Thursday, April 3, 2014

tuesdays with Morrie - A Book review

Tuesdays with Morrie  by Mitch Albon is one of the most beautiful book I have read. 

Its a charming little story about a old professor who is slowly losing his body to ALS (the disease which Stephen Hawking suffers from). In this disease the muscles slowly starts to degenerate and eventually you have no muscles left. As the author says in the book "while your soul is perfectly awake, its imprisoned inside a limp husk". So you must be wondering what is so beautiful about this book, for that you have to read it to experience it.

Let me try to tell a little more about the book. Morrie was the author's favorite professor in college and the author revered him. But as it tends to be, the author lost touch with Morrie until he came to know about his terminal state. Thus began every Tuesday an impromptu lecture about life in general between the author and his old professor. They talked about family, marriage, money, emotions, forgiveness so on and so forth.

And they turned out to be the authors greatest lectures ever.

Some of the random conversations/aphorisms that I liked from the book.

1. "So many people walk around in a meaningless life. They seem half asleep even when they are busy doing things they think are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things.
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to the community around you and devote yourself to create something that gives you purpose and meaning."

2. "Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live."

3. "Don't cling to things because everything is impermanent."

4. "The biggest problems humans have is shortsightedness. We dont see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential stretching ourselves into everything we can become."

5. "Its just not other people we have to forgive, we also need to forgive ourselves, For all the things we did not do, for all the things we should have done. You cant get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened."

This book should be made mandatory at school level, but we live in a country where the approach to teaching is so erroneous. Most of the things we are taught in school and colleges hardly teaches you anything.  I think we all need a lesson in humanity which seems to be so prevalently absent in people today. 
But then again I digress, whatever your age may be start reading this book today and you will learn to appreciate your life a lot more and find pleasure back in the simple things in life and hope you implement a thing or two from the book.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Window seat...

So after quite some time, travel beckoned me.

Got up early, got in to the taxi and reached the station much before time.

Then stood in  line and got confirmation that I had a reserved window seat, I was a happy man that moment.

Since childhood me and my brother had fights who was going to take the window seat, time sharing was the resolution adopted, and my brother used to sit during the day, watching the green meadows, throwing coins into the river whenever a bridge passed by, shouting out for the hawkers at the railway station and finally watching the sun set into oblivion. Then I used to get my share of the window seat and all I could do is look out in the darkness and realize that I have been tricked again.

So I was in a pretty good frame of mind for having a window seat for the entire duration of my journey. Bought a cup of coffee and sat at a corner observing the fellow passengers. The Gujaratis had opened up their breakfast tiffin boxes, the bengali family was having an argument with the wife doing most of the talking, the haughty punjabi aunty strutting along in her high heels and the city being Bangalore, an inordinate numbers of guys with black wildcraft laptop bags slightly hunched over their overpriced, oversmart touchscreen phones with such intense concentration as if in the next second a genie was to come out of the phone.

Bored in the next instant I switched on my own HTC smart phone and mindlessly started scrolling across the screens. I didnt know what I did for the next two hours on the phone but time flew by, also no genie came out of the phone.

By then it was time to start the journey, I boarded feeling happy about my elusive window seat.

But when I reached to my seat I see someone already had occupied my window seat. I immediately get into the Indian Railway frequent traveller Aggression mode.

"Bhaisaab ye mera seat hai, dekhiye mera boarding pass" I blurted out, little realizing that the man there didnt understand any Hindi. He either was a kannadiga or from a middle east asia country. I couldnt make out the difference. Hindi is the language in which I speak unabashedly, in English I am generally more politer.

And I wasnt travelling Indian railways, I was flying Emirates to Austria enroute Dubai. But all those childhood memories of fighting for the elusive window seat came to my mind.

South Indian or Middle East Asian, whichever the fellow passenger was certainly more polite than the regular Indian railways daily passenger and took out his boarding pass and checked with mine and saw both were assigned  the same seat, 28G and immediately gave up the seat. Me not to be left behind in being the bigger Bhadrolok convinced him to keep sitting and got my first chance to talk to the Emirates air hostess.

A congregation of airhostess gathered (two to be exact) and me and my boarding pass was the object of their scrutiny. After a detailed discussion with the ground crew over the walkie talkie they came to the conclusion that the overpaid, underworked Air India employee to whom the ground staff activities had been outsourced to had goofed up. Since I was the more commotion creator among the two passengers I was immediately upgraded to Business class.

I did lose my window seat but got upgraded to business class and was introduced to a world of luxury travel I hadn't imagined before.

More on business class travel in my next blog post.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Indians - Four Down and Under

After the world cup victory, the Indie-Aussie series was the one which I was most looking forward to. I even had written some blog drafts that made fun of the Aussie players in anticipation of a close series and optimistically thinking of an Indian victory. But then who knew Indian players could play this "crap". Well the only reason I can think of is they had to justify their Test team ranking of "Number 2".

I believe Dravid and Laxman in their twilight phase of their career wanted to retire on a high after winning a series against their arch nemesis. In an attempt to churn out a superhuman effort they failed miserably, Laxman going through the worst plausible and possible form of his career and Dravid missing loads of bricks in the wall like defense of his which let the ball seep through with an unimaginable consistency. This was one such aberrant Australia series where Laxman-Garu failed and Kan-Garu’s came out flying. Sadly it is to be the last contest between the VVS and the Australian team.

The reason behind India despicable performance has undoubtedly been the batting woes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni and Laxman. All four of them average less than Siddle’s  batting average of 25 in the first three test and have scored lesser runs  than Ashwin. So therein lies my confusion, if the tail can wag with such consistency then why can't seh-wag once in the last ten odd test innings he has played on foreign soil.

Dhoni on the other hand is making an all out attempt to prove Newton third law “To every Large Happy moment, there is an equal and opposite amount of small sad moments lurking around” After the world cup win the notional national sport may have touch new zeniths in its cricketing history but after two cold dishes of four-zeroes India is in a free fall plummeting deeper than Marina Trench.

The series ensured that Agony-path is playing to packed theatres and when you have songs with lyrics like the following then why not.
Honi ko UnHoni kar de, UnHoni ko aurrrr  UnHoni.
 Indian Cricket mein jamah ho teeno - Pawaaaar, IPL-Chaar-Baar aur Dhoni

Not only did the Indian cricket team lose but the Australian prime minister proved she is much better than the Indian counterpart. She was in the commentator’s box and certainly put to shame Ravi Shastri cricketing knowledge and more importantly his stymied vocabulary. All his questions were AUDI-cious and made no sense of course.  Manmohan Singh on the other hand when he comes to a cricket stadium waves his hand towards the crowd as if he is cleaning up the blackboard with a duster.  Therein lies the problem we have a PM who can’t speak in public, a commentator when he speaks bores the audience out of their living daylight, batsmen who can’t bat, bowlers who can bat but cant bowl and administrators who are hell bent to sell Indian cricket to the highest bidder and have orgies like the IPL.

India has an inherent ability to make superhereos out of ordinary players. Mathew Clarke comes out with a Clarke Kent performance and Nathan Mouse turns out be a Lion only against India. Ben Hilly-Billus bowls with speed and unforeseen accuracy and David (Warner) puts up a goliath effort.
On the other hand we have Ishant Sharma and the only thing that swings while he bowls  is his long hair, the opening bowler Zaheer bowls well with the old ball and the spinner Ashwin who cant spin the old ball. Now even when Sachin comes to bat you start praying to God (the real one), please let him complete the hundredth 100 and bring an end to this long running soap-opera which is taking CID-esque type proportions.

But then if I can make a cheesy quote from everyone’s favourite movie “The night is darkest just before the dawn” And we hope earnestly and eagerly that the dawn is approaching fast towards the beleagured Indian team and its multitudes of die hard fans.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles, It's Tintin time

When I got to know a new Tintin movie is coming out this November, I knew this was one movie I couldnt afford to miss. Tintin was one of my childhood favourite fictional character and reading the glossy colourful adventures with Captain Haddock exceptional humour was the best reading experience I could get when I was young.

Tintin comics were difficult to come by, they were quite expensive compared to the Indian comics, so apart from owning the one Tintin in America I had to wait  for the week magazine which published a page of the tintin story every issue. Other than that relatives who had  the tintin book series were our favourites.Visiting them on a visit to Kolkata was our topmost priority.

I think when I was in Class five I could recite the Tintin in America cover to cover. But I can say with certainity I could not say the same about my school curriculum books. This was the book that told me there was a different kind of Indians staying in the Americas with feathers on the top of their head. At that time, I also believed that Chris Ander-sen (author of Tin Soldier, a different children story) was  a Bengali and maybe our relative.

As a kid I was fascinated by the colourful comic and the adventure and the dare devilry  that every book of Tintin promised. Snowy as a dog also played his part and if you carefully read his dialogues you will find them very witty, I had never noticed that before. Now reading it again I understand the satirical subtle references Herge the author makes at the society at large. For example while depicting americans, when tintin discovers an oil well the Americans offer him huge sums of money, but when they come to know it belongs to American Indians they offer them $25 and half an hour to clear off. Also by the next morning the oil rich desert is transformed into a conservative American city choc a bloc filled with gas guzzling automobiles.

Captain Haddock's vocabulary added more than just humour to the stories. In school when I did not know any cuss words, Billions of blistering barnacles and thundering typhoons automatically came out of my mouth whenever I was frustrated or angry. Going through the Shooting Star book I found a handful of Captain's choicest words.... filibusters, hoodlums, road hogs, freshwater swabs, turncoats, ophicleides, colocynths  and it goes on. The other interesting thing I found out in the book was he was also the president of S.S.S (Society of Sober Sailors). 

Now to the point why I did this write up is obvious. I got to see this much acclaimed movie today and it stood up to my expectations on all counts. The characters were already very well drawn out by Herge  but I think the director has done a suberb work in bringing across the humour, action and edge of your seats adventure  from the book. In general, Bengali's don't like to praise spielberg because he had stolen a Satyajit Ray movie called Alien  and made it into ET, but I am making an exception here.

Watching a 3-d movie is always a different experience but I too felt that the movie could be more brighter like the glossy tintin comic books. The action sequences in the second half were mindblowingly stupendous. Snowy and the captain were hilarious and played the part to perfection. Sakharine the villain also had a captivating screen presence and kept the young reporter on the toes constantly trying to outsmart and outwit him. In all I can say that it is a wonderful movie, certainly a must watch and worth every rupee I spent at the cinema hall. A big vote of thanks goes out to Paramount and Columbia pictures and others who were involved with the making of the film with the obvious exception of Steven Spielberg.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ra.One the Re.View isn’t a movie, its an experience similar to suffering from a chronic migraine that stays with you long after you have left the movie hall.

This movie is the beginning to a new genre in films, the sci-fi superzero film. It’s a culmination of senseless storyline, same boring clich├ęd scenes, appalling acting, shamelessly copying from other films and all that we expect in a SRK movie. All that I can say is looks like one horrid affair between miss-direction and re-production.

SRK acting skills can be best defined as atrociously nauseating, for the past 15 years he has been dishing us trash films but still continues to hold roost over the box office, the bhola bhala Indian audience who fears to take the red pill (Matrix reference) in his choice of movies. This blog post is to enlighten and remind you that you might have experienced hell in life but it does not mean you do have the capacity to bear the torture of 

 But the thing that makes this movie totally unwatchable is SRK copying Ravindra Jadeja hairstyle. That is like blatant plagiarism and shockingly flouting the Indian piracy laws and showing disrespect to the world cup winning team.

Following few paragraphs contains some serious spoilers, if you develop mental ailments after reading it this blogger will not be held responsible for it. I have in my capacity tried to provide you with a scene by scene depiction of the movie.

The movie starts in Europe with the lead actor Ra.j the protagonist of the movie disillusioned with dancing in the sub zero temperature of Switzeland decides to travel back to India. In one of the remote village he builds a hydro electric power plant which earns him a lot of goodwill but no box office profits. 

In the meantime the bigger Ra, Ra.nchoddas ShymalDas Chanchad gets over 400 patents and almost that many crores in box office.

To prove that SRK is still the number one Ra, he decides to create a robot and names it

But the robot kills its own creator for the betterment of all mankind.  They could have ended the movie over here and then the audience would have kept coming to the movie halls for weeks. But nothing good last long and SRK arrives as

But his wifey dear with brain size zero  is fed up with the acting histrionics and bars his entry to the bedroom  until he tells all the people of India that his name is and he is not an actor. She keeps forgetting her husband south Indian name.

Meanwhile at work he is having a tough time from who keeps pestering him about not having won a national award like him and unable to reply to the taunts of his self created monster, he goes out crying to Karan “KKKKKKKaran, mera naam hai and am not an actor” (Film Unfair has already announced that this has been nominated for the best dialogue category and to be unfair this is going to be the only nomination in this category)

Karan cant bear a heartbroken SRK and out of his belief in “Its all about loving your actors”, tears out his heart and hands it to SRK,  With a new recharged heart goes into battle against also knows he cant keep his boss unhappy for long, he might afterall not give him any IPL after party tickets for next year decides to play ball and gets defeated by SRK and thats when the dancing in the sunflower fields starts all over again. But by this time I start turning into hulkish green, break of my kryptonite chains that prevented me so far from leaving the theatre and weave a spidery web and fly up, up and away.

P.S : No I haven’t watched the movie, but badly wanted to make fun of Ra.One and write one lean mean scathing but funny review :) It has to do with the fact that SRK films I have grown to despise, the languid emotions, the same repetitive stuff and his cronies and the Indian audience who tends to keep fuelling this Bollywood Buddhushah  to keep continuing making ridiculously stupid farces in the name of movies.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cricketing rules changed : 121 to be the new Powar score

The CLT20 governing body in an attempt to lure back Airtel as sponsors have confirmed that whichever team scores their helpline number (121) in the ongoing tournament will be adjudged outright winner for that match. This rule has been defined as “121 zaroori hota hai” rule.

Kolkata Kiteriders was the first team to benefit out of this and were declared winners even before Auckland got a chance to start the chase. Being a new rule there was lots of confusion, but the team from down south decided to play ball once the Haar-yuck Khan decided to promote New Zealand tourism in his next ‘original’ film where he plays a college heartthrob. The Auckland players after the match have booked early tickets so that they can reach home early and start planting mustard/sunflower seeds in their farms.

Haar-yuck Khan also dedicated this win to his namesake ShowAb Yuck-Tar saying he deserves credit for his autobiography because it stands for something he strongly believes in and has been the focal point of Haar-yuck's movies for the past so many years, dishing out absolute nonsensical content. He also has decided to rename his film to ra.121 to commemorate this victory.

Eventhough this was a close match and the kiteriders have yet to strike form but if our contacts are to be believed then the semifinals spots are already fixed with Madrasans playing the Bhadraloks and the Aamchi Taporis playing Namma Kingfishers. Although an alternate faction in Bookies & Corrupt Corporation of India has come out with an analytical Model which predicts a different semifinals lineup with the south teams clashing in SFs. But everyone is unanimous about which team is going to 'cement' its place as the champions.

The BCCI is making an allout attempt to appease Airtel, they have proposed new un-Anglicized laws where the superstition around the Nelson score would be banned and 121 would be made the new superstition score. This also holds relevance because the net worth of the servants of a sugarcane baron in Maharastra has been found to be 121 crores. Hameesh Saheeba the renowned Indian umpire has openly come in support of this and has promised that he would raise both his legs and middle finger whenever this score is reached. Further he has asked this score to be named as the Powar Score.

But sources in Airtel have categorically stated that Bharti relationship with the Khan and his BCCI cohorts have hit an ebb and they are going ahead with sponsoring the rival venture to Ra-1, the F-1.

P.S : was written after KKR first match with Auckland in the ongoing CLT20 with a few modifications done today. Looking fwd to lots of insightful comments which wud inspire this newbie to write more blogs :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Beginning.....

I have been thinking of writing blogs since ages but never had the resolve nor dedication to start it . Finally after an exciting year in Bangalore (pun intended) I have reached this opinion that blogging is a good way to make time fly (rather, crawl). So I logged into my blogger account that I had created three years back and started typing down my first post.

So here I am sitting in front of my laptop and trying to put across my confused thoughts into words sitting on a cluttered table where half of my earthly possessions are currently strewn across. So why on a Sunday night I felt the sudden urge to write down a blog, well it has to do with the feeling of doing something constructive on a weekend, like all other weekends I plan completing an infinite number of tasks that are pending but at the end of it I finish adding few more to the list.

This Sunday was no different, I had planned to finish off The city of Djinns by William Darymple but I hardly read off the first fifty pages, it is not that the book is boring but I needed my Sunday mid day and afternoon siestas. So in between having extra spicy chicken, playing mafia on facebook and watching song videos of recent bollywod flicks on youtube I could just read off the first few chapters. The book is certainly a worthwhile read, its a travelogue ... the authors day to day experiences while staying in Delhi, his quest to dig deep into Delhi history and reading about the city's roots where you have spent the most number of years is always interesting. Hopefully I would post a blog about the book in coming days.

This weekend I had the misfortune of watching another much hyped Bollywood movie "Love Aaj Kal" which turned out to be drab. Looks like Bollywood has mastered the act of creating intresting trailers but the movie hardly stands up to such high expectations.I hope Kaminey is going to be different.

That's all for this post, have to reach office early tomorrow that is one more thing yet to be achieved in the infinite list of possibilities.

P.S. did not publish the blog on Sunday, had fallen asleep ... Its monday night already, was invariably late at office today morning, almost had missed the 11 am meeting.
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