Wednesday, December 27, 2006

moving moments....


Is this the moving season or what ?

I moved from Springfield, Va to Alexandria, Va.

I moved from Blogger to Wordpress and back to the New Blogger !

I will be moving back to school from work - taking a break !

I will be moving back to India :)


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Never Say Goodbye


Last night I watched this movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, and it made me do three things which I haven't done for a very long while. First, I watched this movie at a 11:45 PM show. Second, I stood in the queue for over an hour to enter the cinema hall. And Third, I posted a blog.

To set expectations straight, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (Lets refer it as KANK in short, for obvious reasons) is not a great movie. It didn't have a very strong storyline. It hovered around the theme love, between a husband and a wife of a couple of couples. And by the way, before I forget, love between someone's husband and someone else's wife. Off late, Indian movie scriptwriters have been listening to viewers complaints that our movies are of the typical formula. A sizeable percentage of Indian movies these days have been themed around infidelity, adultery, unfaithfulness etc., Whatever happened to the good old days of hero meets heroine-falls in love-villain rapes hero's sister-stunts and family emotion-hero's mother or second heroine dies-hero&herione marry kind of movies ?Agreed that they were monotonous, boring and stereotypes, but they were still watchable with families without having to squirm in the seats.

A bold topic as this, thankfully, was set on the banks of Brooklyn river. Two American Desi families tread along rough marital lives. And by matter of chance their lives seem to cross each other, until one of the spouses of either families decides not to leave this crossing purely to chance. They decide that the love in their marriages has become irrecoverable and finally find love in the arms of each other. They take this adulterous love forward. When they decide to give their marriages one more shot by forgoing this feeling it may just be too late.

Let me be honest. I went to KANK to watch the bubbly ShahRukh and the gorgeous Rani. Of course, Rani was flawless and didn't disappoint me. Her smile, charm, attire and tone were all worth the dough I shelled for this. ShahRukh however was on a different role. It was not the charm-boy Rahul or Raj on the screen who is always energetic, cheerful, Iam Cool kinda guy dancing his way through. Instead one could see a serious and snobbish Shah Rukh, getting angry at every frame on the screen.. Surprisingly wonderful was the performance of Abhishek Bachchan, who is these days away from the shadow of his dad. Preity hooked on to a busy-working mom role. Amitabh as usual is there just to increase the star-cast value and pretty much nothing more. In Hindi movies, one can release a movie without story, dialogue, hero or heroines, but definitely not without Amitabh.

Anyways, is Karan Johar justified in his bold experiment ? Perhaps yes.. for these subjects, no matter what anyone says, are still a taboo to Indian culture. And perhaps that's why Karan took the story to a American Desi backdrop - for with Desis- it is easy to question their culture, value, traditions, lifestyle - and show them in whatever bad light inside India.. Desis have found themselves searching for identities, trying to lead a traditional Indian life in the midst of a foreign land, and before they find one, the Indian directors can milk all their taboo stories with a desi backdrop. I strongly believe that Karan went too far when he showed the adulterous couple booking a hotel room and sleeping with each other. And by the way Karan, since when did a SEPTA train start going to Toronto, Canada ?

So, my friends, one more movie on adultery with all the big stars is out there. And Indians can now boast of catching up with the western culture - atleast in fooling around with another's spouse.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

rediff's sarcasm

Hey (after a loooooooooong time..),

Rediff's sarcastic news combo of combing 2 discrete piece of news next to each other making us laugh!!:
Pepsi fined - condom in bottle | Good marketing ideas



Sunday, February 05, 2006

the revolutionaries of rang de basanti


Looks like I had stopped my yapping for quite some time now. But a movie that I watched yesterday evening compelled me to jot something up. The movie was Rang De Basanti, another Aamir Khan-Jai Hind type of movie following the Lagaan and Mangal Panday - the Rising note.

What can you say when you see twenty somethings from college dorms sporting jeans, sneakers and gulping beer all day ? The last thing that can be your guess is the fact that they are revolutionaries trying to make a change in the society. They do not have trimmed pointed mustaches, do not passionately pen poems praising the motherland, do not secretly meet and bomb trains or break bridges, do not discuss Lenin and Che - nothing that the revolutionaries of our history books have been painted with. All these spoilt kids do is to smoke uncontrollably, drink erratically, blame the society for their status and make unpleasant jokes at wrong moments..

Steps in a English girl who awakens their inner spirit unknowingly by forcing them to act as the Bhagat Singh and friends in her documentary. Rapid turn of events kindles their innermost emotions and these youngsters don the avatar of the Indian revolutionaries of the early 20th century to ignite the fire in the hearts and minds of millions of youth who are in slumber. Sounds a nice story. Infact the blending of the original Bhagat Singh saga with that of the current is done well. Except for Aamir Khan, the rest all fit well in their role and looked like University students too. Aamir was a good Azad character, but the Univ 5 year passout was pushing it too hard. The movie itself was done decent, taking a dig at politicians (like Fernandez), Sangh Parivars and the like. The climax was a tough digest, but the movie in its entirety was indeed enjoyable.

But the bigger question is what if this is true ? Is this the kind of awakening that we will need ? Do the youth of today get pushed so much that they have to resort to violence and dramatics if they have to be heard ? While some of the scenes of Rang De Basanti may have been overcooked, it is not far fetched from reality. We do see our Armed forces laying lives because of corrupted ministries. We do see government & officials walk out scot free after long trials which have little hope of ending in one lifetime anyway. We do see people who open their mouth being locked up and permanently silenced. And if this is a trend that continues, don't the youth of the country, who are willing to make a change, get pushed to the extreme where they are forced to resort to violence and theatrics ?

While there are still many questions lingering about the credibility of the movie, the message that the movie passes is indeed powerful. One doesn't need to stand on the side and crib about what is going wrong. One doesn't need to resign to fate and claim that nothing can be done. One doesn't need to run away from reality submitting to faithlessness. Make the change, be a part of the movement; it just takes people with passion to drive a positive change.

Bhagat Singh and his friends created history by displaying passion and love for the nation and displaying the willingness to save the nation. Age was not a factor. Fear was not a factor. Their unbridled patriotism and faith in the future pushed them to stand up against a mighty oppressing empire. If the current governments pretty much operate the same way, it may not be too late for us to see more & more Bhagat Singhs emerge from the nook and corners of the society to stand up against evil. But caution. There is only a thin line of difference between revolutionaries who fight for justice and terrorists. If the potentials of the potential Bhagat Singhs were to be tapped by wrong hands, we will not have a nation saving battle, but a bloodbath by fanatics.

Inquilab Zindabad.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

american desi and artificial interests


A few days back one of my very reasonable friends alleged that the interest any of the desi's in the US may exhibit in core American games/sports, like American football for instance, is very artificial..

This argument started when we were following a thrilling game between Washington RedSkins, the DC home team with the Philadelphia Eagles on New Year day. The game was important because a win on this game would give the RedSkins an entry into the playoffs. After a wonderful game (where RedSkins won 31-20), I was discussing the game with Eswar, when this very reasonable friend stepped in and asserted - the whole thing sounded very artificial and superficial to him.

Coming to think about this, I really do not blame him for that conclusion. I find many of what we desis do very artificial indeed:
  • I find it artificial when we desis try to mimic the (horribly irritating) rap musicians - wearing a monkey cap, partially holding the hands upto the chest and yelling Yo wazzup! in a basal high pitch;..
  • I find it artificial when we desis pickup an 'American' slang, adulterating the decent English that we can speak as pathetic as one could, thereby making it unintelligible for anybody to understand; ...
  • I find it artificial when we desis listen to the traffic, check the weather and print out maps before we drive to the superstore on the next block; ...

So if all the above is considered artificial, then what is wrong in my friend's observation that cheering up for an all American team in an all American game to be artificial ?

That I cannot agree. I, for one, love sports/games blindly. Be it whatever. I can sit & watch any sport of any sort without getting bored for hours - Tennis, Soccer, Golf, Swimming, Cycling, Formula One, Pool etc etc., - I just love sports. And I know that there are quite a few of my friends - this one for sure, who do the same. We share a passion for sports. Sports is universal, just like how music is - borderless, boundaryless.

Just because Iam from India doesnt mean that I have to sit & cheer only cricket - the game in our DNA, or hockey - the national sport or kabaddi - where we easily win medals .. I can equally appreciate Tennis and maybe cheer more when Leander or Sania get to the matchpoint, appreciate Racing and maybe cheer more when Narain completes a race, appreciate Golf and maybe cheer more when Vijay Singh hits a birdie, appreciate Chess and maybe cheer more when Anand does a check mate. Being in India has never hampered us to follow any of these 'imported' sports.. And coming to America has just widened our scope to look & follow more sports - basketball, baseball, football and the like.

I agree that (I used to think) American football is nothing but a game of rough bullies weighing 250+ lbs each falling over each other just like that - a bigger version of relatively leaner Sumo players or WWF. I used to laugh at the irony that this game is called Football, when they rarely use the foot and the ball isnt even round. But I have come to admire, follow through and enjoy the sport over time - and just like how some need exams to increase seriousness in a reading, just like how some need a speedometer to pump adrenaline while driving crazily on a freeway, I just need to cheer & support a team/player to take a more active interest in sports (just a variation of Maslow's theory X, I guess;)). And so I support a team, conveniently the RedSkins - home team from Washington, DC where I live.

When one does something not just for conversation starters or to look cool, when one watches a game waking up at crazy times like 3:20 AM because a favorite team plays, when one travels a few thousand miles staying in rubbish motels just to follow a 90 minute race - the interest sure may be an acquired one, but definitely is not artificial.


PS: On a totally different note, DC folks - do visit Misha's coffee at Old Town. They serve excellent coffee and the place is cozy. You can catch up on reading, play scrabbles/chess, discuss politics, blog(the internet is weak & unusable though) or the best - sip coffee and engage in advanced ornithology !

Sunday, January 01, 2006

of sports and women


So what is with sports and women ? I mean, why cant they relate to sports in general and every sport in particular ? Not only dont they try to understand, but they also have a certain distaste, aversion, pet peeve, hate, dislike and every other possible such adjective towards games and sports. Before I continue, let me clarify that the women in this post actually refers more to Indian/Desi women, though I am sure what I have stated is more or less applicable to the female gender in the Universe.

Are games that hard to understand ? I mean, no one expect the woman to play but to just sit through, watch and maybe cheer. The lady of this generation studies rocket sciences, does complicated arithmetic calculations, cuts code in 10th generation programming languages, cooks multi-cuisine with equal ease, drives rashly on the road making even Montoya bow his head in shame, manages work and home intelligently - so it is very surprising when she shakes her head in despair and announces that she cannot follow games & sports !!!

How complex can cricket be ? Every Indian has the sport in his blood, isn't it not ? I have always thought the almighty creator injects cricket DNA to Indians, basketball to Americans, Soccer to the Brazilians and the like ? But maybe he does the injecting to the male species. Coming back to cricket, how complex is the sport, really ? Every street corner in India witnesses kids playing cricket. Anything round is considered a ball; a strong stick turns into a bat; and the wall or a lamp-post or a fence is the wicket - and the sport begins and can run into hours. There are even crazy gangs that can play a virtual-cricket using page numbered textbooks. Breaking glass panes, diverting the poor motorists off the road, hitting the neighbor's scooter, pulling off the last page of The Hindu - all this is a package of growing up with cricket. And women cant understand our passion for the game ?

The other side of this is also dangerous. When the womenfolk do watch cricket or any other sport, they watch it for all the wrong reasons. "Sourav is too hot ya", or, "Oh God. Agassi, aww, wow, huh, (sigh) " - censorable dialogues follow through and they admire the sportsman, sometimes not even knowing what sport he plays. When we are around such women, I wont be surprised if we feel gay watching male sports !

The Indian televisions tried to market the cricketing sport to the ladies by making the hot Mandira Bedi as a program anchor. Well, the audience & popularity sure increased, with a double whammy as we watch Sachin hit a sixer followed by a blondie-kinda yapping from Mandira. Now the cheerleader concept needs to come to cricketing sport and it is like a dream ! Anyways, the Bharatiya Naris who watched Mandira worried about her dresses, the earrings, the short sleeves etc and accused the passionate sporting fans of watching her and not the game....

Of course, women tennis, ladies soccer, girls rowing - are all watched more by men. And again, this is because of the taste for the sport than anything else, though the maledom is again looked at with suspicion. Same is when we hook up the TV to follow NBA or NFL - for Godssake, they dont show the cheerleaders for more than 5 minutes of the 3 hour game ! The women have reason to hate every sport - Cricket is a waste of time; NBA is a late evening crime; Football is rough; Sumo is nauseating; WWF is ridiculous; Women tennis is a F-TV show; Racing causes ear-ache; Golf is boring .... the list is endless!!!!!

So my friends, there is something with the women and sports. Something repelling. Something dead against. Maybe women think of sports as their mother-in-laws. You can love them both, but you cant make them love each other. And if you did attempt that, within minutes you would realize that your love for either of them will drop down heavily. And you wish you ran 2 separate lives that don't run into each other.