Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Paa is Pathetic

Heard all the hype about Paa, and had the misfortune to watch it. Several reasons why I found it nauseating:

1. The beginning is slow and boring
2. There is an India TV/Times Now/Aaj Tak style expose on DD. Yes DD!
3. There is a massive tirade against the media, where the the protagonist actually says "CURB FREE SPEECH", "POLITICIANS INNOCENT: MALIGNED BY MEDIA", "IN POLITBURO PLEASE TRUST"
4. Then there is an "ultra cool" Principal. Please give me Boman Irani in Mein Hoon Na any day. At least he is hamming on purpose.
5. Kids actually listen to and cheer speeches
6. An hour and a quarter later Auro isn't dead, (he was so close!) and you desperately want him to conk off.
7. Cheesy dialogues.
8. The concept was lifted from Jack, a much better movie, and comparisons (deliberately) made with Benjamin Button. Oh we don't copy (recent) films.
9. Left one hour twenty two minutes after it started.

I know why people recommend this film: I went through the torture of watching it, so should everyone else. I, however am a humanitarian, and cannot see suffering, so I'll tell you the truth: It is BAD BAD BAD.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

३री कक्शा की kavitaa मेरे मन की बातों को इतनी अच्छी तरहां से कह रही है.

सूरज तपता, धरती जलती,
गरम हवा जोरों से चलती,
तन से बहुत पसीना बहता,
हाथ सभी के पंखा रहता.

आ रे बादल, काले बादल,
गर्मी दूर भगा रे बादल,
रिम झिम बूंदे बरसा बादल,
झाम झाम पानी बरसा बादल।

लगता नही की वर्षा की कोई आशंका है। INSAT photos are tres depressing:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Great Indian Middle Class

To be a part of the Great Indian Middle Class is akin to being trapped in an air-tight container. It is suffocating, irritating, and there is no way anything interesting can leak in. In this suburban “comfort”, one is expected to stay, and one’s “progress” along a standard middle-class curve is plotted. Deviation is naturally frowned upon, and one’s success is evaluated on the basis of this ideal graph, which in effect is this:

Over 90% in school (preferably a topper) – taking science in 12th, and 90% again – Entering a professional college (Medicine or Engineering) – MBA if an engineer – a job in a bank – counting your pay of at least 1 lakh rupees a month.

Obviously everyone cannot achieve such wonderful results, hence the above remains an ideal guideline, meant for every middle class child to strive for - natural interests and aptitude be damned! This is what my neighbor’s kid/colleague’s kid/insert any acquaintance’s kid is doing, and hence my child must do the same.

“Hobby classes” rarely reflect the student’s interest, they reflect what the student’s parents think will boost the poor kid’s CV. Anyone with an ounce of imagination or interest in deviating from these strict guidelines is ridiculed, perhaps even pitied for being stupid and/or short sighted.

I have thus come to the conclusion that the Great Indian Middle Class is composed, for most part of philistines. Exceptionally practical people, but with no will to explore, no desire to experience, too scared to venture out and try the unknown, afraid of failing, of becoming a laughing stock, of dying poor. But what is worse, is that their children are also trained to be the same, another generation of cowards, of sissies wanting to stay at home with safe jobs and decent pay packets and being compared to their neighbors. They will never take risks and will learn nothing of life. They will die naïve.

Where is the fun in that?

"तूफानों की ओर घुमा दो नाविक निज पतवार"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paradise Lost

I was watching bits of Kashmir ki Kali today. The beauty of the Srinagar valley even on an ancient fourteen inch Onida TV was breathtaking. Its such a pity that the place has been over run by terrorists. Taarif karoon kya uski jisne tujhe banaya?

Can't people just live and let live?


"How many times must cannon balls fly,
Before they're for ever banned?"

Ans: Till we all are dead.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can schizophrenia be self-induced?

As I was walking back from the station today, I found myself mumbling to myself. This started a train of thought. I wondered if I could separate two distinct “R2B2” personalities, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde, and make them both converse with each other. This thought came suddenly, and I felt that I could do so, especially since my personal philosophy (like I assume most other peoples’) is complex, and aspects of it keep evolving. By this I mean that I can have two differing points of view on a certain matter, each becoming my primary point of view with changing moods and situations. As different fronts of my personality can be controlled by my mood, if I separate my thoughts that depend on my mood, would it be possible to come up with a separate person? Actually, this isn’t exactly what I was thinking, but to explain it is difficult and this is the closest I can get to right now.

Getting back to the point, I tried to separate two bits of my personality: first, what I call my ambitious driven side, and the second, laid-back, lazy, philosophical side. I then simulated a conversation between the two, which was going very well until the point I found myself getting some vague feedbacks about myself. A sort of self-discovery. At this point I got a little unnerved, especially since I found that it was possible for me to separate two aspects of my personality, which started diverging as the “conversation” went on. I thank God (or whatever powers may exist) that there was a third “rational observer” personality too1. I decided to stop at that point because I got scared. I seriously thought that I could go mad. I did not want to delve into something about which I barely knew anything. How our minds work, how thoughts evolve may be the greatest enigmas today, and though I would love to know how they work, I am not willing to subject myself to another fright like that. But it did make me wonder: could schizophrenia be self-induced?

1I’m pretty sure that I could have done away with the “rational observer” which would have probably revealed better results, but I did not want to do away with my safety net.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I have always found it uncomfortable reading Rudyard Kipling. I admit I am biasied. He was the classic colonial sahib, disdainful towards the colonized junta, and smug about the supposed superiority of his own race.

While reading his works, Kipling’s personal attitude often prevents me from enjoying them. There is always a feeling at the back of my head that he is disdainfully sneering at people like me for not being European. So however good the story, the feeling that, “I wish you were here so that I could slap you” remains. That is the reason I did not really enjoy the Jungle Book. I really like Kipling’s poetry, it contains humor, is simple and rather likable. “Akbar’s Bridge” is a brilliant example, “If” one of the most inspiring poems I’ve ever read is one of them. But the poem never overshadows the poet (though “If” comes very, very close), and one can never forget that it is Kipling who wrote it.

Kim, on the other hand is one book that mesmerized me. While I read it, It enveloped me , I was immersed in the rich tapestry of 19th Century India. All the characters were vividly drawn. I could feel them, see them and felt that if only I had tried I could actually speak with them. From the academic, naïve and tender-hearted Buddhist Lama in search of a legendary river, the quick Afghan who supposedly dealt in horses, the Antique Dealer of Simla to Kim himself – each character had an identity. The story was fast paced and took me through a wonderfully adventurous journey across Northern British India, and at the same time it was effortlessly seeped with culture, not forced but unobtrusively in the background, forming in part the essence of the novel.

At no point while reading Kim, did I feel Kipling’s presence. It was as if I was witnessing the story as it unfolded.

A story like Kim loses nothing even when re-read. And I know why. It is as because all the characters, all the places in the book have souls of their own. I love this book, I adore this story and I don’t care if Kipling wrote it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is Mulayam mulayam in the head?

There are very few people in this world who love to hate computers. Mulayam Singh Yadav is one of them.

While most political parties promise progress (even though they have no intention of keeping them), the Samajwadi Party has taken it upon itself to promise banning the use of computers (along with teaching English in schools) where ever possible. The foolishness of this idea (in terms of loss to the nation) as well as the brilliance of it as far as Mulayam's vote bank politics is concerned is obvious, and hardly needs delving into in this blog.

I appreciate the non-hypocrisy of the SP as far as their outlook in bettering the lives of their fellow man is concerned. They are open about the fact that they do not want independent thinking rational beings in their constituencies, but pet dogs: subjects dependent on the goodwill of the government in terms of manufactured jobs, reservations and doles.

The scary thing however is that Yadav has "served" as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh three times and once as the Union Defense Minister which naturally means that he has won elections several times, and may be re-elected once again. What is worse, he may actually keep his promises this time.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I was thrilled to read about "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" in day before yesterday's Times of India. It has been a long time since I have had anything entertaining to read, and P&P&Z seems to be the perfect way of breaking my fast.

P&P has always been one of my favorite books, and seeing it adapted with zombie-slaying protagonists is promising. While some purists may puke, as 85% of the text remains the same, the results are sure to be hilarious.

Now, if only I could find a bookstore in Mumbai stocking the book...