Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hats off to Indian Audience

Rave reviews, extravagant figures stating box office collections, Baadshah of Bollywood-the “six pack” Shah Rukh’s exalted status, all this and much more than all this – “ long time, not seen a movie…” syndrome got me to watch Om Shanthi Om in one of the premium theatres in Bangalore for a hefty cost.

In less than an hour, I started moving restlessly in my seat, seriously contemplating, if OSO was a movie or a lengthy spoof.

The first half has all necessary ingredients to be termed an ideal Bollywood movie in itself – high quotients of emotion from an over sentimental MOM, an unspoken and unconditional love for a damsel from an ordinary, yet super good-at-heart guy who is ready to jump into fire a zillion times to save her. We have another good guy, a supportive, true friend of Shah Rukh, Shreyas Talpade. After a flawless performance in a challenging role in the movie Iqbal, he has been utterly wasted in this movie. That’s the first half in brief studded with mockery of most actors/movies of the 70s, not even sparing the favorite of down south, Tamil Superstar, Rajinikanth. I must say that the attempts to imitate him have come out pretty well, the 5 minute sequence leaves you in ripples of laughter.

Here are the most awaited details of the villain – Arjun Rampal. Hail all those scenes with Deepika and him on screen! They look too good together, both are tall, athletic, trim and quite magnetic – where on the contrary with Shah Rukh, poor Deepika manages most scenes bare foot and with a deliberate hump to give a tall boost to her co-star.

Well, that was a deviation. All that concerns us is that Arjun Rampal is the bad guy who kills Deepika mercilessly after fiendishly trapping her in love for mercenery benefits. He also squashes Shah Rukh’s dreams and his efforts to save her. The good guy loses his life, witnessing his dear one’s end in vain. The movie does not end there as the hero firmly believes that “Everything in life ends well, must end well !”

So the Phoenix rises in the second half, new Shah Rukh is born, now in an affluent family. He combats his current identity in an attempt to unravel his past and wreaks vengeance for the bloody death of his lady love. All that happens thereafter in the movie paves way for punishing the wrong doer and avenging the death of the innocent one.

The second half in a nutshell is about how Shah Rukh with the help of natural and supernatural forces accomplishes this task. You will have no doubts about how multiple events lead to this happy climax as the director has left no stone unturned and no question unanswered.

The only question that remains unanswered : "Is this 3 hour long spoof worth all the hype revolving around it?” I accept that one must shed all logic and reasoning while watching most Bollywood movies , but watching Om Shanthi Om requires much more than this.
It really is an ordeal!
Bottom line – against all reviews that state OSO, an wholesome and promising entertainer, here is my perspective – OSO is nothing more than a THREADBARE entertainer.

Just when you thought , gone are the days of running around trees and running behind somebody else’s girl for Shah Rukh, just as you felt immensely satisfied with Shah Rukh’s swashbuckling performance in Chak De; he lets you down big time with OSO proving he likes to and has to run around trees, fall head over heels in love for someone else’s girl.

And hats off to Indian audience with an insatiable appetite for such meaningless movies who strive to see him this way, in movies after movies, expecting no less and no more.

Friday, March 9, 2007

All this can probably define IRONY


This article is no litany of complaints or an ostentatious display of personal frustration, dejection and disapproval. The points stated below are purely written on the basis of what I have heard, observed and imbibed. It is not an exhaustive description as my experiences are limited by my age and outlook. Just that these have made me think hard, think hard of life and the IRONY that intertwines it.


For instance take India, etymologically trace its name to the word Indus which in turn is derived from “Sindhu” in Sanskrit. We all glorify womanhood and claim India as Mother India, yet census reports show the ratio of females to males as 927:1000 and we see figures worse than this when the antecedent dips down to a meager 780 in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The practice of female infanticide prevalent in villages in Tamil Nadu, with its intensity at apex in 1992 -95 received world wide attention – many schemes were introduced since then to prevent the infernal practice.

Ironically, we still see cases where a husband refuses to lift his baby because it’s a female child; turns his back in perfect sync with his relatives, to the nurse holding the new born in her hands while the mother is still lurking under the influence of anesthesia and is as oblivious to the treatment meted out to her first child as she is to her fate for having delivered her. I have seen this happen 5 years back at St.Isabels’ Hospital, Chennai.


We have our President talking of dreams, igniting minds, the Indian youth being the country’s livewire etc – there is absolutely no grievance with what he preaches but can he EVER do something about the 1017 of this YOUTH who have gone missing since the break of militancy in 1990 in Jammu and Kashmir.?

Ironically, the parents are not even aware if their kids are still alive or dead. Over a decade, they have waited faithfully for their return, sobbed on media which reaches their doors when they cannot gather much news on Bollywood, Ash-Abhishek affair and Cricket.

The government has been so indifferent to their outcry that the parents and concerned relatives have formed an "Association for Parents of Disappeared Persons" – their only hope - to see their son/brother/husband alive (or atleast, know if they are still alive) who went missing from a tea shop or a bus stand years back; they hope battling against all odds, against the high probability or the harsh truth of their getting killed in fake encounters. Read more on http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/mar/07sri.htm


I have seen some Tamil communities displaying this very strange behaviour - when a girl attains puberty, they celebrate it in so much grandeur that it appears a week long festival. Relatives come in from all possible places, feasts are thrown out to the whole village, men party all night. What merely needs to be treated as a physiological change and left aside is publicized and exhibited in all elaborate ostentation!
Ironically, if the same girl is harassed/molested or sexually abused, there is none to fight for her justice or punish the wrong doer. More than a handful exist who willingly curse the girl for her fate, for having brought disgrace to the family and this handful leave her in such deplorable state that the worst episode of her life can neither be battled nor be forgotten.

This thought struck me after watching the movie “Black Friday”.

The blasts that took place in Mumbai in 1993, that gory episode of bloodshed and violence which took toll in three if not four figures has left a spectre, still looming in the air, of the possibility of terrorist attacks or communal riots; anytime, anywhere in the nation and across the globe.
Sixteen full years, it took to solve the case and get the culprits to terms of imprisonment and all that colossal loss of life and property was to wreak vengeance for the act of demolition of Babri Masjid that stood for a long time and was considered holy by a group of people who have as much right as anybody else in the nation to practice their religion and stick to their faith.
And what had to be built at the site of demolition after trampling upon people's faith and clearing all the debris ? A Ram Mandir –YES, in veneration of Lord Rama who left to forest for a span of 14 years giving up his rights on rule and kingdom, solely because it was a request from his ailing father.
Also ironically, in praise of a lord who suspected his wife on her virginity and put her to litmus test(that's the closest term in English I can get for Agni Pariksha in Hindi) more than once even though she loyally waited for her husband to return and accept her with all affection.
What are we endorsing? All husbands can rightfully and endlessly suspect their wives and put them to test whenever they want? Probably, Lord Rama had many qualities to make him an example worth elucidating but this trait of his which I read from the well acclaimed epic has been one hard fact for me to digest.

The element of irony gets only better in that I am apparently one of those who pens down “Sri Rama Jayam” a 1001 times in my notebook on the Rama Navami Day upon instructions from Mom. In fact, it has become such a regular practice that I no longer require any instruction from her, I do it pretty faithfully and I am no atheist :)

There are many more such instances which reflect irony at its best- the Indo-US nuclear deal, the recent friendly ties between the two nations, probably a thing that needs to be welcomed with an open mind. Just that, it is ironical to note, a country looked down upon us so heavily for more than a decade during the period of cold war, it now wants to embrace us so fondly.
Not to forget, an all time low between US and India in 1970s, when Pakistan backed by USA inflicted atrocities on people in East Pakistan and perpetrated genocidal activities (refer to the blood telegram - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_telegram for more information).
Neither the then US President nor the Secretary of the State did anything to control the atrocities.
And what does the United States of America do TODAY - classify Iran, Iraq and North Korea into an AXIS OF EVIL, join hands with India to fight acts of terrorism which it full fledgedly bolstered for years, discuss at table whether Darfur(Sudan) conflicts need to be classified under world's list of genocides AND for every single minute spent in such discussion there is a home getting destroyed/displaced in Darfur. ....... ....... ............................

An endless list of such things exist about which I think of and where thinking leads me nowhere, that's precisely what Irony is all about – a water tight compartment of every aspect and routine of our life – probably, the one that adds spice to it as well.

Friday, March 2, 2007

That would be one Great Compliment :)

A Beautiful Mind – that’s a book I grabbed some time last year not really knowing it would serve some excellent reading. A book written by Sylvia Nasar, on the life of a Nobel Prize winning Economist and Mathematician, John Forbes Nash, "A Beautiful Mind" describes the professor's childhood years, episodes of college days at the Princeton and MIT, his battling a mental disorder by the name schizophrenia and emerging a winner, a winner of Nobel Prize in the year 1994.

The book,undeniably, is some good material for yielding motivation and provides great insight into how consistent personal efforts and undying support from near and dear ones can be effective in overcoming any disorder, whatever be the degree of severity.

The better part comes in now – in that I happened to watch the movie, loosely based on this novel and by the same name recently. The movie has Russell Crowe playing the lead role and was released in the year 2001. The movie has some exemplary performance by Russell Crowe, our own Gladiator :) , one of my favourite actors.

Right from the start, every scene of the movie was studded with commendable performance by Russell Crowe, his days at Princeton as a very reclusive,“Better with Numbers” kind of a guy to the days when he serves for the Department of Defense – hallucinating all the time and paranoid, his erratic conduct and the multiple schizophrenic episodes he tries to battle, his self-sequestered way of life when he gets back to teaching after the illness, backed by a personal drive and an unceasing support from his wife and some close friends, thereafter, the mettle to achieve greatness - WOW !! its just a treat to watch such multifaceted performance, all in just one movie.
There is a scene where some students come and place a pen in front of Prof.John Nash (Russell Crowe) as a mark of respect – AWESOME is the word for it or you get me a better adjective !

Well, that’s not the end – there’s more to the movie… that’s when the Professor is announced a recipient of the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economics for his outstanding work on Game Theory.
All eyes on Russell Crowe when he climbs on to the dais to deliver his speech and you are rendered speechless.

Here are the words – simple yet as beautiful as words can get.

I have always believed in numbers, in equations & logic that lead to reason. After a lifetime of pursuit, I asked “What truly is logic and who decides it reasons?”. My quest has taken me to physical, metaphysical ,delusional and back and I have made the most important discovery of my career , the most important discovery of my life. Its Only in mysterious equations of love that logical reasons can be found. I hit it only because of you, You are the reason I am. You are all my reasons.Thank you.

And you see the Professor's wife shedding a secret tear with a radiant smile on her face - the audience in standing ovation.WOW !!
I am not sure if the professor in real life said these words when he was on the podium receiving the honours but those clips in the movie,I must say, are worth watching, any number of times.

That night, I dreamt of my husband (I am not married as yet but I guess you have all liberty to dream futuristically ;)) winning an award – not necessarily a Nobel Prize … but some award, some big honour and delivering a speech along similar lines.
And I stand upright with pride, all priase for him with thick glasses and grey hair and yes , of course, with secret tears in my eyes.

It sometimes means a bigger honour and invokes a greater sense of pride to stand by a person you love and respect , at all times, against all ordeals and see him/her reap success and achieve a sense of greatness from that. It is more remarkable an achievement than you being out there on the dais yourself.
And lines like those stated above, will make the world’s best appreciation , an endorsement, one of its kind, the only one. For all the support and love extended, the above would be ONE GREAT COMPLIMENT!!

Monday, February 26, 2007


There’s this poet whose works I always loved to read, understand and remember.

I am referring to Emily Dickinson and this special attraction to her poems began with a simple and short one that I read in high school.I remember it till day, every word of it, including some punctuation marks. Emily Dickinson is known for awkward placement of punctuation marks, extensive usage of dashes and inappropriate capitalization of script. Just glancing through a set of poems from her "Complete Works" will suffice to prove the above statement.

Probably, remembering the poem itself is not a big deal but I must say that this was the only poem (of 12 years of English lessons at school) which meant a lot and made a lot of sense.

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host

Who took the flag to-day

Can tell the definition,

So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Break, agonized and clear.

I am sure each one of us would have felt something of this sorts "so near .... yet so far" at some point of time.The above poem offers a more meaningful reading for all those who fit into the
"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride" category.

It is said that Emily Dickinson led a very introverted life, her life merely confined to a small room in her family’s house in Amherst,a village in England;a room that had a single window which opened out to a graveyard. Many quote this as the reason for her morbid fascination for death as the subject for a large number of her poems. However, some say that she was influenced to a great extent by works of Emerson and Blake who largely spoke of life and death, a perception of life beyond that provided by the five senses etc.

This is a famous line from Blakes’ works- “If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite
I have still not got down to interpreting this statement too very well but I just happened to read that this one line found a prominent place in literature,movies and music.

Here’s another of my favourites from Emily Dickinson’s works – pretty simple and nice.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

http://www.bartleby.com/113/ is a good link which provides the entire set of Emily Dickinson’s poems.A casual analysis into sections of poems on Life, Time and Eternity will make us sit back and wonder about the mysticism that wraps her works;ponder how an agoraphobic, reclusive female who dropped out of school in mid-teens could grab such an unusual view of the world around her.

Some of her poems are very difficult to comprehend, some are intense and depressing but for those who love poetry, Emily Dickinson is the most perfect embodiment, an epitome of literary class.

Here is a line by her to conclude this post – A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say , it just begins to Live That Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A dangerous flashpoint or just an imaginary line?

Close to two years of work in a South Korean Multinational Company and I haven’t taken a short recee of the country’s map.

So I key in these characters - www.wikipedia.org in my Mozilla browser ….. Loading ...

A small note before the link opens : Wikipedia.org is this magic potion that provides a wealth of information on diverse topics. It gives me a much required breather from the otherwise mundane coding, simulating and dumping data and waveforms. Thanks to all those million friends who post details on this well organized site!

Without further digression , this is what I had on my desktop -

Korean peninsula - A peninsula in east Asia, more like an outgrowth from an otherwise regular boundary, divided into two by an imaginary line – the 38th Parallel.

That gives us some important thing to discuss - I guess we just cannot dismiss this 38th parallel (38’N latitude) as one of those imaginary lines etched on the globe for easier zone demarcations. The continued antagonism between the two halves (North and Soth Korea) that lie on either side of this line would force one to see this peninsular region as one of the most dangerous military flashpoints in the modern world.

The golden rule of “opposites attract” does not work between these two halves – irony that this rule, most say, works with people but not for nations made of people. So where does the problem lie? Probably, nations are not just about people but comprise much more, on the contrary, they are just void and don't include people at all.

On the northern side of this line, lies a Communist nation led by an eternal monarch, armed with an arsenal of nuclear weapons, chemical and biological warfare means, an arsenal that has siphoned into it all time and money to raise itself to the stature of the most potent storehouse of destruction looked at with global trepidation. The North Korea has been outcast by its neighbors and the losers of course are the nations’ people who form the impoverished lot, for whom every passing day is like an era, for whom even the basic amenities are denied. Shrouded by unemployment, malnutrition, global and internal negligence, all that remains with them is the sobriquet they have been christened with “a part of the Axis of Evil” with comrades like Iran and Iraq.

So if that was the description of the international pariah,we get onto the contrasting southern region of the peninsula – South Korea, one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a respectable standard of living for its people, even more respectable than India (sadly) following democratic institution of government. Samsung, Hyundai and LG are names enough to tell tales of the nation's growth.

So why this contrast , why this divide ? BLAME it on their FOREFATHERS!!!!!!

For centuries, Japan, Russia and China have jostled for control over the Korean peninsula. Not to forget the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 which led to Japanese colonization of the peninsula, a massacre of millions of Koreans that has left an indelible scar until this day.

Come Second World War (1939), USSR (Russia) invaded the North and drove Japanese out of the peninsula. Until this time, 38th Parallel would have just remained an imaginary line without much significance, but with USSR and USA using it as a boundary between the North and the South with the former taking control of the North and latter over South, differences had to grow.

Under USSR’s communist regime, developed a strong military force in the North which wanted to dwell further down into the peninsular region. After all , the QUEST FOR POWER never ends.

The Big Brother, the United Nations backed strongly by the USA had to intervene to drive the military North forces away. It is said that the UN resolution asking for expulsion of the North military forces from the south consisted of 14 member nations and a huge battalion of 3,00,000 troops. Three years of extensive war, the period 1950-53 saw the rapid advance of the North Korean forces into the South Korea inspite of mammoth efforts by the US led forces to restrain the advance. With US led forces trying to retort, came the grand invitation for China to enter the battlefield. It ordered the USA to retreat as it was concerned about USA hitting the North region close to its border with North Korea.

No one listens the first time – that’s the BIG folly and China had to intrude.

With fostered support from China, North Korea took to the war front with renewed enthusiasm. And like any other war, the Korean war took a huge toll, statistics reveal that 2 million soldiers in total, lost their lives. In reality, what the figures are , none of us know.

Now what more remains to be done – call the 38th parallel the most fortified border, a military flashpoint , a demilitarized zone , the same way Indo - Pak conflict and Israel –Palestine issues have been addressed.

Technically, the Korean war did not come to a close in 1953, the two nations signed an armistice (please refer to the DICTIONARY for the meaning of this word as God alone knows what this term stands for – armistice and MoUs are violated even before the ink on the paper dries) with the UN and decided that 38th parallel will be the border between the two.

North Korea went on to accumalate nuclear weapons and huge stockpiles of missiles , used every iota of infrastructure to strengthen the arsenal even forgetting electricity supply to its people , such a shame that today it barters stoppage of nuclear proliferation programme in exchange for global sanctions/economic reforms and free electricity from the USA for its people.

It pulled itself out of the Non Proliferation Treaty in the year 1993 to add to the then global woes, fired a missile right over Japan into the Pacific Ocean in 1998, signaling its arrival into the infernal picture of nuclear warfare, an arrival of no less than a behemoth.

All that happened thereafter - rounds of talks between some six nations – a rigmarole which led to nowhere but an impasse, with the North Korea firmly disapproving intrusion of any sorts from IAEA agents to check its nuclear supplies or any attempts to stop uranium enrichment before it obtained promise from USA on economic and social reconstruction reforms. The USA on the other hand asked North Korea to get more docile on nuclear policies first before it expected reforms of any sort from them.

That’s just a deadlock, a deadlock unresolved till day leaving us again with this question - Is the 38th parallel only an imaginary line or something more than that? The deadlock will remain unresolved, the questions will remain unanswered as nations are just not made of people. In fact, they are devoid of people, they are only full of vengeful, barbaric animals in an endless conquest of power on an inevitable and certain road to global catastrophe.

Finally , I am here .....

Well, what got me here? I don't know ; a sudden urge to write may be, that’s what furore scribendi is all about ! Or just that my team mate has been editing her blog since morn, in turn tempting me to create a new one. Maybe its just one of those few days when my manager is'nt around giving me a lease of freedom - freedom to browse , blog and blab.

It finally had to happen today , on the 13th of Feb 2007 (Date: for my own information) that my volition to pen down my thoughts got me to completing a 3 step process and yes, here I am with my blog, FINALLY.

So what does this page have in store for those who read it?Anything from world politics to literature, from economic & social issues to human psychology, may be even my personal episodes with a special tag "This piece of work is truly fictitious and any character that appears in this bears no resemblance to any person dead or alive", have always loved these lines - the safest way to write it all and still get away without much chaos :)
Making things more clear, neither am I a master/analyst in any of the above mentioned topics nor am I an avid writer. I consider this blog, a platform where I can post my views - views that have always yearned for expression , acceptance , appreciation and maybe even criticism.

Finally , I am here ........... in the BLOGGING world !