Monday, January 26, 2009

More than skin deep

Since I bought my cell phone, a Motorola V3i, I've had to vehemently defend my choice to almost everyone who showed any interest in it.  Be it the 'poor user interface' or the lack of memory or the 'tinny sound quality' ,the Nokia and Sony Erricsson user's have each had their jab at it.I am very attached to my phone, but through these various arguments, my only defense has been that it looks absolutely 'brilliant!!!'. Today, on 26th January 2009, after three years, I have another.
Hogenakkal, is a very scenic waterfall on the Karnataka-TN border. The black volcanic rock formations encasing the meandering Cauvery are some of the most captivating sights I've ever seen. Yesterday, I decided to visit Hogenakkal falls with 4 other friends. On reaching the falls, our coracle ride took us all around the river and finally deposited us on an island on the river. But  we wanted to cross the river and head to a more secluded region to have our lunch. To do this, we had to cross the river on foot. The water was only waist deep so it wasn't really a big deal. I had my precious camera with me, which I protected very diligently. Not a drop got onto the camera. We reached the other side safely. The moment I reached, Sid asked " hey whats that in your pocket?". In the blink of an eye, all the blood drained from my face, all the beauty sorrounding me seemed irrelavant. I realized what was in the pocket of my dripping shorts- my precious V3i. 
Putting all my emotions aside, the engineer in me jumped to the rescue. My first reaction was to remove the batteries, lest there should be any short circuit. And then, as I stood there on the banks of the Cauvery,with each drop of water dripping from the phone, reality began to set in- my phone was dead. 
Like freshly washed laundry, I put my v3i in the sun, and waited.  Hours passed, I finally gathered the courage to turn it back on. But it didn't. After 4 tries, I gave up.
On the way back from Hogenakkal, for reasons that I will never know, I decided to try putting Harki's batteries (he has a V3i too) in my phone. It was magic. In bright blue and white, the letters "Hello Moto" gleamed proudly on the screen. 
The V3i not only looks absolutely "brilliant" but is also a survivor.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Childhood was a blur, we were too busy living it, to watch it go past. High school was over at 15, PUC at 17 and college at 21.We knew that the end was never a clear line but a hazy transition; but for those of us in the early to mid twenties, the line was this week. 
Through these 23 years, classmates changed,friends changed, girl friends changed, postal addresses changed, jobs changed; the only things that remained a constant were our heroes.
A large part of my childhood was spent obsessing over Michael Schumacher. I still remember the 1994/5 seasons better than anything I learnt in the 4 years of engineering. For more than a decade, I religiously took control of the TV every race weekend and my family had to tolerate the the sound of the engines screeching and a son who never agreed to turn the volume down. A lot of things changed in F1 over the years- teams changed, drivers changed- but the one thing that remained constant was Michael. Champions came and went, but they all had to beat Michael to be champion. It all ended on the 22nd of October 2006, with Schumacher retiring from the sport. A significant part of my life was suddenly over. 
Thankfully, I had a saviour. As the 96 cricket world cup neared, all my friends in school discussed was  this weird sport called cricket. I was the outcast in my school, who spoke of the weirder sport called Formula 1. All this changed the day I watched Sachin make the Kenyan bowlers look like a bunch of school boys in India's opening match of the world cup. I was hooked. Suddenly I had a plethora of heroes to choose from. There was Sachin's batting, Azhar's spectacular fielding and Kumble's relentless bowling. But the deluge was yet to come.
Lord's 1996- India found two of the greatest cricketers of our generation. For the ensuing half a decade, there were two kinds of cricket fans in the country- the ones who admired Dravid for his hard work and the ones who watched in awe as Ganguly stepped out of the crease to the left arm spinners. From Ganguly's divine shots on the off side to Dravid's unbreachable defense, we dissected and discussed everything, everyday.
We were spoilt. Our heroes blinded us with their brilliance(Taunton 99) , worked miracles(Kolkata 01) and conquered enemy fortresses(Perth 08).  Through all the tumultuous years of adolescence, we found refuge in these performances and for a moment, the quandaries of everyday life seemed irrelevant. They were our heroes- who we could always count on to bring us cheer.
After this week, we'll never see Jumbo terrorise batsmen or watch Dada cart spinners out of the ground.
I guess this means we've grown up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Through the celluloid #3: TV decrypted

1994- NBC discovered the holy grail of Television entertainment- FRIENDS.
Sure there was Seinfeld- that was just the genius of one man, The Wonder Years and Doogie Howser were genuinely innovative ideas, they have made their way into pop culture, and there will never be another one like it.
With FRIENDS, NBC had discovered the 'formula' which, with minor modifications could spawn an entire generation of sitcoms and dramas portraying the twists and turns in the 'everyday' lives of 'ordinary' people. The same formula has been adopted by other television networks, resulting in a slew of serials like How i met your mother, The OC, The Gilmore girls (OK slightly different), Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, Big bang theory, Life as we know it, Private Practice, Coupling, Joey!!!, Jack & Jill and even Desperate housewives!!!
The quintessential contemporary TV series consists of the following:
  1. A seemingly ordinary bunch of people( preferably an equal number of male and female characters )
  2. Relationships between characters, i.e.,
  3. A successful relationship
  4. A dysfunctional relationship.- Very Important
  5. A fantastic house or apartment even though none of them make much money and probably could not afford a place like that with all their money put together- I don't think anyone would pay money to watch people live in a crappy place
  6. Although the characters work hard to make it in 'the real world', there is always a safety net Eg. Gilmore Girls, FRIENDS (Monica and Rachel's parents), The OC
  7. And if there are no rich parents, a mysterious source of money paying for daily expenditures Eg: Joey in FRIENDS, most of the characters of Gilmore Girls
  8. A family member of one of the characters, casually mentioned some time and introduced in the last episode of some season Eg: Lexy Grey in Grey's Anatomy
  9. A rich, charming, attractive and seemingly harmless sex magnet- Barney, Joey, Mark Sloan
  10. And most importantly, a drunken mistake- At least once in a season
But the biggest common denominator in all these is that none of them even vaguely resemble reality. If they did, I guess we wouldn't have to watch it on TV, we'd just have to look around.

P.S. Thanks Chodan

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Through the celluloid #2: I want to believe

The second edition of the X-Files. Chris Carter's come back.
I finished watching it 5 minutes back.
A sci fi movie, without a 'end of the world' scenario is a serious waste of time. A plot about a missing FBI agent is far too weak to keep the audience captivated for more than the first 10 minutes of the movie. Especially when the person goes missing within the first 3 minutes of the movie and does not give a chance for the audience to form any sort of bonds with the abductee. Well, as one would expect, after quitting the FBI, Dana Scully is a practising doctor, and Mulder is crazy man, who lives far away from civilization, in a deserted house, with a room plastered with news paper clippings.
The movie certainly tries to have a sense of humour. I particularly liked the scene out side Amnda Peet's office, which has a line of framed US presidents' photos. The camera zooms into Dubya and the back ground music starts playing the spooky X files theme.
Apart from the psychic gay paedophilic priest, the film definitely lacks a supernatural theme. The love story between Dana and Fox has been given no time to develop what so ever.

The absolutely horrendous posters did not deter me. I waited for almost a year. I wanted to believe. Now, I only believe that there is only room for improvement.

My rating 2/5.
The first point is because I love the X-Files. And the second is because Gillian Anderson looks even more gorgeous than before.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


They said 10th standard was the most important year in your life, if you did well, your life was made
They said doing well in the CET was crucial, if you did well, your life was made
They said getting into a good college was important, if you did well, your life was made
They said placements decided everything, if you did well, your life was made

They were naive.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Serendipitous Metamorphosis of the Unsuspecting Motorist

After a year of treacherous motoring in Bangalore, I've discerned that every person on the road will go through the 5 distinct phases of the Bengalooru experience-
0. Gestation
There are only 2 reasons why an innocent human being will subject oneself to the insidious roads of the city. 1. The long harboured dream to own a bike, to tame the road (ya right!!!) , to feel the adrenaline rush, to see the speedometer cross the elusive 99kmph mark. Or because one has decided to take one's fate into one's own hands and no longer be a victim of the vicious auto rickshaw Mafia that runs amok in the city. Either way, we take the plunge. Thereby entering the first phase-
1. Newbie
Really easy to spot- has no idea what the gear he is in, the helmet visor is always up, and is that annoying guy on the road who has an angry mob behind him honking to kill. And finally, is that guy who stops for the red light at 6 in the morning, watching the rest of the vehicles zip past him, almost hitting his rear.
2. The adolescent
Thinks he knows what gear he is in and is that psychopath who almost crashed into you last evening.
3. Been there done that
Has had his share of falls and accidents. The bike has a few scratches, wont kill the pillion if the bike is soiled by the mud on the pillion's shoes. Still knows a thing or two about traffic rules.
4. 'Institutionalised'
The true Bengaloorean- Thinks the footpath was constructed so that she/he can zoom past the rest of the idiots who are patiently waiting on the road for the signal to go green. Firmly believes that there should be no space between your headlights and the tail lights of the vehicle in front. Has no idea what the pairs of orange lights on either side of the head/tail light are there for. Knows very well about the horn. Can ride on the first gear for exceptionally long periods of time. Some times has a helmet on and is sometimes found jumping over the divider. And most importantly, can see behind his head.

'Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's "institutionalized."'- Red, The Shawshank Redemption

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."
Greg Anderson quotes (American best-selling author and founder of the American Wellness Project., b.1964)

Obviously Greg's destination was not via Bengalooru :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Through the celluloid #1 - The X-Files- Fight the future

After a long hiatus from blogging (and after several drafts) I've finally worked up the courage to write again.
Beginning today will be a series on my thoughts about movies both old and new, and what better to start with than the one movie for which I have had to wait for 10 years to watch.
The X -Files , released in 1998- starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny- was a collage of the entire X-Files concept. It had all the constituents of a trite Sci-Fi thriller- a deadly virus, ugly aliens (MIB is probably the only movies which showed pretty aliens), a love story that could have been, an end of the world scenario,but with the added X-Files flavour-a government conspiracy, aliens with no guns or protective force fields, and an FBI agent whose job is to investigate unexplained phenomena but not solve the mystery.
Keeping up with the standards set by the widely popular TV series, the movie brings with it all the neat packaging that had become a trademark of the TV series. The posters are absolutely mind blowing, the taglines are brilliant and although the Mark Snow Theme song is played only once it sets the tone for the movie.
The film starts with a teenage boy in Texas getting infected with an alien virus, when he accidentally falls into an underground cave. The virus, which has been lying dormant in the underground caverns suddenly comes out of hibernation and starts to evolve. And its up to Scully and Mulder to get to the bottom of it.
Although the movies drags for a few minutes, there are plenty of scenes which sends you "wow", like the one where Mulder is chasing the tanker and he reaches a T junction and has to discern if the tanker went right or left, Mulder being the sceptic he is chooses to go straight instead of following the road- the back ground score when he does so is incredible (the hair at the back of my neck were standing up as I watched this). Gillian Anderson looks absolutely adorable in the movie, actually she looks just like the person you would want with you when you go chasing after aliens:).
To summarise, I loved the movie.
I would give it 3.5/5 . (Not a 4+ movie, after all, its what you expect to see when you see the title X-files)
The sequel, "I want to believe" releases on July 25. I hope its a 4+ movie.
Either way, I'm sure I'll love it.