Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Avatar-a visual epic

The year 2154. The lush green planet Pandora is rich with an expensive mineral. Humans want to mine the land but is inhabited by the natives known as the Na'vi. They need to find a diplomatic solution. A former marine is introduced to the 'Avatar' program. Avatar is grown from a human DNA mixed with that of the natives. The program allows him to be remotely linked to the body. He has to learn their ways and have to persuade the natives to relocate. Will he be able to do it? Well find out :-)

This is one of the best cinematic experiences I have ever had. Writer/Director James Cameron is back after 12 years and he has lived up to the hype the 'Avatar' has created. He mesmerises the audiences by delivering a visual master piece. The Na'vi characters are so realistic, brought to life by actors wearing sensors while motion capture techniques turn them into those blue-skinned humanoids. They are so convincing and life like, there is no dull moment in the film. The special effects are not mundane but is needed in the narrative. The movie is so vibrant and alive that you do not feel like you are watching a CGI movie. The film immerses you into the world of Pandora and by the time the movie is over, you love it as much as the Na'vis do.

As for the story line, it is very predictable but not any less interesting. We cannot miss the obvious references to US's unlawful invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan and their insensitive treatment to indigenous races. Also the impacts of destroying nature cannot be ignored.

The 3D effect enhances the total experience. I would recommend to see it on 3D only. It is a necessity.

The biggest movie spectacle of the decade with a subtle message.
Rating: ****1/2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paa touches your heart

Auro, the protagonist is a normal 13 year old boy except for the fact is he suffers from a rare genetic disorder, progeria, that accelerates the ageing process. He has a body of a 65 year old.

The central character Auro played by Amitabh is exemplary. He has turned his Auro avatar into one of the most lovable characters of all time. Not once do you see the grandeur of Amithabh Bachchan, the charisma. Auro does the talking and captivates your heart and mind. He makes you fall in love with Auro. His relationship with his grandma is a point to cherish. The scenes of Auro & his friends are beautifully scripted. The dialogues are witty and Auro’s one liners makes you smile. Despite the emotional tags the screenplay is not maudlin at all. While Abhishek & Vidya has done well it is worth mentioning Arundhati Nag’s portrayal of Auro’s grandmum – good performance.

The film was something beyond expectations and turned out to be a different experience. I’m just overwhelmed by this piece of work that's brought to the audience.

The music & background score by Ilaiyaraja is commendable, gels with the heart of the movie. The camera work by PC Sreeram is magnificently done.

Full marks to R Balakrishnan for his work.

Rating: ****

Monday, December 07, 2009

Pencil Art

My first art work dates back to my school days. I had a sketch pad where I used to draw cartoon characters and color them with my water colours. I had 2 such books if I remember correctly. But once I moved into college this talent was forgotten. I've never attempted to sketch for reasons I don't know. It just didn't happen.

It took nearly 19 years for me to realize that I've been doing injustice to myself by not exhibiting my hidden talent. If it hadn't been for my sister, I do not think I would have repossessed my long lost ability to make pencil art all over again. I personally believe that for all things there is a time. The time is now.

Here are few of my sketches. I will keep adding them as and when I make new ones.



Broken head.....

Will Smith

A girl with a fany hairstyle

Angelina Jolie

Johnny Depp

Self Potrait

Michael Jackson

Amitabh Bachan


Patrick (colleague)

Wine glass

Vintage Wine


A Lady

Dew drop

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fatwa against Vande Mataram - Unwanted

Vande Mataram our National song was officially declared on January 24, 1950 by Dr Rajendra Prasad who was the first President of India. The song was consumed in controversies that dates back to 1937. The Muslims opposed the song on the grounds that it depicted idol worship. The later stanzas has references to the Hindu goddess Durga and they felt it was anti-Islam. The Indian National Congress considering their religious sentiments decided to adopt only the first 2 stanza of the original song as the national song.

More than 50 years have passed and today there is a new controversy. A top Muslim body issued a fatwa against singing the national song 'Vande Mataram' since it is anti-Islamic on Nov 3, thus endorsing the fatwa issued by Darul Uloom in 2006. The edict would stand and not be withdrawn. The Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom however said "Fatwa is not an order but a guiding principle. People may abide it or ignore it." News spread like wild fire and there were responses from all quarters. There are other prominent Muslim groups denying this fatwa and declaring that there isn't anything un-Islamic about our national song.

There was a twist in the tale too, the BJP swiftly claimed that the home minister Mr P Chidambaram was present when the fatwa was declared thus legitimising the same and thrust Congress for an answer. The home minister later clarified that he wasn't present when the resolution was passed.

It is nearly 60 years, Vande Mataram was declared the national song. Why reopen a new argument? The religious stanzas were removed before it became our national song. The controversy ended there. This new resistance is pointless and seemed to be aimed at creating political differences without any reason. Nobody is forcing anybody to sing the national song. If someone does not want to sing it, so be it. But why create provocative resolutions at a national stage? It is simply uncalled for whichever way you look at it.

India has enough problems to handle. These are only creating new and unwanted ones. Vande Mataram is the national song of our country. It is every Indians duty to respect it. No person could force anyone to sing or force anyone to stop reciting Vande Mataram.

Vande Mataram should be sung voluntarily.

Monday, October 12, 2009

2012: Is it really true?

A program “Doomsday 2012: The End of days” was featured on History channel back in 2007-2008. This caught my attention only recently when I heard about the new movie 2012 that’s scheduled to release next month worldwide. The movie supposedly showcases global apocalyptic events and has survivors struggling for their lives. It is yet to see if it would make any impression at the box office given the fact that there have been numerous disaster movies like Independence Day & The Day After Tomorrow from the same director Roland Emmerich.

Here is the trailer

Is there any truth about this prediction? If there is, we do not have any time left on this planet :-). Personally I do not believe it. There have been prophecies in the past that suggested end of the world much earlier to our present times and nothing of that sort ever happened. I trust this is just another one in the making.

In the book “2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl” by Daniel Pinchbeck, the Mayans appear to have predicted the end of the world to be on December 21, 2012. However there is no clear understanding of the exact prophecy. It would depend on the people alive during the time to determine the outcome. He thinks the year 2012 would give rise to a massive paradigm shift of global culture and in human consciousness.

There are already evident changes happening around us and to the planet. Global warming, directly or indirectly associated with our accelerated development of technology has given rise to so many natural calamities around the world. The world has come to realize this and is taking measures to minimise greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Are these measures labelled as the massive shift or is it the actual destruction of mankind? I think the former.

There are a surprising number of prophets - from the ancient oracles to an internet software “bots” who has predicted the doomsday to be on December 21, 2012. It is impossible for any humans to predict the future and these are only the interpretation of people who have read the ancient scriptures. There are no evidences about the 2012 prediction but only that the end of what is known as the long count of the Mayan calendar. I read an interesting article in the Telegraph last month that examines the fact and the fiction behind the most popular doomsday scenarios.

If I'm still alive and the world does not get annihilated on this date, I will write another blog about the drastic misinterpretation of such prophecies....hmmm if at all such exists :-)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Air India – India’s shame or...?

Air India has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The latest being a mid-air brawl between the pilot and the airhostess. She was reportedly molested and the pilot has been suspended. This comes after a week the AI pilots called off their stir. There was a rare incident recently where a rat delayed a London bound flight. The passengers were deplaned and had to wait in the airport for over 8 hours to get an alternative arrangement done by Air India. There have been numerous outrageous comments by people about the pathetic services it provides to its patrons which I won’t be talking about over here.

Why did Air India stumble into a black hole? News reveals that a series of bad decisions taken over the past few years have cost the airline dearly. Air India & Indian Airlines were formally merged on Aug 24, 2007. In 2 years time the losses sky rocketed to Rs 7200 crore. The carriers around the world have lost money for various reasons like rising oil prices to a slowing world economy. But Air India’s story is different from them because in addition to these reasons, large extents of it are manmade.

Our Civil Aviation minister Mr Praful Patel was the brain behind this merger without sufficient knowledge of the ground reality. The prediction was the merge would lead to cost savings, rationalisation and increased market shares for the airlines. Unfortunately nothing of that sort happened and the airline only plunged deeper into a black hole.

A total mismanagement has caused Air India to be in a state that it is currently in. There were no proper route study, marketing or pricing strategy. There are instances where AI had dry leased aircrafts and operated in a sector with less that 40% load incurring losses and by the time that specific route was developed and started getting full load, the route was shut down because the lease had expired. Would this happen to any other airline? The industry average for a first officer to become a commander is four years. In AI, pilots spend close to 10-11 years as first officers. The inadequate planning for command training from 2003 onwards meant hiring over 160 expatriate pilots and paying them double the salary paid to their Indian counterparts. This again added to the losses.

There has not been any wage scale increase for pilots since 1998. This obviously is against the norms and the management had to do something about it. They brought in a new scheme called Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) for pilots. A different way of giving more money without changing the wage scales. Now the incentive (PLI) tops at 50-60% of their total wages which inadvertently became their wages rather than incentives. Our new AI boss Mr Arvind Jadhav, like any other chairman had to do something about the losses. He decided to cut the PLI, which means their wages. How can they work? They went on strike.

Air India has ceased to be customer friendly. They are too busy listening to the unions and politicians who have actually over the years run it into the ground. In any business at loss, the first thing to do is to cut cost wherever possible. But instead, the minister announced that no staff will lose their job. It is not wrong to fire people. It is very simple, if you can protect more jobs by cutting down lesser ones purely on grounds of what’s good for the airline, that step should be taken however drastic it maybe. This should also apply to the executive directors.

Job cuts renew an organisation. Fresh minds and new recruits can refresh a firm. If this process does not take place organisations become incompetent and finally die. The leaders need to relook at its assets and operating costs. AI has to become more customer oriented, make them feel special. There should be a leader who is ready to take tough decisions and choices rather than succumb to the staff unrealistic demands and accelerate to self destruction. If these are done AI will be salvaged from its misery, for the threats lie within not anywhere else Or should it be privatised as many other foreign airlines have done so Or should it be allowed to lose its market shares and slowly fade away like many inefficient public sector organisations like HMT?

Source: Various news websites

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Onam with a difference....

Onam beckons, the biggest festival of the state of Kerala. A time to rejoice, make merry with family and friends, buy new clothes, decorate the front of the houses with beautiful floral carpets made out of blossoms of different colours known as the 'pookkalam' and the most important part of the celebration, the 9 course (if I may call it :-)) luxurious lunch known as the 'sadya' on Thiruvonam day.

Onam is a 10 day long event starting from Atham (day 1) through till the grand finale on Thiruvonam (day 10). Malayalees all over the world celebrate with grandeur and festivity. The cities of Kerala witnesses spectacular parades of adorned elephants, fireworks displays and various arts and cultural programs. One of the main attractions of Onam is 'vallamkali' (grand snake boat race). Onam is a festival for all, when people from every class come together and celebrate the moment.

I am nostalgic. My memory takes me back to exactly a year earlier this day when all of my family members around the world met at our native home town. An unforgettable Onam of 2008.

This Onam is different. We are thousands of miles away for the very first time and remembering our folks at home during this Onam. It is going to be a very reserved one this time around but a happy one. An off day for me and the boys, a sumptuous lunch and a day with my family.

Onam with a difference....

Wish you all a very Happy Onam!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"No security checks please, I’m a bollywood star"

Many of you must have read this across the Indian papers and Indian news websites about SRK’s unfortunate ordeal at the Newark airport in the US. I am still not sure whether to call it unfortunate or fortunate. The kind of media attention this is receiving is because of the star himself which is understandable but for the wrong reasons. The UPA government is over reacting to the incident and leaders like Shashi Tharoor terming it as an offensive move by the US is quite ridiculous. There are yet others who would like to have a ‘tit-for-tat’ security checks done on foreigners arriving from the US. Our VIP’s just cannot come out of the comfort cocoon they enjoy the most. Is this the way how a government should react? There are numerous rules and regulations that are bent to suit the Indian VIP’s. It is no wonder our security systems are mocked the world over. Indian VIP’s are not VIP’s all over the world. They are just another person like you and I. I could write another blog on how Indians want to know every damn thing about US/UK and how ignorant they are about us. That’s the reality.

The US security system just did their job as they would do to any traveller. Now that traveller was SRK, so what? The only reason this has got so much of attention is because it happened to SRK. I don’t remember our government reacting this strong when many Indians were humiliated post 9/11. This is also raised as a case of racial profiling by the US. Have we looked at our own back yard? Muslims find it very difficult to find a house in Delhi or Mumbai. The owner has all the right to do a background check of his tenants rather than govern by prejudice. When this is evident within our country we are cribbing about racial profiling by the US.

SRK has the right to feel hurt about his experience. It would be the same for any of us, had we gone through his kind of plight. But SRK should know that they haven't seen his movies and that he is not famous in the US as he is in (at least the personnel's who frisked and interrogated him). America or any other country can only increase security measures to deal with the current situation the world is in. His wish to frisk Angelina Jolie & Megan Fox when they are visiting India is ludicrous.

The security systems should be applicable to one and all be it a politician, a star, from a certain section of a community or just another commoner. The rules should not be subverted for any section of our community be it a VIP. We Indians have to learn to obey rules and regulations even if his or her status symbol is high up the ladder of popularity. There are so many other important things our government should address rather than have this one blown out of proportion. Let us not over react to something that is very evident within our own country.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Pop Legend who will live forever

My introduction to pop music started with his ‘Thriller’ album. It was an instant hit. I remember my dad getting the VHS cassette of the ‘Making of the Thriller’. My brother and I must’ve seen it a 100 times. He is truly the King of pop. The songs are still fresh in my mind and takes me back to those days even now, when I listen to them. Michael Jackson is the best entertainer the world has ever produced.

The news about his death came as a shock to me. I don’t know why I did it but I downloaded all his hit albums and have been listening to them all over again. Wow…they are still so good to listen to.

There won’t be another Michael Jackson ever, at least in my life time.

Michael Jackson WAS, IS and WILL BE a star in everyones hearts forever. Thank you Michael. May your soul RIP.

As a tribute to Michael Joseph Jackson I did a pencil sketch of him.

Here is a 2 part video of Michael Jackson winning the Grammy Legend award in 1993.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The tag of Four!

The last time I was tagged was way back in January 2006 by Silverine. This time around its from Mathews. Thanks a lot. So here goes....

Four places you have lived

1. Dubai: The place I'll never forget in my life. I spent all of my childhood here. If given a chance to go back, I would still consider it. It has changed a lot through the years. I'm fortunate that my family links are still around over there. My options are open. :-)

2. Chennai: The most memorable times of my life was spent here. This was during my +2 education. It is here I learnt to be on my own and had the time of my life with my friends in the hostel.

3. Thodupuzha/Trivandrum: Rule of thumb says that I'm from Trivandrum since my mom is from there, but my parents are settled in Thodupuzha. My parents made it a point to visit Kerala once a year. The big family get together with grand parents and cousins are still very clear in my mind.

4. Bangalore: I was first in my family to migrate to the IT capital of India. My graduation and then followed by my corporate life began here. What stronger bond with this city do I need than to have my better half born and brought up from here. We've been settled here for a decade now.

Four TV shows you love(d) to watch

1. Allo Allo: Well...I'm not a TV watcher now-a-days and only see few episodes of the hit sitcoms here and there. The list of fours will therefore be from the 70's & 80's. This one is a British comedy set during World War II.

2. Fawlty Towers: This is again a famous British sitcom. The series focuses on a hotel manager who tries to take all effort in popularising his hotel and ends up in not doing so due to his mistakes and those of others.

3. Columbo: One of the best crime fiction TV series I've ever watched. The central character Lt. Columbo is a cool & polite detective whose mannerisms does not comply to a normal cop but in reality is a brilliant detective who solves crimes in the end.

4. Alfred Hitchcock presents (1985): This 30 min episodes was hit during the time. He was the master of mysteries.

Four places you have been on vacation

1. Singapore: It was an official trip for 3 days but I extended it for a week for a personal tour around the city. Amazing place and wish to go there again. I've written a travelogue about it too.

2. Paris: I was in Grenoble once. A city that overlooks the French Alps. After my 3 day stay at Grenoble, took a train to Paris. A very beautiful journey through the French country side. Paris, hmmm I'll save it for next time :-)

3. Stuttgart: I was on an official trip to Beoblingen. I took the opportunity to go here and also visit the wooded mountain range that they call the Black Forest.

4. Munnar: It is just about 80km from my home town Thodupuzha. The place is a lovely spot to spend a quiet honeymoon.

Four of your favourite food

1. Karimeen pollichathu: This should be one among the favourites of many malayalees. I don't think any fish in the world can beat the taste of a good Kerala style karimeen pollichathu. Slurp slurp....

2. Prawn Biryani: It is one of the very recent dishes that's crept into my long list of favourites. Truly mouth watering stuff this.

3. Chicken tikka masala: The taste that will last forever. My introduction to it was in at restaurant in Dubai. Never ever have I tasted it anywhere else until it was tried at home. It is the closest to the original (I had).

4. Kappa-meen curry: This is THE combination. Ohhhh don't have words to write about it.

I want to list more :-(

Four places you would rather be

1. Agra: I am yet to witness the grandeur of the Taj.

2. USA: The dream I have to fulfill before I bid adieu.

3. Europe: There are many more places I'd like to visit like Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and many more. Wish I could cover some of it if not all.

4. Africa: I would like to go on a adventure ride in the Serengeti National park. I've always loved wildlife and grew up watching numerous documentaries.

Four things you hope to do before you die

1. Own a Mercedes Benz: I am fascinated by cars. The Benz has an edge over other cars. I just wish I can have one before I hit the bucket.

2. Visit four places listed above: I share this too with Mathew.

3. Build a home: Share this with Mathew. Home, one of the basic need of a human be it your own or otherwise. I would like to have a home of my liking. Wonder if it would be possible with the prices running high every other day. ;-).

4. City of lights: I want to have the Las Vegas experience with my better half.

Four novels you wish you were reading for the first time

1. The Count of Monte Cristo: One of Alexander Dumas's classics. The best vengeance story of all time.

2. Lord of the rings: As a child I loved fantasy movies and this one stands apart from all else. The biggest book I've ever read. The movie is also one of my favourites.

3. The Day After Tomorrow: You will know the meaning of the word unputdownable. A thriller by Allan Folsom.

4. The day of the jackal: Frederick Forsyth's superb spy thriller.

Four movies you can see over and over

1. The Godfather: The name says it all.

2. Kireedam: Mohan lal's performance of a lifetime. Wonder where that Lal has gone now-a-days.

3. Nayakan: Kamal Haasan does not need any introduction. His portrayal in this movie is worth 10 Oscars.

4. Schindler's list: I have read and seen a lot about the Jews genocides during World war II. Spielberg has captured the miserable plight of the Jews and their saviour very well in this movie.

There are many many more movies I can see over and over again.

So here is my tag of Four

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Google Vs Bing

Google, a buzz word among any computer savvy person in the world. There wouldn't be anyone who doesn't use the google search engine at least once a day. It has indeed revolutionised the way we can search for information in the world wide web. Google was launched back in September 1998 and ever since there has been no looking back for the company. It has become a house hold name for searching anything and everything. Google has been my homepage ever since it became famous. I, personally search something on it at least 10 times a day if not more. Google is really synonymous to web search in the technological globe.

For a product or software that's leading in the world market, a competitor is required. If not there is no scope for improvement. This is something I believe and many would share the same view point. It has been more than a decade and there has not been anything that could match Googles perfection or Googles search results. Well, I guess we have a challenger now. Microsoft has launched its new search engine BING (beta) on June 2, 2009. Their tag line 'New Decision Engine'. You can read more about the launch over here. The intentions are very clear and have already sent shock waves across Google. You can read this for more information.

I spent a few hours searching using both the tools to compare and see if there are really any differences between the two. The web results displays pretty much the same results in Google and Bing. I did find some differences . Here are a few features of BING that is not in Google. Let me start with the BING homepage.

1. The BING homepage is much better to see since it has images like a water mark and keeps changing day to day.

2. The search results per se does not vary much and really depends on what your search string is. The results page displays related searches on the left side from which the users can chose from. Gives more choices for the user unlike Google.

3. Each of the search result links has a preview section that is displayed when you hover your mouse on a tiny orange button on right of each link. This enables the user to decide whether or not the link is useful or not. This reflects its 'new Decision Engine and consumer brand' selling point of MS.

4. It is not required to scan through multiple pages while searching for images. New images are downloaded as we scroll down the page.

5. Video search results showed the most difference. A mere hovering over the video thumbnails with the mouse pointer lets you watch the preview. The left menu provides options to chose the type of video you require like screen size, length, resolution etc.

6. The user is able to set his own security settings to control the way results are displayed.

There could be other differences but these are just the ones I could find after a few hours of comparison. BING is still in its beta version and there could be teething problems. It is still too early to say if BING has any edge over Google. The toughest part to change would be the peoples perception. All of us are so used to Google and to think of a change would take some convincing to do by MS BING.

"Bing Is Not Google" Time will only tell. :-)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Traditional dress of Kerala women (or lack of it)

WARNING: The following content WILL not appease many or all women, especially malayalee pennungal (women). Some men also might not agree. Read & React at will.

The traditional costume of women from Kerala is 'Mundum and Neriyathum'.

The mundum neriyathum consists of two pieces of cloth, the mundu draped on the lower part of the body around the hips while the neriyathu the upper part worn over the left shoulder above the blouse. It generally comes in cream and white texture with a coloured border known as the kara. There are various versions of this age old costume. Kasavu saree, for instance has golden coloured border which is either pure golden layer or artificial. Set-mundu is yet another version that resembles the mundum neriaythu but is from a single piece of cloth. It is true that mundum-neriyathum is indeed the traditional clothing of women in Kerala.

STOP! Enough of educating the public. Prasangam niruthu, kaaryathilekku kadakku (Stop your speech and get to the point)

A new form of clothing has invaded the minds of women. I'm not really sure when this POWERFUL attire took control of our women. I say this because it is currently the most famous , the most seen, the most common, and all the other mosts.....dress worn by most women, at least in Kerala. Bhariamar (house wives) wear it, jolikari (home servants or home maids) wear it, ammummas (grandmoms) wear it, kandattile pannikari (women working in the rice fields, whatever is left in kerala :-() wear it, cooli pannikari (women construction workers), pavappattavaru (poor) wear it, pannakkaru (rich) wear it, so there isn't any group that's not bitten by this transformation bug.

I will no longer extend the suspense. It is known by many names. Here are a few I know of - Nightie, Nightshirt, Nightgown and the latest one just released Housecoat. These are the drendy (trendy) names. As the name, it also has drendy designs which could put Rohit Bal or Tarun Tahiliani to shame. I don't even want to go there to explain it. But I would like to take this opportunity to mention its newest avatar (form).

The avatar does not take time to switch from home wear to outdoor wear because all it takes is to grab a duppatta (long scarf) and wear it across both the shoulders or wear it like a cape and you are ready to leave. It does not matter if the duppatta matches with the housecoat. The more the contrast the more drendy. Faaashionable doalls they arrre........(fashionable dolls they are). Now isn't that a fast or what?? :-)

Next time you are in Kerala, look around you. You will know what I mean. This latest drend should be worn at bedtime as the name suggests and not as a clothing for all & every occasion.

P.B- The Housecoat is not the replacement but the most common attire found aplenty in Kerala and hence the traditional dress of Gods own country.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How "REAL" are reality shows?

Reality shows began as early as the 1940s-1950s in the western world. The Indian mass started to taste the reality genre in the late 1990s and by early 2000s it gained popularity. It was a most talked about subject and still is (I wonder) when people met each other, be it in the village or the town or the city. It became more of a fad among the crowd to talk about the shows. Gradually the shows crossed regional boundaries and every household in every state were witness to the most famous show on earth THE REALITY SHOW.

At present there are so many types of reality TV. Game shows, Cookery, Sports, Talk shows, Talent hunt, Treasure hunt and the list goes on. In India there is a home made version for almost every other reality TV shown in the west. Personally, to me the time is not far away where our privacy would be invaded and broadcasted world wide. It reminds me of the movie 'The Truman Show'. The point I'm trying to come at, is that we have a surplus of reality shows. There are so many of them that you switch channels, 9 out of 10 would be airing just the same type in a different language under a different name, the content would be no different.

There is no more reality spice left it these shows. Most of them are fabricated and scripted to suit the audiences solely with a profit motive. Their aim is to attract more viewership so as to sustain in the media industry and in order to achieve it, reality has to be TAILOR MADE. So isn't "reality" a misnomer???

I had watched a few of these shows and was religiously following them when it began a trend among the Indian market. But after a couple of months I lost interest and started to hate it. How many times would you be able to see the same material with only the faces changing? Anybody would get bored.

I was fortunate or should I say unfortunate (whaterver :-)) to witness a talent show elimination round where there were 3 contestants left and one of them had to go home. There's background music, camera focusing on the judges, the parents of the contestants, the praying friends and the comperes. This goes on for a few minutes and finally with great difficulty the judge is about to announce the name.
Cut!! commercial break.
The judge looks at the name and announces it. BANG!!!! the hapless artist breaks down on the stage, then drama follows.... the compere tries hard to console the artist, his friends cannot watch him. The judges have conflict of opinions and there is a long debate or should I say verbal rift among them.
Cut!! again commercial break.
Finally the verdict is out. The artist gets another chance to flirt his talent and nobody goes home. The contestants are hugging each other, the judges come over to the stage to show their affection. It is such a perfect world. Everyone is happy.

Now you judge for yourself "How real are the reality shows?"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Disturbing Truth

The inspiration to write this blog comes from the song 'Say' by John Mayer. I have heard it so many times and still haven’t got bored of it. Maybe its just me :-). The song tells about saying what you need to say with a smile even when you know you have only a few more days to live. This song is also featured as one of the soundtracks of the movie ‘The Bucket list’. The protagonists make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket.

A man is diagnosed with a terminal illness. He does not have many days to live. It is something none of us would like to be in. How would we cope with such a situation if the man was one of us? How would we feel? What would be our state of mind? I don’t have a definite answer
to these questions but I will take a cynical approach and try my best to give them.

There could be only two human emotions that could result from this uncertain news.

1. Depression
2 Complacency

Depression - 9 out of 10 people would fall in this category. This comes naturally to humans in the advent of such undesirable news. It is how our body and mind reacts to life’s uncertainty. The cause of depression could be numerous, primarily because of the fear of dying. The others could be the loss, his or her family would go through after he or she has gone away, the unpredictable future of his or her life and the sheer thought that his or her days are numbered literally does impact ones mind. The family bonds that a person cherishes, the many good friends that a person built through his or her life will have to be left behind and that is not easy to endure.

Complacency – It is hard to foresee the number of people that could fall in this category. There is a lot of dependency on other factors that could render a person complacent with the given situation. The primary factor could be ‘Age’. People above the age of 80 could be complacent than someone who is middle aged simply because the former has passed his or her prime time and the latter is just in the midst of one. Then again it is arguable because these are not carved in stone. There are different kinds of people with different attitudes or approach to life, come what may.

In time (whatever is left) complacency sets in because the person does not have a choice but to face the truth of his or her life. This once again is human tendency, the mind and body adapts to the present state. It could be a wonder how our mind reacts sometimes. If this wasn’t possible humans would have become insane.

There could be a totally different section of people who doesn't really care and take life one day at a time. They readily accept the truth and abide by the rules set forth to them. But at the same time they don't allow their mind to take over their body. They try to live as normally as they possibly can. Psychologically this sort of behaviour could only assist the body to become better if not the opposite. After all its the mind that rules the body.

We are mortals and each and everyone of us will have to succumb to it one day or the other. The ONLY choice we have forth is - How do we want to deal with the matter?

Note: The annotation given above is not based on any proof but purely my personal standpoint.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gene Power

Illustration 1

Ashwin: "Aditya....Do you want to go out to play?"
Aditya: "Yes I do."
Ashwin: "Good...Then you ask dad...go, go."
Aditya: "Why? You also want to go?"
Ashwin: "Yes!"
Aditya: "Why should I ask? You can't ask?"
Ashwin: "No"
Aditya: "Oooooh (clearly showing annoyance) ok I will."

Ashwin smiles and breaths a sigh of relief.

Illustration 2

Aditya persuades his elder brother to help him with the jigsaw puzzle.

Ashwin: "No I'm busy with my books."
Aditya: "Please....please"
Ashwin: "NO.....I SAID NO."
Aditya: "No you have to, pleeaaaaase." (pulls Ashwins arm)
Ashwin gets angry and pushes Aditya. He falls back and hurts himself, yells in pain.
Ashwin stops what he is doing and rushes to his brother. "Don't cry, please don't cry, don't make noise please please"
Aditya not giving up, and yells even louder.
Ashwin tries to close his mouth and tells him..."ok ok I'll help you. Don't cryyy..., hit me if that makes you happy."

Illustration 3

Guests arrive at home who are strangers to the kids.
Guest: Looking at Ashwin. "What is your name?"
Smiles and utters his name, barely audible.
Guest: Looks at Aditya.
Aditya: "My name is Aditya" :-)
Guest & Aditya are in conversation while Ashwin just looks on the proceedings.

I thought I'd start with these illustrations before I went on to boast about the ultimate power of 'the Gene'. It is not an excerpt from a bollywood movie but are just some of the real life conversations between my kids and their distinct characters.

We all know that the gene pass genetic traits to our offspring. There cannot be any better way to illustrate this than the examples I've given above. The character my elder son Ashwin exhibits, is just a carbon copy of mine, when I was his age. What is more interesting is that the gestures and the speech are spot on. Watching them grow up reminds me of my childhood and my relationship with my brother. History repeats itself, if I can call it that.

Flashback: Ashwin becomes Biju & Aditya becomes Prasad. If I can bring these timezones into one frame it would be difficult to differentiate them.

Its just amazing how genetics are so meticulously defined that there are no scope for any errors.