Saturday, November 12, 2011

Star signs

"Have you recently looked up at the sky and watched the stars?" a friend of mine asked me. I was taken aback by his question.
And then I took my time trying to show how ridiculous he sounded and gave him some advice on how not to look stupid. Meanwhile my friend was desperately trying to explain his side of the story. But I was not listening. Later on during the day, I tried to recall the last time I had witnessed the night sky. I was horrified. I could not remember!That night after dinner I took a walk just to watch the stars. It was simply beautiful! Tiny little sparks on a dark endless carpet. I rediscovered beauty in something I had taken for granted. The irony hit me like cold water on a winter morning. I was trying to look for extraordinary things and beauty of the small and ordinary was just above my head. I am not trying to criticise modernity or development initiatives that have been empowered by technology. I do strongly believe that technology is the future. But sometimes we all miss out on things lying right there in front of us in our pursuit for the big and the great. Hyperboles tend to have a muffling effect on the melody of the natural. I now make it a point to look at the stars every night - through the little squares made by the apartments or through the dangling branches of trees. I thank my stars for the beautiful celestial show.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Rozabal Line

After reading 'The Davinci code' I had tried to familiarise myself with various theories connected with the life of Jesus Christ including his having spent a considerable amount of time in India. It was therefore with much scepticism that I approached The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi.  I was not sure whether it would provide me with something novel and fresh. I was pleasantly surprised. I am happy that I stand corrected.

The book begins with the revelation of the tomb of Jesus in Kashmir -Rozabal and from there goes on an international roller coaster ride with an impressive array of characters  across the boundaries of space and time. The chapters are short and crisp and follows an almost fluid like motion - very much like a grain of sand. But each chapter is like the grain of sand in an hourglass; each grain filling up a crucial piece of the story and inching towards a scintillating climax.
The author has done his research and it clearly shows in work. The book is very Indian and hence one finds a delightful intepretation of history from an uncompromising Indian perspective. The etymology of some words are so shockingly close home yet oblivious to the average Indian mind that it sends us on a detective hunt for intepretations of  siimilar words dispersed throughout the book.  He has done a commendable job of being patriotic while avoiding the narrow minded nationalism that we are so famous for. Thus there is no dull lecture on the extinction of the 'bharatiya sanskar' due to the import of western culture. I won't call him the Dan Brown of India. That would degrade him. His work is fiercely independent with enough masalas mixed to provide a wholesome entertainment. I believe that this book will send us on a journey to rediscover the myths, folklore and traditions that we believe we are so familiar with. It did that to me.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Delhi Belly

When Dk Bose(click here) was launched it raised quite a few eyebrows. If your eyebrow(s) were among them then do NOT watch 'Delhi Belly'.
I would term the release of this film as the coming of age of mainstream bollywood cinema. Gems like 'Udaan' or 'Peepli Live' in my opinion were not mainstream enough. This movie is dirty, filthy, crass but not hypocritical. And that is what I liked about the movie.
The movie deals with the miserable lives of three losers, one of whom (Imran Khan) is about to get married to Sonia (Shehnaz treasurywala). Sonia picks up a package for a friend at the airport and through some series of intricate, comical(/vulgar) , and unfortunate events puts the lives of the three main characters in danger.
This short, crisp movie with a running time of just over 100 minutes have stretched the boundaries of acceptable scenes and language in bollywood cinema. Expletives flow freely like water and toilet humor is packaged (see the movie to know what I mean) in an entirely shocking manner. It is this boldness that is remarkable about this movie. It is bad and does not feel sorry about it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


"Shaitaan.."exclaims kalki while  her character menacingly holds a teddy bear and " Pareeee !!" she calls out while playfully brandishing another. The movie Shaitan is about all of us juggling the shaitans and angels within us every moment of our life.
The movie has promising start with the mentally traumatised  Amy (Kalki) coming to India with her parents. Here she meets a group of friends - all of them super rich, carefree and lives a wacky lifestyle. Their  lives take an unexpected turn and they have to confront the devils within them, and in the society.
The movie is shot brillianly with breathtaking colours and tantalising angle but the direction has a 'david fincher'  feel to it. The music is funky and creative but sometimes goes over the top. The 'khoya khoya chaand' sequence is simply superb.The dialogues are the real gems of this movie. Sample this -" Kuch dost aisen hein jinhe raath ke do baje hi call kiya jaata hein" or the brilliantly delivered "himani navratna tel kahaan lagate hein?". When a  police superior tells his junior "Sach aur Sachchai mein fark hota hein" you can't help comparing it with the present situation and nod your heads.
Shaitaan portrays the brash, violent section of Indian youth who are aggressive in pursuit of the 'trophies' they are obsessed about and get confused after getting them. A good watch.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My election manifesto

Its election time in Gods Own Country and this time yours truly has decided to contest the election as an independent candidate .I can't promise freebies like the grand old man of Tamil Nadu but here's a list of nothings that I promise to work for.

1. Distribution of alcohol to be made through PDS
To put the people out of their misery I think it is better that we start distributing alcohol of all forms, colours and brands through outr
very own 'raation shaap'. How else will the hardworking malayalees find time to attend more pressing matters like
going to a strike or burn up some shops? You don't expect them to waste their precious time waiting in the serpientine queues in front of Bevco do you?

2. Declare 'the Gulf' as the 15th district of Kerala
All gulf countries should be given DoK(District of Kerala) status. This will be of great assisstance to keralites in their exodus to the 'sheik-lands'
And my government will try applying VAT tax on the sheiks. Imagine the revenue that can be collected!

3. Declare the entire state as an amusement park
The narrow,winding roads, dotted with potholes, that seem to fall off into the underworld makes this the best investment opportunity for the state. We have many bus, lorry and jeep drivers
who have shown their expertise in plunging their vehicles into rivers , ponds, backwaters, canals, puddles and other waterbodies. They can be hired to make kerala
the adventure tourism capital of the world

4. Registeration fee for strikes and hartals
An online registration form (along with a small fee of course) has to be filled by any party before they can start a strike.

5. Banning all words with "o"

The sound "O" has been the bane of malayalees, causing shame and embarassment to him whenever he speaks. My government will start an initiative to replace all those
words with "non-o" words. This will increase the morale, and self confidence of all mallus.

Please will you people support me?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A trip

the gravity column

Going to a temple  town like belur might not be a conventional idea of a weekend trip but as they say it is not just about the destination, its about the journey as well . Right?
It was about to become another boring weekend and add to that the nauseating joblessness of final semester, what you are left with will make even the Coen brotherscringe. But some articles on this temple town I had read earlier flashed before my eyes and there I was packed and all set to go!
I set off to Bengaluru in an SETC bus.
A warning to all those who try to attempt this stunt. The bus journey is not as rosy as they show in the movies. Instead of following a straight trajectory on a smooth and arrow-straight stretch of a national highway the driver chose to hop the bus on the carriageway. His dexterous hands made the bus trace parabolas on the road. It was a ride that a 5 year old (like the one sitting in the seat next to me) could enjoy. After that back breaking stomach churning ride lasting for infinity to me and just 11 hours for the driver(adjusted for relativity)
I was at the Majestic bus terminal , Bengaluru.
The adventurer in me decided to enquire about the route to Belur in Kannada. I approached a uniformed man and uttered "Belur ... Temple-udu...". The man stared at me and replied in clear and near-perfect English. "Please board a bus to Chikmanglur. It will take about six hours to reach Belur. So have something to eat now". I sheepishly left to find a bus to chikmanglur, this time taking  care not to resort to any Kannada antics.
After a refreshing tea and morning snack I boarded the bus to chikmanglur. Banglore was slowly fading away from the window and the bus started making a monotonous hum as it entered athe highway.
The journey to Belur was uneventful and I reached there at noon. I began scouting for a place to stay. I  chose a tourist lodge near the famous Chennakesava temple. The rates were affordable Rs 250 per day per head. Only problem was that they kept my driving licence with them till I checked out. It was some governement regulation I assumed.
I set out to  visit the temple in the evening. There are many templea that overpower you with its gigantic constructions and grandeur. But this temple was different. It welcomed me with simplicity.
What strikes you at first is the exquisite carvings covering the entire temple and from a distance it looks like a fine embriodered cloth covering the deity inside. After snapping some pics in and around the temple
I strolled around the temple courtyard. I noticed a solitary column standing right in the middle like a giant prayer reaching out to the sky. On enquiry I learnt that it is a pillar that is not joined at the base with cement or mortar. Just pure gravity and its own weight has helped it withstand the test of time. After ogling the beautiful carvings for a while I returned to my room. I had another journey to prepare. This time to Halebidu (pronounced alabeduuuuu in Kannada. Seriously ask any local and he will howl out this name.)
The next morning I took the first bus from belur to halebidu . The journey took a little more than half an hour. I was told by someone that the temple opens at six. That someone was wrong. I came to know that 6.30 a.m was the standard opening time. I decided to take a stroll down the road. The scenery was incomparable - morning sun jsut caressing the clouds overhead,a large lake with palm trees bordering it
birds cackling and taking their morning dip  in the ice-cold waters. I thanked the above-mentioned 'someone' for making me come here early.After taking in as much nature as I could, I headed back to the temple. Tragedy struck. My camera battery was out of charge!Seeing my trouble someone gestured towards a nearby restraunt that lets you charge your batteries for just five rupees. I rushed to the place. DOuble whammy! Power cut!
I dragged myself back to the Halebid temple and with the batteries borrowed from a helpful tourist clicked a couple of snaps.
Maybe I was not destined to take the photos. Maybe I wasd supposed to enjoy this poetry in stone  with my eyes. After a light breakfast I bid farewell to the town that fed me sweet sambhar, and delicious tamarind rice. I was not concerned about the 'hopping' journey back to college. I was refreshed and recharged. I was prepared.

For photos that i clicked check out my album.
You are free to use these photos. Reference to my blog will be appreciated.