Friday, 31 December 2010

Wait. What? It's gone?

Wow. It's the end of one whole year. One whole year gone by in the blink of an eye. It feels like only yesterday that I graduated from college, that I moved into this house, like Avatar released only a week ago (2010 started with Avatar, for me). It's hard to believe that one year has passed. It's already time to replace that calendar on my cupboard. It's already time to retrospect and introspect while I feel like the year has only begun. It feels like nothing much has happened this year, yet I can talk for days about all the events that have happened in life this year. The realization that this year is at its end feels weird. Really weird. Like this is a dream. Like I'm in the "matrix".

Anyway, fact is a fact, no? 2010 has ended and it is time to look back at those resolutions. Now,

  • Did I write that song or poem I wanted to write? Hehehe. That's a joke, right? Of course not. But I made music. That is something, isn't it? 
  • Did I stop eating biscuits and maggie? Yes. I'm now eating more Dairy Milk Roast Almonds, more pizzas, more Chinese noodles and more roommate-made delicious food. Call me lucky for having a roommate who is about to get married and wants to "practice" cooking. 
  • Did I learn to find the greater of two given fractions? Yeahhh. Yay to me. 
  • Did I learn to lie? Well, not really, but I've been told I exaggerate a bit much (In my defense, doesn't exaggeration make a boring incident more dramatic and interesting?)
  • Did I learn a new language? There was too much choice... Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Latin, Russian, Italian, Gibberish... I couldn't pick one.

As for my new new-year resolutions, here they are --

  • Make more music
  • Read all the books I bought last year
  • Buy more books
  • Draw more
  • Make at least 20 elaborate 3D models
  • Aim high, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing
  • Do not get married
Looking forward to the new year. I'm excited. And a little apprehensive. A decision needs to be made. A decision will me made for me. Nonetheless, I know it is going to be a very interesting year.

Happy 2011, everyone.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Superrhero, Superrflop

Dreamworks is outdoing itself. Everytime. As if How To Train Your Dragon wasn't good enough, enough to make me want the movie to win the Academy award this year, now comes Megamind (released in India last week after an agonizing wait). I've heard Tangled is just as good, or some say it's even better than Megamind (I've read reports of Megamind underperforming, and Tangled toppling Harry Potter at the US Box Office). Now I'm not so sure which movie will win it. All the movies in the fray this year as just as good as the other. These movies just keep getting better. And my excitement keeps increasing every time I hear about a new animated movie release.

And now for my brutally honest rant.

I watched two movies back-to-back yesterday, one of which was Megamind and the other an Indian animated-cum-live-action movie Toonpur Ka Superrhero. I decided to watch Toonpur Ka Superrhero to know how far we've come. It's been a while since I last watched an Indian animation movie. While on one end of the Indian animation spectrum we have Alpha and Omega (which did fairly well abroad), on the last picometer of the edge of the other end of the spectrum we have Toonpur Ka Superrhero. I'm no longer going to accept the excuse of Indian animation industry being in its nascent stage after Alpha and Omega and Tinkerbell which have pretty decent animation. Just because these animation movies are targeted at kids, doesn't mean one can throw any crap at them and they'll enjoy it. Kids are not stupid. Toonpur was a pain to watch. The story -- Kid calls his actor dad a fake hero. Dad is hurt. Some cartoons kidnap dad into their "Toonpur" to fight a bad guy. Dad is successful. Dad becomes "Superrhero" in his kid's eyes -- brainless; and the characters bordering on the obscene.

This movie makes me wonder if the people who worked on this movie have ever seen a Pixar or a Dreamworks movie. The characters in these movies are so beautiful, even without a story, I can bet that these movies will still be able to stand only on the strength of their character appeal. Ok, maybe not. But look at Megamind's "beautiful" Roxanne, and Toonpur's "Miss Toonpur" Loveena and you'll know what I mean.
Indian character designers need to understand that female characters can be made to look good/sexy without giving them a huge bust.
What I find ironic in our animation is that while our country is basically colourless (look around, count how often you find colours other than red, yellow and dark blue, besides black and white), the environment in our animated movies are full of mismatching, blindingly bright colours. This is not specific to this movie, but in almost all the animated shorts created by students, that I've seen. I can't think why.

As long as we've got these basic fundamentals of animated movies wrong, Indian animation can never compete with the international releases. They say the Indian moviegoer isn't ready for animated movies yet, but I'm sure if we give them movies that are at least as entertaining as the movies he/she is watching right now, he/she will be ready. And once we get this right, we can then talk about animation boom in the country.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Another Day, Another Melody

This time a little longer, and hopefully, a little better.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Sound Of

Music. My music. My first ever. Composed on FL Studio.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Music Animation

I've finally learnt how to move to the music. If you're watching this, watch it in HD. It looks so much better in HD.

I will probably replace the previous 'rock' video with a HD version, if that's possible.

Friday, 10 December 2010


Learnt something new today -

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Something Lurking

Sharing this ad -- a vacuum cleaner (compressor) ad from LG Electronics, created by Y&R, New York -- for its amazing storytelling.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


You know what I'm hoping for right now? I'm not hoping that I get into a college of my choice. I'm not hoping that my exam tomorrow goes well. I'm not even hoping to clear any of my exams. All I'm hoping for right now is to have the worst horoscope a girl could ever have. I'm hoping to be rejected by every family that wants to match horoscopes. I am hoping to find a family that likes me for me. I am hoping to find a man who will accept my idiosyncrasies without judging me. I am hoping to find a man who will not let me let go of my dreams. I am hoping to find a man who will fall in love with me. I am hoping to find that man and fall in love with him.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Japanese Are Crazy

But more than that, they are creative. Very very creative. While on the one hand, they come up with the craziest TV shows, on the other hand they come up with the most moving ads (and crazy ones too). This particular ad almost moved me to tears.
No, I'm not spending my days watching ads on YouTube. I'm just digging up and posting old favourited videos that still move me as much as they did the first time I watched them.

Speaking of creative ads, I also loved the recent Indigo Airlines "On time" ad by W+K. Very nicely done. Makes me stop whatever I'm doing to watch the ad.

That also reminds me. The recent Mobile Number Portability ads by Idea that use "No Idea, Get Idea" as a punchline -- very clever. I just wish they'd let Abhishek Bachchan say "That's what" instead of "Get Idea". The ads would've made a greater impact once people got why AB says "That's what". If you watch closely, you'll see "Get Idea" was dubbed later into the ads. Nevertheless, it was clever. Not great, but clever.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Luxor's Frixion

How much more creative can an advertisement for a pen get? This one is an ad for an erasable ballpen called Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pen (introduced in March 2009). Created by Spanish creative agency, Jurgen Berderow. Brilliantly done.
Except for the background music.

Monday, 15 November 2010


Mum's a Who's Who!! The certificate reads -
The Marquis Who's Who Publications Board certifies that Himaja Malipeddi is a subject of biographical record in Who's Who in the World Twenty-Eighth Edition 2011 inclusion in which is limited to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their own fields of endeavor and who have, thereby, contributed significantly to the betterment of contemporary society.
I hope I can, someday, make mum just as proud as I feel right now.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Two Days To Go

Two days to go for the exam. They say you're not supposed to study too much now. So I'm not. I'm doing this. I'm not proud of any of this, but hell this is my blog. Also attempted a stop motion animation. I used only 24 photos. If I had a better camera I'd have made a longer video with better animation.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Miracle of Life

The most incredible conception video there is. Genesis by Ramos David.

Happy Diwali!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Gah. I'm jealous. Had to go through my art folder to tell myself I wasn't too bad. Stupid jealousy. But hey, I found this two year old drawing I'd forgotten about in the archives --
This is one of the very few human figures I've done. I've a problem with proportions. Didn't colour it fearing I'd spoil the drawing. But one of these days, I'm planning to start painting. How hard can it be, right?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Music, the greatest good

Everybody Deserves


at 3 a.m.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Truth or Happiness

Have you seen what they're selling at This. Which is not such a bad thing. (However, you may want to look at the "Frequently Bought Together" section on the page). What's odd is how people are using it. Read those odd reviews of the product here. I honestly don't know if I should laugh it off, or be surprised, amazed or nauseated. As if that's not enough, there are a whole bunch of weird stuff for sale from deer rears, to Borat costumes, to chicken poop lip-balms, to Hilary nutcrackers. And others I don't even want to mention. Can this world get any weirder? Did such things happen in the old times 50-80 years ago? Or are we just more aware of these things because of the internet?

On a serious note, have you seen these war-zone photos by Joao Silva? Dr. Lightman was right. "Truth or happiness, never both".

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


There are movies I like for their intriguing stories, there are movies I like for the actors in them, there are movies I like for their sheer entertainment factor, there are movies I like for their profoundness and the inspiration they provide. And then, there are a special category of movies I like only for their background score. And one such movie is The Holiday.

I'm a tad bit too late in watching the movie (it was released in 2006), but there's nothing that kept me riveted to the movie than the amazing background score -- perfectly in tune with the mood of the movie -- easy, breezy, feel-good, on-top-of-the-world, want-to-fall-in-love type of music. Simply amazing. (Sigh. If I were a little better with words, I could've made it sound so so much better).

I have the greatest admiration for people who have the gift of music, be it composing, playing an instrument or singing. I consider them the luckiest people in the world. To create such soul-touching music, or to transport people into another world by their voice, I believe, he/she must be just as great at heart, don't you think? I wish I were good at at least one of these things.

It isn't the first time I liked the background score of a movie. I've liked the background scores of Pirates Of The Caribbean, Madagascar, and more recently Despicable Me, but none of them as much as The Holiday. The music in The Holiday was so good it compelled me to know who composed such mesmerizing music. Found out it was Hans Zimmer, who not only composed music for The Holiday, but also for Pirates Of The Caribbean, Madagascar and Despicable Me! Unbelievable or what.
Hans Zimmer. You rock!

Of course, everybody knows he composed that universally popular Mission Impossible tune, but did you know he also composed music for The Lion King, Shark Tale, Batman Begins, The Da Vinci Code, The Simpsons Movie, The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda, Angels and Demons and Inception? I didn't. This man is a genius (I mean, really. He is ranked #72 on the list of the "Top 100 Living Geniuses" published by The Daily Telegraph)

Speaking of music composers, I also like John Powell (the movie Happy Feet introduced me to him) and "The" John Williams (ever since Harry Potter happened), but Hans Zimmer is hands-down my favourite. Better than A.R.Rahman? Hell yeah. (A.R.Rahman is still my Indian favourite though. Don't know if we'll have another Rahman in the country. Ever.)

P.S. Did you know Hans Zimmer is composing music for Ra.One?

P.P.S. "Maestro" is the name of that amazing soundtrack from The Holiday, that is the cause for this post.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

So You Think You Can Draw?

Yes, said my DVD writer. My laptop has the LightScribe thingy. I've been waiting to try it ever since I got this new HP laptop two months ago. Today, I went to the mall, bought two LightScribe DVDs (cost me Rs.60 each), came home, burnt a DVD, turned it around and commanded my DVD writer to draw. It drew. This --
There, that's me on the right. A bunch of my friends and I had gone to an amusement park in Mangalore. We were immensely amused.
It took the writer exactly 26 minutes to print the picture, during which I watched an episode and a half of Friends. I wasn't sure how the print would look on a DVD, considering it was black and white, but gosh the DVD looks great. Takes labelling to a whole new level. I no longer have to label my DVDs like this --
As cool as the LightScribe DVD looks, it still is quite expensive. So I think I'll be using these only on occasions. Now that I've decided to use these for special occasions, I know just what to do with the second DVD. Where are thee, oh third week of November?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

My Own Little Italy

I completed graduation in a place called Nitte. Nitte is a village, in wilderness, cut off by an hour and a half from the hustle and bustle of a city (Mangalore). There is nothing but tall trees all around the college, though we did have a hanging bridge, a waterfall and a beach close by in less than half an hours distance. But will nature suffice for the disco-going, beer-drinking college students of today? Obviously not. That is why I wasn't surprised when a friend of mine said one day, "What kind of a place is Nitte? What kind of a name is Nitte? Ugh. I hate this place. You know, my relatives keep asking, Nitte? Where is that? Never heard of it. The name sounds like no-man's land."

Now now, those of you thinking, "Yeah, me too. Nitte? Never heard of it." Nitte, as a place may not be heard of, but the college was famous in the state, which is the only reason people sent their kids to this forest to be trained to become engineers.

And then one day, Google Maps happened. "Nitte" was the first thing I typed into it, to test if it could find this place from the back of beyond. To my surprise, it did. "Whoa! This thing is cool!" I thought. I zoomed out to see if there were other places I could recognise. Nothing. "Hmpf. This is a forest. Maybe I don't know this forest that well" Zoom out. Nothing. Zoom out. Still nothing. Zoom out. Zoom out. Zoom out. Italy. "Whaaaat? Italy?" Google Maps had taken me to Nitte, a place in Italy. "Wow! I could go to Italy and say I lived in Nitte, and people would know." I dashed out of the room into the friend's room and said, "Guess what? There's a place called Nitte in Italy. Look." "Woww! This is going to be a slap right across my aunt's face."

Cut to today, I was reading about Maurizio Cattelan's provocative, satirical sculptures -- because of this --
A sculpture called "crippled hand" from Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan is placed in front of stock exchange palace in Milan September 25, 2010. Credit: Reuters/ Stefano Rellandini
Cattelan's bio read "Born in Padua, Italy". "Padua? Hey, that's a place in Mangalore! First Nitte, now Padua. I wonder what other places in Mangalore have Italian names."

Belman, the bus-stop before Nitte. Could easily be mistaken for Belmonte, a place in Italy and many other countries. In fact, I called the place Belmonte for a long time until someone pointed out it was "Belman" and not "Belmonte".

And how could I forget Valencia, where I spent over 12 years of my life and 11 years of schooling. [Valencia is not in Italy but in Spain (of course, you know that), but it appears it's a very common name for a place. There's a Valencia in Pakistan, also Columbia, Phillippines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru].

So next time somebody asks me where I am from, I'm going to say Italy. *wink*

Come to think of it, Mangalore is a place with funny locality-names actually. But that'll be another post another day.

Update [April 26, 2011, 01:49 a.m.]
I cannot believe I missed mentioning something so close to my heart. My school - St. Gerosa High School - is named after an Italian saint, Vincenza Gerosa.

Vincenza Gerosa (born in the late 1700s), along with Bartolomea Capitanio, founded the Sisters of Charity of Lovere. Incidentally, Capitanio is another school a few kilometres from my own school. The buildings opposite to my school belong to the Sisters of Charity. They run an orphanage, a primary school for the financially weak and a day care centre, where I was sent for a short period, if I remember right.

I recall now, every once in 3-4 years, our teachers would announce the arrival of sisters from Italy, and when they arrived, we'd have a special assembly for them, with dances and songs and skits. It was a huge deal. We would go the chapel to pray (The chapel is inside the school campus. The building is out of bounds for students, per se, unless you say you want to go to the chapel to pray), but more importantly to greet the sisters from Italy. They were ever so sweet. The serenity and smile on their faces were only paralelled by Mother Superior who'd visit once in a while. I never missed an opportunity to greet her whenever I heard she was there. Her serene smile would make my day. The only other famous person with a smile like that is Mother Teresa. But, I digress.

I think my sister's school too - St. Agnes High School - is named after another Italian saint whom they call "Agnes of Rome", though it isn't run by the Sisters of Charity.

This Italian-ness of Mangalore intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper into its history as to why so many places in and around Mangalore have Italian names. The Christians in Mangalore are from Goa and of Portuguese descent, not Italian. And as far as my knowledge on Indian history goes, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British arrived in India before the British Raj was set up. So now it's even more intriguing.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Wall Street

So I watched Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. After all the hype and hoopla around this movie, it was such a huge let down. It had such a weak weak plot, or no plot at all I should say. The movie starts from where it left off in the 1987 movie. I didn't watch the 1987 movie, but it seems like it must have been a very good and intriguing movie. I could feel it while watching this movie. Maybe that's what makes this movie even more boring.

You could easily skip this movie and not miss a thing. Wait for the DVD, rent it or download it, but don't waste your money watching this in the theatre. I had such high expectations from this one, especially after Stephen Sackur, THE Stephen Sackur, mentioned this movie in his interview with Oliver Stone. What a disappointment. Sniff.

I wonder if Legend Of The Guardians will release in India. It had better. I'll be watching Beauty And The Beast 3D with Mahi this Sunday, and then next week, the one I've been eagerly waiting for -- Anjaana Anjaani. Ranbiiiiiiiir!!!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Does This Count As Annoying?

Okay Okay. I know. Another post on Despicable Me. But seriously, if you haven't watched the movie, the least you could do is watch this video. It's the making of the movie, but its got all the best scenes. And then, another scene from the movie everybody loves.

"It's so fluffy I'm gonna die"
I say, Agnes is so cute I'm gonna die.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The song Dil Hai Chhotasa was filmed at...

Hogenakkal, two hours from Bangalore on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. Family picnic to celebrate mom and dad's 24th wedding anniversary.

Good Old Days

"I'm going to meet friends" most often means you're going to meet friends you've made in the college you last went to, or maybe the college before that. How many times does it mean friends from the school you went to? When you're indeed going to meet friends from school, it's always mentioned specially, "I'm going to meet my friends from school", because friends from school are special. You want the other person to say, "Friends from school! Wow! You're still in touch?" They may no longer be your best friends but there's that curious affection towards schoolmates, especially if you've spent more than a decade in the same school, like I did.

And that is why St. Vincent's School blog fascinates me. No, I didn't go to this school. Mummy (what I call my aunt) went to this school and contributes to this blog. After close to four decades of losing touch, students of this school are back together reminiscing their days in school. Pretty awesome I must tell you. So awesome that I had to make a guest post on their blog and let them know how wonderful I think it is. Cool people too, some journalists, some photographers, some social activists, some novelists and published authors and what not. With such accomplished personae contributing to the blog, the posts are a wonderful read too.

I've been wanting to get back in touch with my schoolmates from a very long time. Met a few on Orkut, and then ever since Facebook started overshadowing Orkut, I've been meeting more and more friends from school. Honestly, schoolmates are the only reason I am still on Facebook. Them aside, I really see no point in a Facebook account. I hope to meet them some day. With everybody busy settling down in their lives, many seem to have little time for anything else. So I hope that once things settle down, in a few years, I'll be able to meet them.

It's nice to know what paths schoolmates have chosen, where they are, what they do, how they've turned out.  With my school churning out goody-goodies it's no surprise that a surprising number have chosen social work (cool huh?). Or maybe that's my batch because two days ago, a junior from school sent me a friend request and she listed her activity as "drug abuse". Shudder. I hope she is kidding.

What is your story? Are you in touch with your schoolmates?

Monday, 13 September 2010

It's the longest hangover, and it's called...

The Prutha hangover. It was my best week ever. More than a week after that awesome week I am still thinking and smiling about it. Never thought I'd have such a great time. Of course, at the back of my head I was also worried about the pain Girija amma was going through in the hospital and was hoping she would recover soon. I also felt a little bad for Chinni akka and Vinnu jiju; the family came home to enjoy and even before 24 hours of their arrival here the unfortunate incident happened - Girija amma fell down broke her hip.

Chinni akka, that night, lay silently on the bed, clearly disturbed about the incident when Prutha climbed on to the bed, sat next to her and says, "Mummy, main kuchh bolun?" "Haan, bol chinna", Chinni akka said. "Mummy, tu mujhe bahut achchi lagti hai"

What else does a mother need to hear than her five year old daughter telling her how much she loves her. I'm sure that at that moment all of Chinni akka's tensions and tribulations disappeared and that she had a good night's sleep. I wasn't home by then. Mahi told me about this. It touched my heart so much I had to write about it so one day when I get Alzheimer's disease, I can still read this and smile.
The Week That Was - (Prutha, Mahi), (Mahi, me, Prutha), (Chinni akka, Prutha), (nanna, me, Mahi, amma), (Mummy), (Mahi, mummy, Vinnu, Girija amma, amma, nanna), (daddy), (Chinni akka)

While Chinni akka and Vinnu went to the hospital every day to the hospital to give company to Girija amma while they waited for the operation day which was a week later I had the god-given gift of spending all day (and all night) with the little bundle of stories. Nothing entertains Prutha more that telling stories. Most kids want to listen to stories but this one likes creating and telling them. I'll tell you one about a boy who likes bananas,  that made all of us laugh our guts off.

Ek din ek ladka rehta tha. Usko bananas bahut pasand tha. Wo shop se bananas laakar ghar me rakhta tha. Uske ghar ke baahar na... ek tree tha. Wo na... bananas ko tree me chipkaata tha. Wo theek se chhipkaaya nahi to wo bananas gir rahe the.
Laughter all around.
"Tum has kyu rahe ho?"
"Kuchh nahi. Bolo bolo"
"Tum haso mat. Main jab hasne ko bolungi tab haso"
Suppressed giggles. Such a cute little thing she is. Thinks fruits fall down because we don't stick them on the tree properly.

Which reminds me of another story which she told us when she was about 3 years old.

Ek din ek jungle tha. Uss jungle me ek monkey rehta tha. Ek din jungle me ek cat aayi. Wo... darr gaya.
"Ho gaya story?"
"Itna chhota story hai?"
"Naiii chhota naiii"
"To bataao na story"

Ek din uss jungle me ek billi aayi. Wo... darr gaya.
"Uske baad?"

Uske baad ek cat aayi. Wo... darr gaya. Hogaya.
How much more cute can kids get?

Another night, when I was at home, and Chinni akka, Prutha and I were relaxing we asked Prutha, "Prutha, tu badi hoke kya banegi?"
She said, "Main badi hoke moti banoongi"

She was kidding of course. She's already in a career dilemma, "Main artist banoo ya doctor?"

For the rest of my life, the songs Waka Waka, Wavin Flag and I Like To Move It Move It, will remind me of her. And of course, APKGK's Tu Jaane Na that turned into an action song that Prutha and I kept singing over and over and over again.

It was also so nice and amusing to see a little girl making the men of the house (nanna and daddy) do silly things that they wouldn't normally do, in the games that Prutha invented. I say men, because the women (amma, mummy, Chinni akka, Mahi) have craziness as their birth trait. So seeing them do silly things isn't a big surprise.

Not a moment of seriousness when mummy was around. Joke after joke after joke, she kept us laughing continuously. Cracking jokes on oneself is a talent not many possess. Sometimes you wish you could be like her. If there's any other place I'd like to be after my own, it's Mumbai... with mummy, daddy, Anil bhaiya and Chinni akka.

And boy, did I know we are a family of not-just-music-enthusiasts, but real musicians. With daddy, the genius around you can be constantly amazed at everything he does with musical instruments. As if that's not enough, Vinnu jiju also plays awesome guitar. Never knew until he played it here at home. Reminded me of my good old hostel days when Crystal played the guitar and I sang along. Mummy and daddy are learning Hindustani music now. And not just that, they're even answering exams! At 50+ years of age, isn't that awesome? 

Wish there were more nights with Chinni akka, Mahi and I having long talks and raiding the kitchen for cupcakes and chocolate sauce at 2 a.m. Bad that she had to spend all day in the hospital every day for almost a week. But there really wasn't any choice. After all, she is the "dil" of her mil.

In all it was one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. Girija amma too recovered surprisingly quickly. She was discharged from the hospital only 5 days after the operation. When she was back home, she showed no sign of pain. You'd think we were lying about her fall after seeing her laughing and talking like nothing had happened. Must commend her strength and threshold of pain.

I really could go on and on but I must stop. I had initially planned a Day1, Day2... blogpost because so many things had happened that I never wanted to forget, but with Prutha around there was no way I wanted to waste time on a blogpost that I could spend playing with her. This is a very long post, I know, but this is a hangover I never want to recover from.

Not that I've had hangovers before. No no. But still.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Peepli [Blogged]

I don't really want to make this a blog that talks only about movies, but I couldn't help blogging about what I think of Peepli [Live].

Aamir Khan has done it yet again. Made a movie on a pressing current affair, but honestly Peepli Live didn't really work for me. Trying to squeeze entertainment out of something as grave as farmer suicides, according to me, isn't really the ideal way to make the impact that the movie intended to make. One could clearly tell that the moviemakers were trying hard to make a point without being too preachy, but I doubt if they were successful enough. You see, I'm saying this because of the reactions I saw during and after the movie.

In one of the very first scenes, when Naththa's wife shouts at him when he breaks the news of their house being auctioned, people in the theatre laughed. I did not understand why. There really wasn't anything to laugh at - either at the dialogues, or the acting , or the situation. I mean, the wife is clearly upset that they are soon going to be homeless and is venting the frustration on her husband. It really wasn't a scene one should enjoy and laugh at. People were not looking beyond the ostensible entertainment factor. The movie was entertaining only because the tactics that these journalists employ to increase their channel's TRP is, at best, laughable. What I sensed from the audience in the theatre was that people were only trying to get entertained, entirely missing the bigger point - poverty and its exploitation... for TRPs, votes and what not. Or maybe they do their thinking when they go back home, but I certainly couldn't laugh much thinking about how it would be to really be in such a situation. Of course, that doesn't mean I did not enjoy the movie. I enjoyed it, laughed too, but not as much as the other people in the theatre with me.

My favourite scene in the movie has nothing to do with the story of the movie. I loved the time-lapse depiction of the changing landscape from the village to the city; shows us the extreme contrast between a village and a city. Couldn't help being awed and sad at the same time. Awed at how much our cities have developed with buildings touching the clouds, sad that the villages are still drowned in extreme poverty; amazed at how some people boast about darjeeling tea while some people are literally digging their own graves. Couldn't help wondering what these labourers at construction sites must be feeling - building houses they can never imagine living in, building homes for rich people when they themselves are homeless.

Couldn't help feeling a little contemptuous towards journalists though. I don't want to feel such feelings against journalists. They do an amazing job of reporting from the most inaccessible of places, going through hell to reach there and do what they're doing, but I can't help wondering what kind of a job is a job where one only has to report heartbreaking incidents but do nothing about them. As a journalist in the movie puts it, "We're journalists and this is what we do."

That said, in other news, today I finish exactly one year and two days in Bangalore. While there are so many things to hate about Bangalore, there are so many things to love too - the best thing being the weather. It's just perfect. Bangalore is so much different from what I imagined it to be, from how I imagined a capital city to be. It's way below expectations, but I realise that only capital cities or places that are economically vibrant can be like this. So, I'm over the initial shock and am really beginning to like this place enough to call it my second home. The next best thing - movies! I have watched more movies in this one year in Bangalore than I've watched in all my life before I came here. Not just Hindi and English, but Telugu and Kannada as well (thanks to my awesome roommate). Third best thing - shopping! (though I haven't done much of it). In short, yay Bengaluru!

And ooh, before I forget, Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Despicable Movies

Ahoy! Just in to say if you haven't watched Despicable Me, please do. I've been waiting to watch this for about three weeks, thought it wouldn't release in India, but it did and it was soooo worth the wait. It's the cutest movie I've ever seen in recent times. No. Ever.

When I read in the newspaper about the movie being a comedy, I was doubtful. Kids' comedy, you know, isn't my favourite kind of comedy... As in, Tom and Jerry... they're cute but they don't make me laugh anymore. So when I went to watch the movie, I was thinking Tom and Jerry type of silly comedy. But when I saw in one of the first few scenes, Mr. Gru (the badman) going to a bank named, "Bank of Evil, formerly Lehman Brothers" I knew in an instant this wasn't Cat and Mouse. I must say it wasn't rip-roaring comedy; the movie has those moments where you unconsciously laugh. I didn't realise I was laughing until I... realised. The three little kids in the movie are so adorable, you want to just pick them up from the screen and take them home. The entire movie is just so cute. The story isn't much, it's highly predictable. But it's not for the story that you must watch, you must watch this movie only for its cuteness factor.

So that takes this year's animated movies count (from the industry biggies) to four - Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me. I still maintain that How To Train Your Dragon must win the Academy award this year. And Despicable Me should go into your movie collection. It definitely is going into mine. And when I say go into my movie collection, I must also say that I still don't own any of the Pixar movies or Dreamworks movies or Blue Sky movies (I own a DVD of Pixar Short Films though, but that doesn't count here). That's how much I liked Despicable Me. I'm telling you. Watch it.

Speaking of DVDs, I am now a proud proud owner of the entire series of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. Bought the rest of them today. Can't wait to watch them. Sir Humphrey Appleby is one of the greatest characters to have graced the television.

Also bought Bolt, only because Mittens calls Bolt, "Cujo".

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Mint Lounge: I May Not Be An Indian

Yesterday, this article ( by Mint Lounge editor, Priya Ramani, was probably the most read and most RTed article on Twitter (Well, it was the most RTed tweet on my timeline). I think it is a brilliant article. It takes a certain amount of courage to publish an opinionated article like that, knowing that she would face brickbats for it. And face brickbats she did.

To me, it seemed like a piece written one day in an outburst of emotion. The title and the tone of the article strongly suggest it. But then I think, the author got it all wrong. None of the things she wrote, mean that she is not Indian.

Being Indian does not mean you must like mangoes. Being Indian does not mean you've to read Chetan Bhagat or Paulo Coelho (I've read their bestsellers, and I'll run a mile away at the very sight of their books). What you wear or want to wear is your choice, being Indian has nothing to do with it. A few Bollywood actresses wear nothing at all. Does that make them any less Indian? I don't watch any Indian soap on air. In fact I hate them from the bottom of my heart. Does that make me non-Indian? Nor do I speak or even make eye contact with people in my compartment while travelling. So I'm not Indian?

No sense of pride when she's made to stand in attention in a movie theatre, but impatience that her popcorn's getting cold. Well, for the lack of another word, I'd say that that is an attitude problem, and still has nothing to do with being Indian. The first time I had to stand in attention for the national anthem in a movie theatre I did not feel pride, but I did feel a sense of renewed respect for the national anthem. After all, the Indian national anthem is known to be one of the most melodious anthems in the world, and that is something to be proud of really. Standing in attention for the national anthem is not about pride, but about respect.

Only girl child can save India? I think it's the mutual co-operation and respect between girls and boys, rather women and men that can save India. Girl child alone cannot. That, still, is her personal opinion. I don't see what it has to do with being Indian. The girl-boy disparity exists all over the world and not only in India.

We aren't the greatest people in the world. True, only a zealot would say otherwise. She never understood Indians' sense of (fake) pride, as she puts it, during the "Jai Ho" phase. Agree Jai Ho wasn't A. R. Rahman's best. I'd also like to say that Slumdog Millionaire isn't an Indian movie, but a movie about India made by a foreigner, and we need not feel proud that it won Oscars. But aren't we happy that A. R. Rahman, with that song, has catapulted Indian contemporary music (the kind I think the author likes since she doesn't like Lata's slow version of the national anthem) on to the world stage? Why shouldn't that make us happy, and proud?

We're always on steroids when it comes to festivals and weddings, she says. Diwali, she points out. Every country has its own traditions and way of celebrating festivals. If she were in another country, she'd probably rant about them too. Few days a year, people get to let go off all inhibition, be themselves and enjoy, and she says we're on steroids. Still, it isn't about not being Indian. The author probably needs to introspect her outlook towards life. Festivals and weddings are happy occasions meant for enjoyment.

Being Indian doesn't mean you've to believe in Ram Rajya. That's what the BJP believes in. I'm Indian and I don't believe in Ram Rajya. I strongly believe in secularism. That doesn't mean I'm not Indian.

Aren't there Indians that invite only about a 100 people to their daughters' weddings? How does the number of people invited to a wedding judge how much Indian one is?

The author has harped on the stereotype that outsiders have about Indians, and tried to fit herself in it. She didn't fit in. Doesn't mean she's not Indian.

In fact, I see it this way. I think she's sufficiently Indian because she came back to India after her master's. It's so much better than studying in India and taking all the knowledge abroad to serve another country. She's aware that India hasn't produced any serious scholars after independence. That bothers her. If she weren't Indian, would it? Dunking non-biodegradable idols into the ocean disturbs her. Doesn't that mean she's worried that we're polluting our own oceans? The very fact that she has pointed out where she thinks we might be wrong is proof enough that she's an Indian who wants change, however right or wrong her personal opinions are. I think all that the author of the article needs to do is look beyond her cynicism and look at the brighter side of things, accept certain customs and traditions. Some things (like Diwali) just won't change. You might as well enjoy them. You'll make memories.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Fly Little Wing

My favourite band is The Corrs. I was introduced to this band by a video on YouTube. It was a video of a little Korean (I think) girl singing Summer Sunshine so cutely while travelling by car. (Sadly, the video no longer exists) I instantly fell in love with the song and browsed the lyrics and got the song. A few months later, I was looking for some soft music on the internet when I came across a song sung by a woman. The music was the most melodious and harmonious I'd ever heard. It was freely available for download and I did. A few days later when I browsed the lyrics of the song, I found that this song was sung by The Corrs too. The song was "Runaway". The song I had downloaded wasn't the original but by some party singer. Slowly, I listened to all their their songs one after the other, each one just as good as the other. And now, three years later they're my favourite and THE BEST contemporary band I've known. I'd compare them to ABBA, all of whose songs I love.

It was only recently that I watched their interviews on YouTube. And boy was I impressed. Just like every favourite artiste of mine, they're so down-to-earth and humble. They speak of their success and fame as not really a big deal, as if it was a natural thing that happened to everybody every day. They said they made music because they loved it and that they were only fortunate that people loved their music and made them successful. They didn't make music with the aim of becoming huge pop stars one day, and that struck me. I love it when people do things just out of sheer love for it. Of course, people who make such wonderful music must be wonderful at heart as well which makes The Corrs even more endearing.

I recently went through my old files, files created over a year ago. They were mostly artwork, ringtones, recorded songs, attempts at stories and poems, postcards sent and received pictures of drawings in the corners of my class notebooks. I was surprised at all the things I'd done while in the hostel. I wouldn't do half of what I did then, now. And that's only because now, I feel pressured to create artwork to impress people, my teachers, my peers, my classmates. I want them to say it's good. And that has made me extremely conscious and over-critical of myself. That is turning out to be my biggest hindrance in completing animation assignments. It was so much better when I didn't have a deadline, didn't have expectations to cater to, did art because I loved it, when I did it for me, for the love of it, without having to care what somebody else thought of it. It's different now, and I despise it. I'm starting to doubt my ability to survive the animation industry when I have such difficulty in completing assignments. At the risk of sounding cliched, art is an expression of the soul. You can't keep me at gun point and make me do it.

Another reason for the apparent lack of interest in animation, is that I've found a new love interest. World history. And International Affairs. (Ha. What did you think?) I find myself desperately and frantically reading articles on history and international affairs (politics for now, but I want to read up on trade too) (Ironically, this was the part I hated the most during school.) All this reading and documentary watching on YouTube leaves little time for anything else. And by anything else, I mean lunch and dinner too. Yeah. It's that bad. And that's affecting my preparation for CAT too. I can no longer remember the 18s table.

So basically, after all this while, I still have no idea what I want to do in life. What is it that I'm really interested in, love doing, that would fetch me a decent salary? The MBA decision is only because there was no way I would spend the rest of my life coding and thinking about programming languages. I read that MBA is for people looking for a change of field. If there is another option, I'd be glad if you could let me know.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Trick or Treat: IPL

Boy, did I ever think the Chennai Super Kings would win this season of IPL. I was sure though that Mumbai Indians wouldn't win the tournament. They were at the top of the points table too long to win the tournament. Call it my clairvoyance, or Sod's law, or just plain common-sense. It was too clear that MI wouldn't win the title. And that means I win the bet with my sister and she now has to treat me (The poor little thing doesn't know that I cleverly manipulated the terms of the bet so the odds were on my side. *wink*)

For the first time, I watched so much cricket. I didn't really care about cricket or any other sport for that matter during season 1. But I do have one memory of season 1... singing Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo in the lift with my friends in college to the wrong tune, and my chagrined KKR-fan friends correcting me. Very much like the Kingfisher's Ooh La La La Le Oh ad.

Season 2 was when I was formally introduced to the format and that was when I learnt all about the game. I still wasn't exactly watching matches during season 2. I only watched the second innings of the final match in a room full of supporters of the Royal Challengers while I, all alone, supported the Deccan Chargers. The Deccan Chargers won, but I'd learnt my lesson. That I am an Indian and that means I must belong to a mob. Standing out of the crowd isn't so much fun.

Come IPL3, with a TV in my cute little rented haven which my mom totally despises, I decided to support RCB and watch a few matches (the reason not being the sport, but that I'd read somewhere that some BSchools were contemplating introducing "creative" topics such as cricket, hockey and football into Group Discussions. Yikes!). Anyway, I shook hands with the game, got to know the game better, made a few wonderful memories watching the game (such as the IPLGate, the Zoozoos, Dhoni's lost Maxx mobiles and the apple of everybody's eye, the MRF blimp!) and now I'm all set for IPL season 4 to support yet another team, and yet another set of ads.

That is, if the IPL is not scrapped. What started with Lalit K Modi's tweeting about the details of the Kochi team ownership has now snowballed into the biggest scam I've ever seen. Corporate honchos, Bollywood stars, politicians, the country's so-called "elite" all embroiled in the biggest controversy I've seen. I've always maintained that however entertaining the IPL matches are, it is a huge HUGE waste of economic resources. With more than half the country below poverty line, such extravagant display of wealth only heaps insult on the deprived. What's worse is that the owners of the teams call it a solely-business proposition, which is not wrong, but I'm disheartened to hear that they so blatantly ignore their responsibility towards society, the very reason they thrive and exist. Whatever happened to Corporate Social Responsibility. Why is it that when the IPL was played in South Africa last year, scholarships and gifts were given to children, teachers and schools there and when the game is played on home soil it becomes a solely business proposition devoid of social responsibility? Cricket and IPL's popularity could be leveraged to create awareness, to encourage people to improve their communities and solve issues.

The "breaking" news right now being Lalit Modi's suspension, I heard a reporter on some news channel saying, "After half a decade of friendship between BCCI president Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi, the BCCI president heaved a heavy blow on Mr. Modi" Uh. Hello. What the hell. What else is Shashank Manohar supposed to do? Grant amnesty because Modi is a friend? If he did that, he'd be accused of favouritism. He suspends Modi and such statements are made. If I were in Shashank Manohar's place and I had to suspend a close friend for nefarious activities, I'd do it. With a heavy heart. But do it, nonetheless. What Modi did was wrong and he must face consequences. A wrong is a wrong. Is a wrong.

Is a wrong.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Opposite of Pet Peeves

I understand that it's not very easy to convey emotions and intent
through the written medium for many of us. Trying to precisely convey
those emotions could make it wordy and not many of us are that patient
or good with words. We try and avoid using too many words and
consequently have evolved a multitude of ways to implicitly express
intent and emotion. After over a decade of emailing, over six years of
SMSing and a little under a year of Gtalking with friends, a few
things about informal written communication have made into my pet
peeve list.
#1 hi....................... or ok......................

What's with the million full stops? What are you trying to say with
'.........................'? I understand 'hiiiiiiiii' but what the
hell does 'hi..........................' mean? Three dots, optimal.
Four, maximum. More than that, sound of nails on chalkboard.
#2 i told ma motha tht i cud neva eva do dat

Aaaarrrgh! This really should be my #1 pet peeve. I could slap the
person if he/she were in front of me. Unfortunately, when this happens
the person is always miles away. Those who think writing 'ma' for
'my', 'motha' for mother, 'neva' for never, 'eva' for ' ever' and
suchlike is cool, please, it's disgusting. Makes me think very low of
you. None of the other pet peeves manage to do that. But this one
does. Thankfully, none of my friends do that. Except one. When that
friend messages, I call him back. Just to avoid seeing his messages
that neva fail to get ma dander up.
#3 K

That's the worst reply one could send me. Following closely, is 'Ok'
or any such one-word replies. I've grown accustomed to it though. Even
then, I find it impolite and impersonal. Makes me feel unimportant, as
if the person thinks I don't deserve the energy to type a whole
sentence, or at least, the whole word (in case of 'K'). I'd be happy
if the sentence was complete, as in, "Ok, I'll be there" or "Ok,
7o'clock it is" or even, "Ok, sure." or at the very least, "Ok :)"
#4 This is a sentence that so needs exclamation, don't you think!!!!!!

I confess to being a perpetrator of this heinous crime for a while,
but then one day epiphany happened and it became a pet peeve. I notice
people using exclamation marks when it really isn't necessary. Makes
me wonder what's so wondrous about what he/she is saying. That, still,
is forgivable. What irks me more is the use of multiple exclamation
marks!!!! What do two or more exclamation marks do that a single
exclamation mark doesn't? I'll forgive the use of two exclamation
marks occasionally for greater emphasis, when one wants to show that
one is enormously surprised, but otherwise I'd rather that people keep
exclamation marks to a minimum and if indispensable, don't use more
than one. Use that energy that you spend in typing that extra
exclamation mark for other productive activities. Like inserting space
after a full stop.
#5 "cool when did u go how is ur family good say hi to them" or
"cool.when did u is ur family.good?say hi to them"

Though not inserting space after a full stop in SMSes doesn't annoy me
much, not using full stops at all can annoy me if I'm in a sour mood
already. But miss a full stop in an email or miss the space after a
full stop, the sender, mostly a friend, is sure to see the smoke from
fireworks at my end.

Which brings me to the real topic of this post. The opposite of pet peeve.
Remember when a new friend (of the opposite sex) SMSes you for the
first time? "Hi Manasa, what you doing?" is the most common first SMS
I've received over the years. And there was never a time when I
genuinely wanted to reply to such an SMS. I reply, just to be polite
and not to be too snobbish. I have absolutely no interest in the
inane pointless conversation that is to follow after the 'what you
doing' question. Unless, of course, he/she says "Manasa, you are the
best" and I say, "I know... Tell me more :D"
Today, a friend, a new friend (who I never spoke to while in college,
and who I hardly spoke to during my brief stint at Infosys) who I
befriended, after several meetings at my best friend's home, a movie,
some PS3 games video-watching and a photo, sent me his first SMS. It
wasn't the dreaded "What you doing?" question. It was the perfect
conversation starter. It was different. I was impressed. This type of
conversation-starter SMS suddenly became the opposite-of-a-pet-peeve.
Opposite of pet peeve. Whatay long phrase. What's the word or a phrase
that means the opposite of pet peeve? After much brain-racking and
producing zilch, I went to Google for help and found out there really
wasn't a commonly used phrase for it. Though I did find some
interesting words people use to mean the opposite of pet peeve -
The little things (that make life worth it)
Cheap thrills
Warm fuzzy
Simple pleasures
Secret delight
Undomesticated peeves
Personal favourite
Feel-good moments
Soft spot
Pet likes
Guilty pleasure

I think 'secret delight' comes close to the opposite of a pet peeve, no?

Friday, 26 March 2010

CAT it out!

Me: Brain, if you manage to memorize the seventh power of three, I'll give you the square root of fifteen... for free!
Brain: Ha. You think I'll fall for that?
Me: *sigh*
Brain: *wink*

That's how my CAT prep's going. To the dogs. Maybe I need a CATnap.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Angel on earth

Who's the angel on earth?

Aww... Thanks! But no, it's not me. It's this little girl from Music Ka Maha Muqabla who was also a participant on Star Voice of India. Anwesha Dutta, like I already mentioned in one of my previous posts, before you truly madly deeply fell in love with my blog. Listen to her sing and I bet you'll experience heaven. Too bad her team didn't win MKMM. Then again, since the winners were Shankar Mahadevan's team I'm not complaining either.

Here... the angel from heaven with an earthly mortal, singing one of my favourite songs... Tere Mere Milan Ki Ye Rainaa..

This is isn't her best performance or anything, but it's beautifully sung. If you want to watch her best performance, listen to her rendition of Mere Dholna/Ami Je Tomar from Bhool Bhulaiya on Star Voice of India. It'll blow your mind away!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

It's only words. And damaged eyes.

Reading is supposed to expunge short-sightedness. Right? Ironically, you see, the more I read, the more myopic I become. The more I feel the need to get my eyes checked. All this while I prided myself on having a perfect 20/20 vision, and now... kisiki nazar lag gayi... literally.

All this short-sightedness is to be blamed on the extensive non-stop reading I've been doing over the past six months or so, with my E63 or the newspaper or the magazine at an eyelash's distance from my eyeballs. Now, totally intending to show-off, I must tell you, as background info, that I've been dabbling in a wide range of subjects, from art to literature to poetry to mythology to drama to music to philosophy to psychology to economics to politics to blah to blah to oh-how-i-love-to-show-off to blah to blah. These 'wide-range of subjects' have nothing to do with what I have to say. It has more to do with my reading articles, mostly editorials, from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes India along with our Indian counterparts such as The Hindu, The Times of India and The Economic Times. You don't believe? While I say all this is as true as Mayawati not using taxpayers' money for her statues? How dare.

Anyway, the point is this. My most striking observation of all this reading is a noticeable difference in the writing styles of Indian journalists and foreign journalists. As a newbie who has just forayed into the world of editorial-page reading, I find articles by foreign writers much easier to understand and comprehend than the ones written by Indian writers or journos. The difference lies in the sentence construction and the choice of words. Give me an article and I might just be able to tell you with a fair amount of accuracy if the article is by an Indian or a foreigner. Not trying to demean Indian journalism or anything (Mera Bharat Mahan!), but I must say, with a heavy heart, that Indian writing has a hint of pompousness and pretentious diction in it. I find most of the times, the sentences incoherent and need to be read twice to be comprehended. They're not speed-reading material. Unlike the foreign counterparts. Be it a Chinese journalist, a Korean journalist, an African journalist, a British journalist or an American journalist, I find the articles by these foreign journalists much easier to discern and analyse. This, only because of their simple sentence construction and choice of words that are in the realm of a literate person as opposed to a person with journalistic vocabulary. Indian journalists tend to use complex sentence constructions and heavy, unusual words way beyond the comprehension of an ordinary literate person. They use words like, "wedbedrip", "fysigunkus", and "xertzing". Yes. They do. No. Don't open the dictionary. These words don't exist. Unless you google them out. Of course, we do have great writers, but the numbers of these 'typical' Indian journalists far outnumber the good ones.

Now now, I'm not against vocab building. I love learning new words. If it weren't for Indian writing I'd never know that 'wedbedrip' meant 'a full day's reaping from a tenant's land that feudal lords demanded from tenants'. Or that 'fysigunkus' meant 'a person with absolutely no curiosity'. Or that 'xertzing' meant 'swallowing quickly and greedily'. But I do think newspapers must keep a check on the usage of such unusual words. At least, newspapers. No. Especially, newspapers. I find it frustrating when I have to open the dictionary more than twice per page/article. I lose the flow of thought and have to reread the sentence or the paragraph again to make something of it. It's ok to have difficult words, but an article shouldn't have too many of them. Articles by foreign reporters rarely, if ever, make me go to the dictionary. Their articles are lucidly written. Which is weird. Because I always thought it would be the other way round. And I think that's the reason why I know more about the other countries than I know about my own. Newspapers are supposed to cater to a huge demography to keep them informed and educated about what's happening around them. Not everybody has a journalistic vocabulary, and not everybody is an English major. Journalists need to concentrate more on reporting comprehensibly than on flaunting their vocabulary. Few Indian journalists seem to be doing that. Journos, when will you ever learn?

Then again, I've no plans to emigrate neither are our journos going to change and I, therefore, have no choice but to combat this issue by equipping myself with 'sesquipedalian' words. Ha. Since I'm also planning to enter the field of business administration, I also need to win the battle of learning to say things like, "We 'repurposed' the product to create 'synergies' and expand its 'parameters'. Please 'interface' with the relevant parties, 'dialogue' with the manager and try to 'incentivize' him and his staff" which in "real" English makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Can't wait!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Of Fourth Estate, climate change and the worst ad ever - part1

I didn't mean to be so quiet here for so long. In fact, one of my
lesser important new year resolutions was to update my blog at least
once every week. I wanted to make posts on the climate change fiasco,
the IPL-SRK-ShivSena thingie and a few other things as well. And then
one day, I saw on TV, a member of the public making exactly the same
comments on our neighbours being snubbed that I was to make here in a
blogpost on the same day that I wanted to update. It would make me
feel like I was plagiarising those thoughts and so I settled on doing
it at a later point in time, some day in an obscure area of a

I'd been to Hyderabad recently. Finally. Had a fun time. For the first
time, I liked biryani. And for the first time, I was surrounded all
around by men with moustaches. Scary.

People around me always compared Bangalore and Hyderabad, and I always
wondered why. Now that I've seen both places for myself, here is my
ruling - Bangalore scores high on pleasant weather while Hyderabad
scores high on landscape. Everything else is pretty much the same.
Only, Bangalore doesn't have as many men with moustaches as Bangalore.

My family received news of my paternal grandfather's demise while at
Hyderabad, so we had to make a trip to my native place, Sompeta for
the '12th day rites' after meeting my maternal grandmother in
Berhampur, Orissa. Her dynamism amazes me. Sompeta is just a few
kilometres from the AP-Orissa border, about 40kms from the famed
'Ichchapuram'. It's the first village you see after crossing the
border from Berhampur aka Brahmapur in Orissa. We went to Sompeta by
car. It was an amazing experience seeing rural India with the remix of
'dil to bachcha hai ji' playing on full volume in my ears. Awesome! It
was a Shah-Rukh-Khan-from-Swades type experience. So different from
the world I know and live in. It made me wonder if these women working
in fields were really happy with what they were doing, if they desired
something more and better, did they know there's another world out
there completely different from their own, did they know I was
watching them in awe and amazement wondering how it would be to be
living a life like that. How would it be if all of these people moved
to cities, or if this little village turned into a city? We depend so
much on them. If it weren't for these men and women working hard under
the scorching sun we wouldn't be eating all the vegetables we're
eating. We would be surviving on chocolates. Which still is awesome.

Sompeta is a village. It was only the second time I was visiting this
place. There were few known people when I reached and until cousins
arrived that evening my only source of entertainment was Dork - The
Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese. Sidin's book. The
beginning disappointed me. I was expecting so much Sidin. The only
thing that kept me going was it's uncanny resemblance to my own
journal writing style. The style, the voice, same to same! Alas, I
can't provide proof.

Back in the village, I met 98% of my relatives from dad's side. Two
weddings that were in the pipeline before grandfather's demise are
still in the pipeline. The death didn't change a thing. The most
scandalising moment I had there was when a girl told me that she was
'chosen' by the guy for marriage ONLY because she was 'slim'. All the
girls he had seen until then were 'fat' and he and his family wanted a
girl who was 'slimmer than he was'. I heard the whole story with my
mouth open. The guy 'warned' the girl not to grow fat. I couldn't
believe my ears. This could not be happening. Even in a village. Is
that how marriages in villages take place? Just then, an aunt appeared
with another relative who I wasn't acquainted with. She introduced me
to her and then went on to tell her about why my sister couldn't make
it. And then she said, "She is much prettier. She's active and
smarter. Too bad she couldn't make it". It was demoralising. If it
weren't for the conversation I had earlier about marrying for
thinness, I would have spent the rest of the day sulking. It wasn't
the first time somebody compared my sister's and my looks. And no
doubt, my sister is so much more prettier than I am, and much more
outdoorsy and fun than I am, but it still hurts every time someone
does that. It's very shallow of them to say things like that. I may
not have the looks, but I do have other good things about me that
people could appreciate. Anyway, what this relative did was undone by
mum's side relatives the next night when we visited mum's younger
sister's family in Vishakapatnam.

People who say Hyderabad's landscape was good clearly haven't seen
Vishakapatnam by night. The lights there are not man-made, they're
god-made. Like stars on earth. Taare Zameen Par. The road from the
railway station to BHPV is in its own right, an unplanned wonder of
the world. A sight to see. It was so beautiful. Heaven must be like
this. Back to the undo button, my mum's sister said Asin reminded her
of me. Ahem. I'm not that fond of Asin, but I truly deeply sincerly
appreciate the sentiment. And then swoops in my cousin. Deepu. He said
I reminded him of Priyanka Chopra. Can you believe that? Priyanka.
Chopra. Piggy Chops. Our very own, my favourite Piggy Chops. Yay! We
had to catch a plane to Chennai early next morning and had little time
for conversation. Deepu, Sandeep and I slept in a room and we talked
and talked and talked until we heard snores from the next room. I was
surprised how Deepu told me about all those things he wouldn't tell
his mum or dad. Being a good sister that I am, I counselled and guided
him a little. He seemed to get convinced. And I did all this in
Telugu. With negligible helpings of English. Am I awesome or what?

Air India sucks.

Robin Einstein Varghese kept me company on the train from Chennai to
Bangalore. I finished the book on the journey. The story in itself
wasn't so great. There is nothing 'incredible' or 'adventurous' about
the story, nor did I laugh like I've never laughed before, as the book
claims. It is a good book nonetheless, for light reading, when you've
got nothing better to do. I wouldn't buy the next two volumes if I
wasn't truly madly deeply in love with Sidin's writing. What? Who is
this Sidin Vadukut? If you don't know who Sidin Vadukut is, you might
as well go and live in Afghanistan. Or Kazakhstan. Here - Read it and laugh like you've never laughed before.

While alighting from the train, I saw a girl and a guy.
Girlfriend-Boyfriend. Public display of affection freaks me out.

With the new people I follow on twitter, most of them journalists, I
can't help but notice that they are always complaining. About the
decisions our politicos are making. It's true, our politicos don't
always make decisions that please all citizens, but I do think running
a country is not easy and it's impossible to please everybody. Would
all these incessantly complaining journalists do a better job if they
were at the helm of running a country? If the decisions bother them so
much, shouldn't they do something about it? Stop complaining, if you
don't want to do anything about it.

Now that I've started ranting about the Fourth Estate, let me also say
that Barkha Dutt, who I had so much respect for, lost some of it after
her interview with SRK recently regarding his comments on IPL
auction. I totally support SRK's views. Sports and politics should be
kept separate. What did the Pak players do to deserve this rejection?
It was highly humiliating for them. And for us. When I heard the news,
the first thing that my mind said was, "Oh no! This is not good" and I
immediately knew we would see a series of terror attacks soon. And we
did. We brought it on ourselves. I'm worried about the Commonwealth
Games and IPL3 that will take place here. We've angered our neighbours
so much it's would be foolishness to think we have enough security to
ward off a terror attack. Was saving some money more important than
our fragile relationship with our neighbour? You can earn that money
back, but will you able to earn trust from Pakistan after the snub?
There's nothing to gain by fighting and hating our

Of Fourth Estate, climate change and the worst ad ever - part2

our neighbours. Shiv Sena slammed SRK's views on this. So what's the
big deal? Why did the media make it an issue? Would the media do the
same thing if it happened to Rakhi Sawant? Day after day... the media
just didn't get enough. As if there weren't more important things
happening around the globe. Barkha Dutt, you too? :(

So climate change isn't happening. Does that mean you can continue
polluting the environment? Is there something called 'too early to go
green'? Countries need not make carbon cuts as high as 40% or even
25%. Now that climate change isn't happening, we could start with 15%.
It's never too early to mend.

1411 tigers left. I get that. Now what? How is blogging about it going
to help the tigers? What a stupid useless campaign. Apprehend the
people who are involved in killing the tigers. What's the public
supposed to do? There are issues bigger than saving tigers. The 'Save
Fuel' campaign makes more sense to me. Their ads are very good and
effective. They hit you where it hurts the most. The pocket.

Bikini-clad woman and J K Cement. Worst ad ever. What were they
thinking? The ad guys who made it (and approved it) must be total

The opposition walked out of the Lok Sabha when the Finance Minister,
P Chidambaram announced a hike in petrol and diesel prices in the
Budget session today. Is resorting to such substandard tactics the
only way to show resentment and disagreement? Sigh. Anyway, I thought
hiking prices wasn't such a bad idea. I don't know if climate change
and environment pollution was on PC's mind when he decided to hike
prices, but it is a good move if that was what made him do it. People
will now judiciously use fuel and contribute towards a greener

Is there a movie on Nelson Mandela?

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Climb

Miley Cyrus writes the nicest songs. After her Ready, Set, Don't Go in 2007, The Climb is the next song that I can relate to word-to-word. My friends listen to me talk about how I enjoy all the free time I have, the movies I watch, the shopping I do, the people I meet, the things I do. Most of them envy me. If my friends knew my priorities right, they'd know that the things I tell them are only one side of the coin. The other side is a struggle, a battle that I lose every once a while. A battle with myself to remain focussed, determined and motivated. And to believe that this is the road that leads me to that little dream I'm dreaming. Living alone in a big city with no one to tell me what to do and what not to do, having total control of my life, with parents relinquishing all control of me, it's hard to remain focussed. And with my parents putting in all their trust and belief in the decisions I've taken, there are times when I doubt myself and feel totally lost and confused. This is where the song comes, and inspires me to go on. It's not about what's waiting on the other side, but the climb.

Here are the lyrics of that song that inspires me so much.

The Climb, by Miley Cyrus.

I can almost see it
That dream I'm dreaming, but
There's a voice inside my head saying
You'll never reach it
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I, I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

These struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No, I'm not breaking
I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, Yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on

Coz... There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

P.S. I'll put up the song on a flash player for you to listen to sometime soon. When I have access to a PC. For now, enjoy the lyrics.