Sunday, December 23, 2007
How can this movie not be loved!
When you work with dedication, a story that wouldn’t fill half a page turns into a brilliantly scripted, shot and presented masterpiece . Tare zameen par is - without doubt - the best movie this year.
I had a lump in my throat the entire time I was in the movie hall, and I am sure so would anyone who used to be allergic to books, to homework, and the system.
The trauma of the kid (at least to me) is of being judged by the world’s standards - Of slaughtered confidence, of being told he wasn’t good enough – And that is the beauty of the movie, if you ask me. It lets you think without making you look at your watch - The pace was a breeze and there is plenty of room to contemplate. The music isn’t redundant, is well timed, and actually good.
There is so much attention to detail - the titles just blew me away.
I walked in on someone else’s ticket (thank you Maneesha), and I was charmed from the first second on.
Oh what a movie!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
(If you cant see that picture, an alternate image is available here)
What you see here is one of the most difficult models I've ever had - Yet another one from the family day last weekend.
Lesson learnt: Child portraits are no child’s play – I could hold her attention no longer than a few seconds, and just when I decide to release the shutter, she would turn to answer some imaginary voice.
But I think the picture was worth the effort.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The bullet and the rosary – would that not make a good name for a book?
(Apparently Google doesn’t think anyone has written that book yet. Maybe I should.)
The Royal Enfield bullet has been a motorbike of every young Indian man’s dreams – me included. The chrome, the thump, and the no-nonsense build. As a kid, I used to be so in awe of the loud machines that rode past my house. Now in a city that is louder, the glint of steel, and the steady deep noise of an approaching bullet still makes me turn. And watch.
I’m buying one. That’s on top of my to-do list right now.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Diwali is here. And here’s my own hand crafted card and message to all you good folks.
Cheers to everyone!
[I made that card at a 15 min make-a-card competition at work. :) The card was later presented to my all-boys lunch group. By the way, that won the second place. ]
PS: For the less informed, Wiki sez: "..The festival marks the victory of good over evil, and uplifting of spiritual darkness. Symbolically it marks the homecoming of goodwill and faith after an absence.."
Monday, November 05, 2007
..And when it is time to die, I will die in style.
From burning orange to an eerie purple all the way till darkness starts creeping in from the corners - I cant think of a death as grand as the death of the day.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Good times are back - And I'm having a lazy week away from work, doing what I love doing : watching it rain.
It is November (well, almost) and it is pouring as if it were June.
With the moss on the walls, and the color of the grass, it even feels like June - and I am loving it.
If I get one clear day though, I'm heading out to the jungle.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Contravening instincts bred into him by millions of years of evolution, you see Spark doing another one of his water catching performances here. (And you, like an idiot thought all dogs run away from water.)
And he goes: “Yo, check it out, Gs, Damn. I be attendin' to bidness 24/7, and I almost forgot about evolushan! “
Spark says he’s working on his other ‘bad habits’ like sniffing feces on the sidewalk, licking his own groin, and wolfing down his food.
When he has all the hot-dog ingredients, it should be ok for him to take a few exceptions, don’t you think? (“Unless you wants every hole in yo' body stapled shut, y'all best not make no wisecracks.”)
Spark is a good dog.
Monday, October 08, 2007
There is something exquisitely romantic about love by the sea-side, something far more poetic than by the park bench – especially so on this day when rain clouds covered the sky, and sunshine, trickling through the clouds painted a picture of gold.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I have been obsessed with tight frames for a while now.
This time I wanted to shake off the fixation, and try and experiment at a wider angle - and get a little more of the world in perspective.
The sun shining through these clouds (these were the same clouds that would in a couple of hours go on to ruin the India-Australia match that was happening just a few blocks away) lit the scene just right, and gave the sky that great blue hue – I could finally shoot at ISO 100.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
“As for clothes, the newer the better; as for friends, the older the better.”
Oh, really? I thought that was only wine, said the wise man.
Wise enough, wise man?
And so we drank beer through the happy hours,
and the boys rode motorbikes after many years.
[Now these two old friends from college decided to visit me over the weekend. This is the first picture here that is not my work, but the mood is such, I cant really post anything else. ]
Monday, September 17, 2007
It had been raining for the most part of the week, and I was meeting these couple of blogger friends from the other side of the city on Saturday.
Off –season sun is a good thing, and when daddy’s not watching, what is a better place to be with friends than a puddle in the park!
No break fast, two movies (not counting the DVDs), a lot of getting wet, a lot of riding around, a lot of friends, a minor accident involving a swollen upper arm, and a knee that hurts, a new pair of shoes, dinner, coffee, and a lot of catching up.
It has been a busy weekend. :)
Friday, September 07, 2007
And the thinker just sat there in the comforting warmth of a clear day.. refreshed by the winds from the sea, by the breeze which might have risen in a valley of snow.
The sky, the beach, and the river that met the ocean fashioned beauty beyond compare – solemn, and deeply colored.
What is a better place to think than by a sea without limit – which was as blue as its sky?
For that was all he ever did – Think. Except on those particularly rough days when the sea was black, he would offer to take the helm.
But today was not one of those days.
He watched the last group of ducks paddle their way home to the village by the sea. It would be another hour before sun set, and it wasn’t going to rain.
I'm off on yet another weekend trip - and this time to a friend's wedding in Trivandrum.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
It's a festival that has everything to do with the spirit, they say.
Perhaps that's why a couple of celebrated citizens attained nirvana this time around too - from excessive drinking.
Anyway, this time I had a camera slung around my neck while I was stirring the payasam, and the kids were making their pookkalams
I'm back, and now I'll need some sleep.
Onam was good. :)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
We are a land of contradictions, of contrast, and changing hues – a land that has come a long way in it’s newest rebirth, and yet in so many ways not moved an inch from where it started.
A people’s nation – the people being its biggest liability, and its greatest strength as well.
And it’s greatest weakness? A defiant people. We work around rules, and we push our way through.
Doesn’t independence from an external force mean dependence on oneself? Doesn’t it mean accountability?
It’s time we made that choice:
The choice that you make to sit on a reclining chair 30 years from now, and tell your grand-child about that zero that India gave the world centuries ago - Or to tell him about what YOU gave India, what you gave the world.
It is fairly simple – you only have to be good in what you do. And make the rather tough choice in doing what you love to do. We are a country with immense potential. Even if we were only mediocre intellectually (which I don’t believe is the case) , we balance it in numbers.
The need of the hour, if you ask me are:
1. A strong police force – Perhaps not in numbers, but definitely in values – better equipped, and better paid. Let us face it – we are used to being an unruly lot. We could use some discipline. If what it takes are tickets, so be it.
2. A responsible electorate that realizes the gravity of the power of vote.
3. A merit oriented structure in the bureaucratic system – right from the base.
4. Planned growth – even if it means slowing down.
5. taxation at the source is not the best policy any more. Instead, tax the sales, and cash in on the volumes. We have the numbers – we could bring down prices without compromising quality – it’s a small world out there and India could make a global shopping hub
6. Gather public good-will to make sense with Kashmir – to take bold decisions. We have shed too much blood in vain.
7. Far sighted infrastructure projects to the North-East.
8. Most of all, the nation to realize the need to look ahead, as opposed to looking behind, as we are given to do, as we have been taught to do - Look ahead, and teach our children to look ahead.
We have made mistakes, we have innovated, we have excelled, we have fought, we have got back together – time and again. We will continue to make mistakes, and we will continue to learn, and I will continue to be proud - and watch this country with respect, and affection.
Happy Independence day, folks!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I just got out of watching Chak de India, and I liked it. Brilliantly shot, brilliantly edited, and the songs have purpose.
I liked it because:
1. It did not look like Ta-ra-rum-pum. This one is a REAL sports movie.
2. I love cricket-bashers.
3. Less glamour, more substance – and the girls looked like they played hockey for real.
4. No cheesy romance, or diversions from the central plot.
5. It made gully hockey look cool. (I’ve never seen street hockey for real so far)
6. I watched it on the first day, and it wasn’t a waste of money.
My rating: You go watch it too.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Now let me tell you a little secret of mine: I love elephants.
It is possible that this has a lot to do with me being Malayalee, because back home, an elephant is not just some big animal, it is a way of life.
The Anakkaran (elephant handler) was someone every kid looked up to in awe and admiration. And I’ve grown up with that reverence.
A mahout sleeping underneath a huge elephant to me is a relationship rooted in trust. I’ve heard of mahouts being killed in fits of fury by the elephant, but a sleeping mahout being stamped on, I have never.
Every time I have touched the coarse hairy trunk of the huge animal - awful, powerful, monstrous, dreadful, mighty, and intelligent - I have known what the great Alexander could have been up against at a dramatic battle, with as inconceivable an end.
It is a first time for me every time.
I have wondered more than once, how then was it that the phrase “White elephant” came into being. An albino (hence white) elephant is supposed to be in most of south east Asia, sacred, and a sign of prosperity. For the same reason, there were laws protecting them from labor. So if you received a gift of a white elephant from a King, it would be a blessing and a curse - A valuable possession whose upkeep exceeded it’s usefulness. The buses of the state owned KSRTC in God’s own country are locally called elephants. No prizes then for guessing the color.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Children playing, brown women laughing and water gushing down the rocks.
The world moved on as he inhaled the thin spray of water during his mid-noon siesta.
He liked to sleep, you could tell. He liked to sleep, and he was wrathful at men, and their world.
He was free – unlike them - to do as he liked.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Here’s another couple of pictures from last Sunday, which seemingly has got me a mile long queue of pretty ladies waiting for their pictures to be clicked.
This shoot was fun, we had quite an audience gathered behind me watching the show, and some even asked me what magazine I was shooting for . [I wanted to tell her it was called “Little hotties”, but I bit my tongue, and told her the truth. ].
The folks at the coffee shop though wouldn’t ask questions, and treated us like VIPs. Nice. :)
I think I should be doing this more often!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
BENGALURU, IN – T Pem, suddenly n the news for her shaven head and colorful bandanas was spotted being shot on Sunday by an unidentified photographer in various basements of Bangalore buildings.
Reeling from countless pictures and making weird faces, TP received help on the sets in the form of tart-tounged but greatly perceptive friend RS.
Though neither has openly acknowledged it, TP and RS are widely believed to be secretly considering each other as a side kick. "Me and RS, we're like Wonder woman and wonder girl" said said TP, but later admitted that she just made up the wonder girl part. “It’s so unfair that I cant think of any woman superhero with a sidekick!”
Though people generally enjoy having a sidekick, both of them acknowledged that it has it’s own down sides too."TP's a great girl and all, but sometimes it's tough to make my moves when she's always hanging on my sleeve," RS said. "Like, last weekend, we were at this party, and I was trying to chat up this cute guy who looked kinda stoned, and she wouldn't leave my side for a second."
TP and RS concede that the affection is mutual, though not equal.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Arrears are fun things.. Like the Saturday laundry..
Ok, maybe they’re not, but you don’t really have a choice with either of them
A long time ago, Prickster had tagged me to write eight random things about myself. And not so long ago, flyaway mind also tagged me to write eight weird things about myself. Being the lazy bum that I am, I never even wrote one.
The weight of having failed such true blogger friends has been making me lose a lot of sleep, appetite, and not to mention a lot of Reynolds pens from the office stationary shop.
So here goes eight random weird things about myself:
1. You see a weirdo guy wearing an oversized helmet riding a motorbike and doing a dance somewhere on airport road, roll down your window, and say hi.. It’ll probably be me. Very often I get into these mood swings of the happy kind, and then I break into a dance. Yes, I sometimes sing too..
2. I am extremely accident prone. In my toddler years, I am told I used to walk on my toes (much like Fred Flintstone, who I discovered quite late in my childhood) and trip and fall, and get up, only to trip again, and fall again. I used to be called unniyappam (which is a malayalee snack – something like a muffin, only harder, sweeter, and rounder.) for the way my head would be swollen from all the falls every evening. The legacy continues even today.. I’ve locked myself out of the car in an ice storm just outside my house, wearing only a tiny pair of shorts; tore my pants doing some tango at an office party, and I spill hot coffee on myself quite regularly.
3. I’ve never been hopelessly in love, nor tearlessly in pain. I am devoid of extreme emotion. Till date, I’ve not had a fight with anyone that has lasted more than a day, and there is no person that I hate. I’ve never been in love either.
4. I adore snakes, and know more than quite a bit about them. As a matter of fact, I think they’re the most graceful creatures on the planet.
5. I go to boring office meetings just for the pizza. The funny thing is – I don’t particularly like pizza, and I am quite a busy person, but however hard I try, I somehow cannot let the Pizza meeting go by.
6. People tell me I’m a good cook, and that I make the best Sambar in New Hampshire, But here’s my little secret: With the exception of the Sambar, I’ve never been able to cook the same dish twice, and there has never been a cookbook which has worked for me.
7. I love everything about the rain. The sound, the smell, the color and the water. I don’t like the feel of wet cloth though, and so it becomes a major mental conflict every time it starts raining.
8. I am very lazy. Why’s that weird, you might ask.
But figure this: I’ve slept numerous exams off, and to carry my marks cards from college, you’ll probably need a truck, cause there is virtually one for each subject. I’m so used to taking the exams the next time. But I’ve had quite a good career.
The photo: This is my first real attempt at doing child portraits, and i'm pretty happy about this one here. Sriram is a friends' kid, and proved to be a great model.
On the podcast: Guess what I found today - AVIAL!
Also, this is the beta version of my new podcasting stream. I'm looking for you guys to test that one, and tell me if it works. I've phased out Odeo for now. [For those of you who do not know, it's on the side bar. you just have to click the play button - after finding it, that is. :) ]
Saturday, July 07, 2007
It has been a hectic week, and a very fast-paced one. One place to the other, and one thing led to another.
This was shot from over a flyover, and what you see is the passing traffic, and the street lights below.
My muse seems to have totally given up on me, or maybe I’m not trying.
So I’m posting a double entry this week.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
It was yet another day at work, and he liked to work alone. Below him, the sea was calm, with only a ripple over it’s surface.
The calm intimidated him - It always had something to say.
When he was younger, the sea used to turn funny colors and sober down and then there would be days of plenty.
But now it seemed as if ocean had way too many stories to tell. The last time it was still like this, in minutes monster waves came out of nowhere and took homes and lives and children. And then it was quiet once again – as if nothing had happened.
“What have they done to the world..” He shrugged, and started his tiny boat - It was time to go home.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I live on the road, and the road is my home.
How sad it is to live, How sad it is to dream...
But that was a long time ago. Bangalore’s streets have turned out to be a huge marketplace with virtually no overheads.
A majority of the population here is a floating lot, and a prosperous floating lot at that.
If I had the money to spare, I’d definitely invest it here on the streets.
Update: Check out my radio station on the side bar. (I'm the RJ there *wink wink*)
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Just look at the sunset at the end of the road to infinity -
I could spend my life chasing the real, and call life unreal and temporary. And that is what most religions ask me to presume true.
There is the eternal lamp that lights the higher path, they say - walk the path, do not look to your sides, indulgence is a carnal sin.
The sun among the evening clouds at the end of the road is real; But so is the road, and so is infinity.
I seek gratification, and I like to look around - I believe in the drive more than the destination.
How about indifferent?
Monday, June 04, 2007
The kid liked the river in the boat. He had once seen a boat with so much water in it that it became only an outline on the river’s surface.
But there were his friends on the other side, walking up the path that followed the river’s turns to the next village.
It was summer, there was no school, and he wished the boat would go faster.
Monday, May 28, 2007
It was Seven in the morning, but it was long since the day started in the forest. By the reason of its quietness, the walk seemed longer than it naturally should have. And perhaps adding to it was the disappointment from the lack of any real sightings in the morning.
We had woken before first light, and even as we walked through the slush of the previous night’s rains, the pale light was only setting in, giving the dry river bed a shade of solemn grey.
We had hoped to walk into the elephant herd – which we had a chance encounter with, in the dark of the past night, and I was ready – unlike then - with the right lenses, the camera on, and ready to go.
It was dismal crusade – even the persistent elephant scent this morning was a lot lighter, compared to the sharp musky odor that hung heavy in the air the previous night.
The leeches were feasting on my leg, and many were trying to suck the juice out of my shoes as well. There we were – at the riverbed - risking snake bite and impending rain.
The walk would have been a disappointment, had we not spotted this guy high up in the foliage.
[In the pic: A Malabar Grey Hornbill]
Monday, May 21, 2007
It was the kind of rain that would have been as good to go out to, as it would have been to come in from.
Yet I chose to stay thus in my lone rocking chair, with the cup of tea still steaming.
It was getting dark.
[That was the mood of the picture, but it is doctored – Clicked on a hot summer afternoon for a friend who needed it. It took me a mirror, a mug of water, some house plants, and a toothbrush.]
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Run , tear your cloths off, woooooosh and SPLASH!
Whatta whatta fun! :)
These kids were spotted at the river, and this one appeared to be demonstrating his bowling skills as the other two watch closely.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The fiery colors of a flower, the fulgent plumes on a bird and to a man what might seem to be the most physical of attractions - attraction to beautiful women.
Magnetic, and momentary, and functionally so.
Friday, April 27, 2007
“I eat, dog fart. I meet girl, dog fart. I do anything, dog fart.” According to Rednow, his dog was capable of performing the feat so effortlessly, and to perfection, ahead of even his wife. What concerns him, however is that he has a ban from the tribe on letting his dog perform in front of an audience.
Rednow had attempted the act once at a friend’s wedding, and was (mercilessly) beaten up and thrown out. The exhaust gases at the dance had made the dancers desert the venue, and village council had imposed an indefinite ban on bringing his dog to a public function. “He big brain. He see he learn” The tribesman is now facing a risk of being evicted from his own house, and the wife is said to have been seen with ex-boyfriend Guimba very often in the recent past. Guimba is believed to have the best bone knife in the tribe.
“Who say no teach old dog new trick? Who say?” A visibly agitated Rednow was heard saying.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Perhaps it is the collective rage of unspoken disapproval that hangs eternally over the crowded streets of the city, or perhaps it is the hushed personal malice. I can’t say which, but it makes me want to run away.
Because the unsaid is often louder than what’s said.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
What was not said, however was that there was a dense jungle between this village and the next, and that the road to there was almost non-existent.
We were asked to write a letter to the range officer at the check post seeking permission to pass, and the air was heavy with the sounds of the jungle ahead.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Note: The pictures are best viewed at a larger size.
Angamuzhi is the first check post to the jungle while approaching it from west. It is a small town, and the local amenities include a tea shop (with one wooden bench) and a salon.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
“Eda kochaney, one coconut falls on your head, and they wont have to look for coconuts for the chammandi anymore.” Vivekanandan seemed to be amused by the idea of Boshi’s brain chutney being served with dosa. After conducting countless tests of accidentally dropping the massive green, brown and sometimes orange fruits on people’s heads, Vivekanandan’s theory of brain chammandi still remained unproven by and large. He considered himself to be in an elevated social being. For a land that was flat, Vivekanandan really was at it’s summit – on top of the coconut palm. When he was not climbing trees, he was high on Mathai’s patta. Either way, he was way higher than the rest of the village.
What brought Boshimon to the first level of consiousness, however was Kuriakose's generous helping of dog saliva on his face. And as had become customary in the past week, he shouted some class-one obscenities at the dog and started his day thus. Now a dog on the run can't complain about bad language. Although born to a nameless mongrel mother, Kuriakose had inherited most of his features from his father - Dingan, the German Shepherd. It had taken his nameless mother a whole month and a half to seduce Dingan, and when Dingan fell for her ways, it was the talk of the town. The litter had three other puppies, but they were such sorry things, that when the legendary Balakrishna Kurup saw them by the road, they didnt get petted or picked, and hence they didnt get names.
That is how the smaller than usual but German Shepherd like pup went home with Valya Kurup to his new home. He remained there in peaceful co-existance with its other inhabitants, until one day the grandmother of the house suddenly stopped running her race, and the whole household got busy with the obsequeis . Kuriakose was forgotten, and he remained hungry, and tied to the little washing stone in the backyard.
Little Velayudhan was as naughty then as he is now (his ways have changed since). Kuriakose wasn’t quite enjoying the boy’s exotic dance – especially not when he was hungry – and so in a moment of weakness he bit the boy on his little fountain - Hard enough to scare the effluents out of the boy, but not hard enough to do any real damage to his boy-hood. Kuriakose fled, as fast as his four legs (German Shepherd like, but shorter) could carry him, with his tail (unusually bent for a German Shepherd) tucked safely between his hind legs.
(to be continued..)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
No matter how hard Boshimon tried, he couldn’t recollect the last few hours of the previous night. He was drunk. Magnificently drunk. More drunk – drunker than he had ever been before.
Boshimon was born black and it wasn’t his fault. He was on paper, the first day of his life on this world. His mother was sixty three, and grandmother of four. The world was amused. They laughed, and didn’t bother to turn the other way when they did. They laughed on his face – wet laughs – the ones that spray spittle from corners of paan stained crimson mouths. Boshimon, would wipe blobs of frothy liquid from his face and smile back. He had to live.
His grown-up siblings visited him once on the day he was born – or so he was told – with their children and all. He doesn’t remember seeing them, and he hoped they would come when the mother died. They did not.
He was twenty seven, and yet yesterday qualified as the first of his adult life, the first day when he could call the said life his own – when he could look the village in the face, without fear of them calling him his name. He had walked the fields and the well-trodden paths at a steady gait, greeting the old and the un-known. There was not a great deal he could think of to wish for. In the night, on his way out of the toddy shop, he would have danced down the deserted path if it was not for the fear of falling on his face. And yet he fell.
His blood had always attracted the fattest mosquitoes from far out in the kayal, and he had spent the night chasing them away until the breeze put him to sleep again. He was fanning himself frantically when he saw the big face above his own. “They bite like rabid dogs. So, you had the moolavetti, ey?” Sabu was squatting by his side, and had a toothbrush stuck into a corner of his mouth. The effects elicited by the two packs of illicit liquor were spewn all around him, but his otherwise strong sense of smell didn’t seem to take note.
Sabu too hated his father for his name. The girls in the fifth standard classroom had laughed when he had to introduce himself. And the rest of his academic life, everyone called him by his full name of Shehanshah Shahjahan. Why couldn’t they call him Sabu like everyone in the village? Sabu aimed, and spat in a projectile. The toothpaste foam splattered off the coconut tree base, scaring the chicken into another futile attempt at flight.
(to be continued..)
Sunday, February 11, 2007
A year ago, he would have looked at her with so much passion that she blushed.
He would have said things that made her believe - without as much as a trace of a question - that no one had, and would ever have as much reason to love her as he has.
A year ago, the fact that both of them moved in entirely separate circles, with neither having too much of an interest in the other was okay. (It would have been too boring to be in love with a man who did the same thing as you for a living.)
A year ago, she wouldn’t have heard him tap his feet impatiently while he waited for her to finish ranting out about the tough day at work.It may have been because he was more discreet then, or perhaps it was just that she felt too distrait in his presence - Because a year ago, every time he kissed her, it was as though it was the last time he could.
Now not too much was spoken. They were so used to understanding each other without talking that they habitually believed their looks more than their words. That was the natural thing.
The picture is from a Nescafe coffee bar in the city.
Valentines day, I have always believed is one for he chocolate companies and card makers - too clichéd for my taste. But maybe there is another bearing. Many - like them - may be looking for a reason to say "I love you" again.
Happy Valentines day, everyone!
[The text does not describe the illustration or the people in it. Should the people in the picture consider any of this matter inappropriate, please just let me know, and I will be more than happy to remove it immediately.]