not yet arrived. No worries. India TV is here to save your morning. Tune in and watch how we wake you up so you can have a fresh day ahead and use it productively. Hear the forecast for the day by the wise and mysterious shamans and soothsayers so you can be forewarned about the ‘Ides of March’. Give your body the exercise it needs by following the right fitness gurus of the modern/ancient era and revel in the Indian culture by purifying your soul through the words of the ‘sagacious one.’ You are ready to start your day.

Housewives/husbands need not panic too. India TV has just the shows for you. As the day progresses, you can catch all the latest gossip from the entertainment industry. Who’s with whom, who is not, and why? Get your answers here. The men can satisfy their hunger for sports through the sport features if you missed your Euro yesternight. And yes, nature lovers will get to see the wild and untamed battle it out for survival and Darwinian Theory come to life right here on India TV as they focus on the fauna of the planet.

Tired of the educational stuff? Not to worry, India TV brings the latest ‘Breaking News’, a phrase it has virtually introduced and helped popularize. Catch the latest developments in the Talwar case or listen to some expert views on the nuclear pact and all the latest stories, updated minute by minute, so YOU don’t miss out on ANYTHING! After all, what will you say in your friends’ gathering if you are not updated?

Getting too serious? Have a breather as we dish out the latest comedy show clips for you. Laugh your heart out. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Never mind the world happenings. There are also snippets of cartoons for children. Ever wondered how a magician pulls off a trick? India TV reveals the arcane and secret world of magicians.

Women who have missed your serials and reality shows, India TV will put you out of your misery. There will be a rewind of all the shows so YOU don’t miss out on ANYTHING! Music lovers, hear the latest songs and hot videos here.

There is also something for astronomers and science fiction lovers as we delve into the deep and mysterious world of aliens. There faces, bodies, lives shall be revealed to you and you can hear expert views from both the religious and scientific point of view. As night falls, a recap of all headlines is called for and the latest news is ‘broken’.

ACP Arjun raises awareness through the cruel criminal cases (brought exclusively to you by India TV). Horror freaks, dive into the unreal world of ghosts and the paranormal but remember to sleep tight and be aware. Sweet dreams, and no worries about waking up tomorrow morning.

India TV is here to save your day.

DETAILS: Contact your cable operator for getting this life-saving all in one package of education, drama, comedy, news and stories or this toll free number 01234509876.

Don’t get scared of the operator’s voice. We like to keep it dramatic.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

At WIIT's Ends?

If you're wondering what's WIIT, its Womens IIT. LOL.

It’s the IITs again. For starters, there are plans of and all-woman IIT being setup in Amravati, the hometown of our President. Reports say that the proposal has come from the Bhavan itself. What they seek to achieve through this medieval step is beyond me. Why would you want an all women IIT? It’s shocking that when the feminists talk of ‘equality’ and ‘women empowerment’, we still wish segregation as long as it can churn out means to fulfill our desires. When the Presidential elections were being held, the very basis on which the campaigning was done was the ‘woman’ tag. The strongest advocates of the feminist movements,(Shobaa De, Renuka Chowdhary and some others) opposed this, as the Presidential post is not one to be played around with.. It is purely based on merit alone.

Same is the case here. The argument given is that fewer no. of girls are getting into the IITs. But there is no deterring factor, is there? I have always maintained that merit should be the pure basis of selection. JEE is known to be tough and if you work hard, you get through. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world, you know. The cause for the decline in no. of girl students maybe due to the fact that most people leave their homes and go to the coaching institutes in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh as they think it’s the sole path to the IITs. And parents won’t send the girl away from the house. Agreed the institutes do produce most of the IITians but have you ever bothered to count how many of them were actually freshers? If you study well enough, you can get in, irrespective of whether you are at home or in a coaching institute. So I don’t think that the current system is unfair to the girls.

College years, especially the 4-5 years of the graduation are said to be the crucial years of life. Most of the experience you gain from here (not only academic but also social) tends to reflect in your career and life. Interaction with a variety of people and learning to adjust to situations are all the traits picked up at college. As the working women are bound to interact with their male counterparts (they being a majority), the college (being a co-ed institute) experiences will help them cope with different situations and handle them adeptly. Assuming a women’s IIT is made, what will be the kind of students it will produce? How will they cope with the work pressure and the gender bias (which does exist, despite the rosy picture companies portray)? Well yeah, the good ones will surely excel but that is the case everywhere. They will excel even without having gone to an all girls college. So a women’s IIT is an unnecessary step. And how comfortable will the professors (most of them male, at least in engineering education) be, in an all girls’ class?

The no. of girls in engineering is in fact, on the rise, at least in the NITs (where I and some of my friends study). If they can do well enough to get through AIEEE, a bit more effort will see them through to IIT.

So why, then, should we have a WIIT?

In that case, let us a build a separate institute for women in each of the professional course offered in India like B Com, BA, Medical studies, Fashion design, BMM. Oh wait, these have a good no. of women.

Should it be men’s institute for these then?

I said for starters earlier. Main course to follow soon. Or if this is main course, then dessert soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eye Candid # 2

Well, it seems there are a lot of interesting things going on in the world. As long as people exist, I guess I’ll write.

Anyway, I live in Thane and when my dad got transferred to Himachal, people there laughed when I said I was from Thane, as ‘thane’ also means police station in Hindi. But guess what people would have said if I was from the following places:

Shitterton? No. Not a ton atleast!
Penistone. Ahem, I know only the guitar tone.
Thong. I can only say LOL.
Ugley. A milder cousin of Shitterton. It also has (had) a Ugley Women’s Institute. They complained of low attendance. I wonder why. The name was changed it to Women’s Institute of Ugley. They will still complain, methinks.
Crapstone. Imagine your address. And then laugh.
Slutshole Lane. WHAT?
Butthole Road.

All these places exist and are in England (How ghastlay!). I read this in a local Mumbai tabloid and laughed so much. They even had photos of the signs.

I also read recently that Hitler was a very funny man and loved to crack jokes. Everyone seemed to think so too.

Everyone alive that is.

And last but not the least, Aryan Vaid (Yes, it’s him again) is going to play the role of Duryodhana in Ekta Kapoor’s Mahabharata. This role was immortalized by Puneet Issar in BR Chopra’s Mahabharata. We have a more ‘emotional’ Duryodhana this time who might just cosy up to a female co-star for support (if you get the ‘Bigg Boss’ drift).

This version of the epic aims to show all characters in a different perspective, while maintaining the traditions. It’s certainly a start in the 'perspective' area.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eye Candid


Here are some of the things that caught my eye and to some extent, my imagination.

1. A guy walked past me wearing a t-shirt that said,” Real dads don’t read instructions.” I guess that’s why he’s a dad.
2. A group of teenage girls in the US made a pact to get pregnant. They are about 16-18 years of age. One even paid a 24 year old man to do the honours. Well, this just leaves me with a question. Doesn’t the pact exist (though not between the girls themselves). I think its called ‘marriage’.
3. Barack Obama will be more than happy to have Senator Clinton’s full support for his presidential campaign. Only he might have to pay her debts which she acquired during her own failed bid for the White House ticket. That was pretty smart. Hey BO, I’m behind you as long as your money’s behind me.
4. Mr. BO will also have Lord Hanuman for support. A statue of the “Pawan Putra’ will make its way to BO’s camp as apparently, he’s a devotee. Let’s see if he wins or not, shall we?
5. Today is the 25th anniversary of India’s historic win in the 1983 cricket World Cup. While all news channels are busy celebrating the event, today also notes India’s failure to bring home the cup after 25 years (or rather, 6 tournaments) and crores of rupees of investment while Australia, have won it 4 times. By the way, India produces an Australia every year. It’s high time we give importance (meaning money, infrastructure and professional involvements) to other sports. Sorry for the acidic tone, but I’m not much of a fan of cricket.


Anyway, a hearty congratulations to Kapil and co. on their unparalleled (yet) achievement.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sarkar Raj review

I watched Sarkar Raj last week and here’s my take on it.

It starts with the introduction of a proposal to set up a power plant in rural Maharashtra. The proposal is forwarded by a rich NRI businessman who is looking for ways to cut through the red tape. He sends hi daughter Anita (Aishwarya) to meet up with ‘Sarkar’ by the CM of Maharashtra. Sarkar rebuffs her plan as it would have caused the displacement of 40,000 people of Thakarwadi. But Shankar (AB Jr.) sees this as a long term investment for the ‘tarakki of Maharashtra’. Together, they embark on a journey to convince people about the project and garner support. They are then met with opposition from a rabble rousing young leader of Thakarwadi, Somji. The film then goes on about how the project was a part of a bigger game for power (and this not referring to the one which would have been produced by the plant) and politics. Oh ya, there is also Dilip Prabhavalkar as AB’s mentor pitching in a miniscule but god performance. After the Gandhi act, this one was, well, to say the least, different. I won’t spoil it because it’s one of the better films of the year.

The film is well shot and the cinematography is excellent, though it did seem a bit too dark in some shots. Dialogues are written well enough, but it gets tiring to hear them being delivered as a lecture as if to instruct the people on politics, especially during the journey to the villages. Some scenes exude brilliance, like the last one (go watch it, I won’t reveal what it is) and some are downright silly (the one with AB and Aishwarya Rai towards the end). Initially, AB is almost relegated to a vegetable as AB Jr. seeks to put things right to empower his cause for the project with the ‘Main sab sambhaal loonga’ line coming up several times, which makes you think why AB has taken up the role. Don’t worry; you will get the answers later.

The background score is awesome, and apt to the situations. Hats off to Amar Mohile (I think??).

I kind of predicted the end after 2/3rd of the film was done but my friend said that was too silly to be true. But it was and that was a bit of a dampener but otherwise, the film is pretty good.

PS: I’ve been told to reveal more in my ‘reviews’ by some. I promise to do so if I find it to be bad. :)

And yeah, next article won't be a review, so relax. ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oranje Squash(ed)

A very curious incident happened yesterday which made me realise how reputation and the image one projects to society is well, important, even if it causes a loss. As Nana Patekar said in Bluffmaster,” Sorry ki baat nahi. Image! Image ki vaat laga di tune. Main apni hi nazaron mein gir gaya!” Well, enough crap and lets get to the point.

Yesterday, the ‘Oranjes’ were squashed and how! (And I’m not talking about the Nagpur ones either) Netherlands lived up to its reputation of being a choker in crucial games. It had breezed through the 1st round, massacring all three teams on the way. It was the ‘Yamaraj’ in the group of death. Italy, France and Romania were the scalps it had conquered.

And then there was Russia.

The game started on a pretty scrappy note with both teams squandering chance, notably by Roman Pavlyuchenko and Kolodin and some missed/untaken chances by Sneijder, van der Waart, de Jong etc. In the second half, Russian pace proved too much for the Dutch with a series of crosses being put in the Dutch penalty box. Van der Saar was the man for the Dutch. But he too was breached by Pavlyuchenko, when he met a cross by Semak. Russia looked a completely different side after the return of Andrei Arshavin.

The Dutch pushed forward with van Persie, Sneijder and co. Sneijder tried a shot every minute he got the ball near the box, but failed. Sneijder finally succeeded in putting in a cross which was met by poacher supreme van Nistelrooy. But instead of going for the victory, the Dutch switched off and took the game to ET (extra time).

In ET, the Dutch looked tired and lacked the punch which had been in abundance in their earlier games. They were inefficient almost complacent. The Russians were incisive in their build up and fired home two more two help the Dutch retain their title of being chokers. Edwin van der Saar could only look on as the the 3-1 scoreline took the game beyond the Dutch. Mr. Hiddink, take a bow. Have some 'Oranje juice'.


Even if the game had gone on to penalties, Netherlands had the odds against them. I doubt there would be a worse record in penalties than Netherlands. Its 1/5 times that they have won in the matches which went to penalties.


So, 2 teams I support have choked. Now time for Spain to prove me wrong and go through to the semis.

Of course, they too can choose to maintain their reputation. After all, image ka sawaal hai.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Education = Marks?(And its a serious one, people) Take # 1

Well, this ‘news’ is a bit stale but I can’t help it. I was in Bangalore and this happened. Anyway, a local newspaper (tabloid rather) conducted a test on some our very own toppers (or ‘mayyreet rankuuurr’ in Marathi) on GK and most of them failed miserably. I don’t blame them. The system of mugging up the answers and regurgitating it out on paper is to blame. And the questions were not exactly lifted from the finals of TCS Crucible Lateral Connect round (which, if you don’t know, is so tough that you won’t even understand the answer even when you are told the answer). They were just asking the President of India, BCCI full form of SEZ and very basic GK questions which most people would (or rather should) answer at least 70% correctly. The toppers ended up with scores like 2/10 and 3/10. I don’t mean to say that all toppers are dumb. That would be hara-kiri. But not all the meritorious students are, well, to put it right, good. The definition of a good student would not be one who gets full grade or tops the class but one who is conceptually strong in his area or subject, whatever it be. The ICSE and CBSE systems of education are a bit ahead with their project oriented methods where students are made to think. I don’t know about CBSE but, in ICSE, the main emphasis is on the core points which an answer should have. If those vital points are covered by the student, then full marks are awarded, no matter what style, diction or language a student uses. The project system of working has helped me and lots of my friends to think better and more productively.

One such instance is where one of my friends, in a course for market research, had to choose a thesis topic and present a student thesis paper proving his assumptions correct. What he did was to research books and chose a good topic and started work on it, being given 2 weeks’ time which in his words was less. What some smartasses did was to submit a survey with the observations. When the guy complained that that was not a thesis, the teacher handed him lesser marks as an explanation for arguing. This incompetence on the part of teachers causes good students to lose hope and determination to succeed which is akin to killing. What most colleges do is hand out marks so that their results look good. But when the students actually go into the industries, they find it difficult to cope up. Well even in our own college, everyone knows what happens when one is assigned a project to do. We totally rely on Page & Brin’s baby (which incidentally was their college project).

One more though to ponder upon is our tendency to celebrate toppers. Ceremonies are held where the minister presents medals and certificates to the students. They are immediately on TV and all the local newspapers. I’m not saying we stop celebrating. It’s a huge achievement to top a whole country obsessed with marks. Parents push their children to come in the merit list, NOT to know the subject well. This is a huge setback for the students who have missed out. There is a complete loss of self belief and frustration creeps in.
There are lot of other things to say, so I shall keep this post in two parts. I won’t rant on any longer. One important issue is when parents force their kids to go for engineering or medical studies. That I shall continue in the next part.

PS: I have not even looked at the post twice. It’s a straight from-the-heart post with no editing. This has been on my mind for quite a long time and its intensity was magnified after our summer placements.

3 Mistakes of My Life 'review'


Well, I just finished reading Chetan Bhagat’s latest novel, ‘3 Mistakes of My Life (I know it’s a month late). I’m not sure if I’m ‘qualified’ to write a review, but it’s a free country so, here goes. If not a review, consider this as an opinion.

Well it’s a story of businessman and his two friends set in Ahmedabad (or Ambavad as the protagonist Govind likes to call it). It revolves around the 3 things which an average Indian would give most importance to – cricket, religion and business (maybe in the same order). They grow in business, evolve in their thoughts. The book traces their life through the Gujarat earthquakes and subsequently, the riots as they harbour a talented Muslim (you guessed it) boy.

The novel has all the makings of a commercial flick for ‘Hamara Bollywood’ or the Indian film industry as I like to call it. All the angles are covered and you can just imagine the scenes yourself. But as a novel, it makes for a good one time read. The author captures the angst of the young generation well and one can relate to it (if you are from the same generation that is) but the writing style and diction is nothing to brag about. In Chetan Bhagat’s own words (I think), he is not much of a writer but is a good storyteller.

Go read it once. It’s cheap anyway, unlike your Dan Browns and Archer novels.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Indian Television: The Dawn of a New Era(of stupidity and ignorance)

As I ponder over what to write as my first post, TV provides me the food for thought. My mom was watching one of the umpteen reality shows one can get on the tube now. I have a good mind to actually list out all the shows that have, are and will be going on air. Since I have to cajole myself to actually get out of my room and switch channels from Euro to these amazingly arcane and unintelligent shows, I promise to do it later. Till then, here are some points to ponder on:

Most shows are scripted. My brother has attended two shows (Saregamapa and Mission Ustaad) and he tells me that there is a huge LCD screen beneath the stage showing each and every dialogue that one has to mouth. Even the judges’ comments are penned and they are shown with expressions accounted for in the display. Well, I guess reality is one thing not in store for us. But the people continue to get swayed and moved over by emotions and hang onto their hearts as their ‘manpasand stars’ carve their road to supposed glory.
Have you ever noticed that each judge has more or less the same thing to say? And I don’t blame him. If you ask me how 10 guys sung some arbit songs, I won’t remember either. (This brings back memories of my ‘audition’ for the college freshers function J)
Each contestant has one thing to learn and that is to beg for votes. I think there must be manual to how to make a show. If not, consider this as a guide.

MANUAL TO ‘REALITY’ SHOWS IN INDIA:

1. Get people to participate: Most people are jobless and will jump at the possibility of becoming a star (?). If not, dig out a bunch of jobless celebs and you have your participants aka Big Boss. It had Aryan Vaid (who you cant make out if he’s on the ramp or in a film scene if you blacken the background), Rahul Roy( of Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Ayi fame i.e. 15 year old fame), Rakhi Sawant (no comments), Rupa Ganguly, Ravi Kishen (Bhojpuri Shah Rukh on a hiatus I guess), and a model and others whose names I can’t remember, even after the show.
2. Get the ‘honourable’ judges: The procedure is to be the same or pay huge money and get someone good. I saw a channel with Divya Dutta as the judge for a comedy show.(?????) How? Why? What qualifies as a judge? I have no clue.
3. Get a host: This guy/girl has the best/worst job depending on how you look at it. He is a fly on the wall, looks on as all the judges and contestants battle it out for the most coveted possession in India’s history - marks. He is a neutral observer in all the fights, tears or laughter filled sagas and just has to keep the show on. But keeping you ‘glued to the screen’ is no mean feat. He/she also has to prolong the show to help stretch it for 1 hour.
4. Get sponsors and a channel: Most importantly, get people to pump in the moolah.

There you go. My first post and that too about one of the dumbest things on television. The sheer magnitude of shock which I experience when I watch the amount of stupidity that goes on TV is astounding. Has Indian TV actually gone so bad or are we just so dumbed down that we are satisfied with anything we are offered? Or is it just that everyone knows it, they are just waiting for someone to start so they can join later? That I guess is what we like to call the typical Indian attitude, the world famous ‘Chalta hai attitude’.

Lets see what else the holiday joblessness can conjure up here on the net.