Thursday, September 22, 2016


Yesterday night, for the first time in my adult life, I played football in the rain.

I know its a romanticized notion, bunch of brawny all-stars playing football in the rains, slathered in mud and then taking a shower with Cinthol soap as a group of nubile angels from heaven watch on and cheer and hoot and sigh.


Happens only in the mind-numbing skull-splitting ads on TV.

So in reality, we play football every wednesday at this rather nice floodlit, grass-turf near my house. With the Bangalore weather being so un-predictable, some days it rains. Now I have not played football in close to nine years. I am in my 30's - not as fit as I would like to be, but probably a bit ahead of the curve.

But it's pure fun. 90 minutes of grueling exercise that leaves me on an endorphin-high, dog-tired and battered but glowing and radiant at the same time. Probably the most intense work out I get for my carb-inflated, soft body that definitely needs more exercise.

Trust me, in school days I loved football. If there is a sport that I love more than the most revered religion of India (cricket) thats football. I am not crazy - like Man-U stalking, beer guzzling, TV-hugging fan of the game but am more of a world-cup, copa-america, Euro-cup statistics loving, Know only Messi-Ronaldo-Sunil Chetri, watching the biggie matches  or the "Goals!" edition on Star SportsHD kinda fan of the game. But in the school-time, it was more like, all fifteen of us running like headless chickens, scrambling together after that one battered ball all across the field, back and forth, screaming and whooping. It was fun. Not serious.

Here, we still play for fun. But it's serious. It's usually seven-a-side football and wing or defense is where I play. Most teams play in formation; 2-3-2 a balanced one or the more attacking 2-2-3 formation as well. Yesterday we demolished the other side 7-1. I fancied myself to be a decent ball player but I have realized as I have grown older, I have lost the ability to run with the ball for long winded runs. And I'm a bit wary of wading into a scuffle; for fear of twisting an ankle or pulling a hamstring. real fears as we realize this body is not a machine. Sigh.

But still - I think I like this new found love for the game at this age.

Indeed, Joga Bonita People! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Are you happy in your space?

Now this question actually begs to be dissected before we go ahead and answer it. So you see, the operative words here are - "Happy" and "Your Space".

I will get to "Happy" in just a little while.

Now, "Your Space" - is that a sacred ( a play on 'scared' huh? Do you go to your sacred grove when you are scared and grovelling? Excuse the pun intended!) space of yours where you don't let others tread? A world all by yourself, up on cloud number nine when the moon is up and the stars are bright and you keep consoling yourself that everything will be alright. From where you won't come down tonight and all nights that follows.

Most people know me as a quiet, soft spoken fellow who loves to be left to his own devices ( pun!). I often ask myself, am I introverted? Of late, this has been increasingly true. Or it could just be that I just haven't found the right stimulating company. I am almost always on a race against time as with writing and reading occupying a lion share of my wakey-hours, I really don't focus on much else. So that question you ask yourself is going to be, how comfortable are you letting your guards down once in a while when the moon turns blue. And letting some folks in.

The other part about Happy - now that's a relative term and we all know, on a long enough timeline, everything averages back to the mean or plain simple, evens out. I am happy right now. I am in a soul-searching mode right now. I don't let too many things affect me. People would term me wooden or stoic but am just being that monk in search of zen. There are a countless things that should disturb me but then I look at my time-line and decide, hey that's long enough. and I will get there.

Meanwhile, updates from normal life:

Played No Thanks with some colleagues in office. We braved the quizzical looks from people inside the office and finished two games. Refreshing. The guise is, we are learning optimization through this and other board games :)

Listened to a rather nicely laid out presentation on AI by a team member. Passionate but lacking nuances in engaging the audience.

Signed up for a Creative Problem Solving course on Coursera - which I am determined to stick through with.

Here I pause. and I take a deep breathe in. and I let it out, slowly.
Because life....

is in that pause

Sunday, September 4, 2016

On my Knees.

Some days am on my knees. Others I can't believe.

Do these terms reek of worship? Do they convey the ceaseless unwavering belief in the Divine Order? Hark, do you believe in Divinity? The One, they claim can wreck havoc with just a snort?

Why am I speaking these terms today, a cloudy September afternoon? 'Coz perhaps I am truly waking up ( Hey! September is here. And Someone woke me up!) I been trying hard to pen a short story - that involves love and divinity. Something about how your fate lines are sribbled squigglies for the Divine Order but they interject. And you probably need the blessings. In this story, am trying to bring in the concepts of mythical or fantastical trying to influence a real life feeling - this boy has for this girl and the extent to which he would go, to ensure they ring true.

It's a work in progress - I hope to wrap it up in a day or two but you know me. Distractions. Laziness supremo. and rest of life keeps intervening. I do have this long weekend free - so maybe, I should get back to it. I promise to post it up here sometime soon.

Till then, get up. Don't just supplicate yourself to a power you've not seen. if you believe, then you will. That's all that matters. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lamhaa - Review.

Old Legacy saying, “You almost always regret your impulsive decisions.”

I had almost thought I had won over such old-world-thinking in the past few months because all my impulsive decisions had come out winners. Not this one. Not yesterday night. Blame it on PVR. Blame on the director of this movie.

So here’s the backdrop – I went yesterday night to this much-frequented Mall ( which in my opinion should always be the monument for love – you ask me why? Ah. We sidetrack here – well. Picture this – You would say I’m yanking yours as how can you compare the grand-gala-in-stone Taj Mahal to this piece-of-crap monstrosity built on Glass and Concrete called the Mall? Ahem. It’s a convoluted argument – love probably is one of the causes for man to create his progenies. I’m referring to the process of continuing our lineage through reproduction. So this leads to population explosion when it comes to passing on more and more of our genes through unconditional love. So there, love leads to over-population. And the Mall is always filled to the nano-inch with over-populated crowd of Bangalore. Hence the Mall being a monument of love. Holy Crap. Yes. Now that I’ve got you pooh-poohing at me for such trivial pursuits of leisure, let’s get back to the review.

Blame it on the director. So yesterday I went to watch a night-show. There was only this hindi movie called Lamhaa at this time. I had read about this movie – it purportedly captures the untold story of Kashmir. I have been fascinated by movies on Kashmir. I totally loved Mission Kashmir, Maachis, or even Laqshya if you wanna call it a Kashmir Movie. And this one had Sanjay Dutt who always commands respect with his towering screen presence. So without too many misgivings in my mind about this one, I decide to bite the bullet. I buy the tickets.

We’re already ten minutes late and the first scene that hits out at me, is a confused police raid happening and Sanjay Dutt, full with a salt and pepper beard and dark sunglasses and a heavy scarf tied around his neck rescues Bipasha Basu ( Oh Did I say Bipasha Basu?!! Yes, I did. There, you sat up and took notice did you? Unfortunately for all you Male with flaming libidos, Bipashu for the first time ever since I saw her on silver screen is fully clad from head to toe, and not a hint about her lascivious figure he flaunts in her Gym Video. So switch off!) – after which he tries some flirty lines with her when she questions him about who he was. We understand maybe that’s his introduction to the story-line.

After this, we’re taken on a heady ride, into the dark convoluted minds of jihadis, political maestros, bloody-thirsty businessmen who profit through running gun-rackets, drug-peddling, selling the dream of an Azaad Kashmir, Pakistani and Afghani terrorists, the do-gooder revolutionary activists who really care about the dreams of Kashmir. Interesting to note is that the movie goes on about Kashmir having an independent identity for itself. And it’s not really an India-bashing-Pakistani ISI movie. That was a fresh take.

And yet at the end of a short two hours, we still come away untouched, feeling empty and glum because the story never moves you. It’s brutal. Unapologetic. Raw. The manner in which director has captured the extend of infiltration of the Terrorists into every-day Kashmir is indeed admirable.

But the reason I believe we come out without having any of our chords ringing, is that it does not really have that one hero or protagonist for whom I would have felt like cheering. That was missing. All lead characters went through their lines without too much emotion. Kunal Kapoor, hunk, beard, sunglass et al. Completely insipid. Should go back to drama school. Your heart goes out to the poor soul trying to incite a crowd for his new political party that is supposedly the good-guys-party. I mean, C’mon! You wouldn’t be able to incite even a mosquito for your campaign the slow mechanical way in which you gave your “Fiery” dialogues. Bah!

Sanjay Dutt. Ahem, I really don’t know where he came into the plot. Or the reason why he was there. The only connect which should have been pursued, was his Commanding officer who was interacting and giving him instructions. But the director felt that it was a useless loose end and ends up killing off that character in a surprise coup by some unknown assailants on Sanjay and his CO.

Spoiler Alerts: Anupam Kher. What a waste of this talent powerhouse. Lame and insipid villain. Hardly a few lines to mouth.

Bipasha Basu. Surprisingly I found her okay, as a woman of substance. Played her role as a fire-brand activist well. There were a few other side characters who could have been pursued and built upon, but never really end up as substantial. The brooding Afghani Jihadi who is masterminding everything, menacingly called Badshah had tremendous potential. But sadly never realized in the movie. I don’t even remember what happened to this guy by the end.

In fact the movie doesn’t even have a climax. It just ends on a very tepid tame note. And suddenly the end credits begin to roll. I was like, Hullo? Ashamed to admit this, but the last ten minutes of the movie, I actually was nodding off. Drifting in and out of sleep.

A very shoddy script. But some positives. A very brave effort to keep it out of the ordinary. And try new stuff. Like the camera shots. The camera keeps panning and jumping, even on a normal scene, expecting you to believe that, yes, maybe something nasty is going to spring out. Watch out. But alas. The script doesn’t go along these lines. And yes, Bipasha Basu can emote and not just do jhatkas or gym exercises.

So much for movie on Kashmir expectations. Shall be more careful on my next impulsive movie decision.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A midnight sojourn with God.

An Assassin series by a new author.

A gunner hunting down digital zombies and on the run from the system.

A tear-jerker SRK movie that surprisingly wasn’t overboard and mostly enjoyable.

A Hallmark-driven marketing campaign, otherwise known as Singles Awareness Day.

A taut thriller of a movie, obscure and off beat, but simply marvellous.

You take your pick, as to what I should be expounding on. Personally, I pick the last. But for those who are stalking me ( ah, the very unfortunate rarefied set of nincompoops!) I shall deliver the details of everything else before that too.

So, this was the first time in my life when I decided I would go say Hello to God (ahoy there! Howdy?) for one of these festivals that celebrates staying up all night and playing cards/ludo/street-light cricket ( Nay, I ain’t exaggerating when I say, this one is celebrated by staying up all night – My dad does a suprise on all of us by going this place called Aluva Manappuram – literally translated to Aluva sandy beaches where Shivarathri is pretty huge deal !!) anyways coming back to me, I pay a visit to a nearby temple to pay my respects and pray for the general good of Humanity, more so for me and near ones. After close to an hour of waiting in the queue, i finally glimpse the God, fund the pundits’ welfare association by dropping money into the Hundi. I came away with two things that stuck with me – the duo of music players playing nadasvarram and dholak ( if I may call it so). Largely ignored by the public, quietly sitting in the corner and gustily playing the instruments. Let me tell you, it takes a lot to play that wind instrument. Strong pair of lungs. The easy effortless camaraderie between the older man playing the reed-pipe instrument and the younger man vigorously going hammer-and-tongs on the tavil or the traditional drums was a treat. It takes years of practice to reach that level of easy confidence. But few have tried to translate it to the rock scene - take a look at this:

The second was this lanky guy wearing a black t-shirt. And the message on that t-shirt:
www. :-)
lets say I found another e-comm site to surf around.
Well tomorrow, as all of us know is the Singles Awareness Day celebrated with a lot of pomp and splendour by couples-struck-by-that-bald-silly-kid with a bow and arrow. Lets rest it that now, shall we.

Okay I skip the rest and fast forward – the books are passé, good stuff but fiction that dies out a week after you put them down. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of promising new writers on the fantasy horizon. I love it. For all you fantasy-hungry waiting to devour a new author who can finish his series within countable number of parts to it ( unlike Robert Jordan who passed away leaving a lot of us hanging over the precipice or George RR Martin who sleeps for years after he finishes any book in the series) – Brent Weeks, Jeff Somers, Brian Ruckley, Mark Chad Newton. Tip of the iceberg. I am slowly devouring that berg :D

So coming down to the last item on the list, the taut thriller movie. Manorama, Six Feet Under. A very obscure, low-budget movie set in rustic Rajasthan. About a struggling author and the strange intriguing circumstances that befall him. Its beautifully shot, the camera capturing the lovely desert landscapes of an ancient rajasthani village, doing full justice to this land. It’s no secret, I love this land as I spent four years of growing up at Pilani. That was another reason why I loved the movie, drenched deep with nostalgia at the lovely dunes that unfolded on the screen. Apart from that, the linear and yet convoluted storyline that keeps making you grab for that edge of the chair, lest you take a fall yourself. Twists, intrigue, mystery, murder, everything that you need to form a crackling dark thriller. I was very impressed with this small-time movie and have resolved to dig up such gems from the past and devour it myself. Abhay Deol, the quintessential off-beat hero, pays full justice to the role of the unwilling author-turned-detective with his dark brooding on-screen presence. But that said, I believe what lends credence to the movie is the small and colourful sidekicks. Be it the mysterious old taxi-driver who has just 2 lines in the movie “Raat Toofani gayi ka?” or the goons with rib-crackling punch-lines or be it the brother-in-law, mouthing guttural rajasthani wisecracks ( take this, “baal hi kaatwana, naada math katwaaana jeeje” – meaning – “take down the hair and not the pants, brother-in-law” ) all in all, a neat package. Thoroughly enjoyable, haunting soundtrack, great measured performances.

Now I shall wing it, coz I got to celebrate love. After all, today’s valentines day. Wink!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One in a Million

What happens when Masala Director from Kollywood, known for dishing out potboilers with always a racy ( read rated A with a big fat circle around it) twist to it, attempts big budget Hollywood movie? You get a completely botched up attempt at South Indian history, a movie called Ayirathil Orruvan. Meaning one in a thousand.
I subjected myself to this horrific torture that lasted more than three grueling hours, all in repentance for some past life sins I think. Now I can breathe easy my Karma Counter ain’t ticking.
The plot is ambitious. A adventure across the seas to find out the Lost Island City where Chola kings have been hiding for centuries, so that they can come back to their original lands in India. Movie starts well enough, with an old archeologist going missing and another team setting out to trace him. This quest forming the whole meat of the first half. Now, time-out – Unfortunately when the movie ends, you have NO CLUE as to, WTF happened to that old archeologist. Director doesn’t seem to care. Plot derail number one.

Throughout, we are subjected to lot of gore. I think, this movie perhaps beats John Rambo part 4 in terms of number of killings per minute. I lost the count at perhaps around two hundred per minute. Insane. Gross. Disgusting.

Songs, picturised on zombies and blood sucking vampires break out for no apparent reason in the middle of forests. Another one, shot on the two lead heroines and our unfortunate hero, happens as soon as they sight the lost city. Agreed, director has to yield to the general public who cannot live without songs and dabban-kuthu dance movies in tamil movies. But this one, had me diving for cover in shame and desperation, as the two ladies gyrated in complete disdain for Indian moral values and even has a ménage-a-trois with our unfortunate hero. You need some 377-plus for this now.

The first half is linear and still pretty much okay, except for a few insane killings when villagers get slaughtered by army men in quest for the city. It has it moments, the snake-fest when camp gets over-ridden by pipe-like graphic cobras. (snigger) or the word-war in English between the two lead heroines involving a lot of F-words, B-words and use of female anatomy wholly unheard of in Tamil Cinema Or the sand-dunes and whirl-pools which is negated only by the shadow of the stone-henge ( I thought ths was a brilliant ruse!) Agreed, I haven’t seen this level of sophistication in cinematography for kollywood.

It is only when after having found the Lost Empire of Cholas, that director gets a brain-seizure and lets the plot go haywire and completely bizarre. Our three main protagonists suffer some kind of soul-invasion. From here on, I was just baulking at the screen.

We’re transported to the underground city of malnourished, black and skinny cholas ruled over by a fat, madcap of a King who keeps grunting and making a lot of animal noises in general. The black, (disgusting looking painted on-coal black) I presumed because these poor bastards have not seen sunlight in ages and are living on scraps of meat that the King brings in for them. Given to dancing like possessed witches, starved to the point of cannibalization, and bloody games involving giants thrashing out unfortunate prisoners head with a plastic boulder on a chain. I mean, Come On! Mr. Selvaraghavan, who the hell taught you History of South India? An uninhibited massacre of our rich Pandya and Chola culture.
This was their main repast? Phew! Dude, wake up. Such grossly horrific misinterpretation of precious past leaves a lot to be desired.

The plot just kept going downhill on turbo-charged nitro boosters. One of the heroines suddenly gets reminded that she’s a blood-thirsty Pandian lusting for the fat madcap chola king ( Played to the perfection by quirky weird Parthibhan who I think is the secret weapon in the movie, Director’s surprise for viewers. Sorry, if this was a spoiler.)

I was literally cringing in my seat at the attempt of bharatnatyam by Reema Sen ( the blood thirsty Pandian, remember?) and what follows as supposed seduction scene of the King. My stomach was hurting from the bouts of laughter at the end of it. I mean, Hot Damn! Reema darling, you are such an underrated actress, you ought to get more such meaty roles to sink your vampire teeth into. ( God, I still cant stop smiling at her antics, it was simply hilarious!)
The climax which involves another round of mindless killings of the chola foot-soldiers braving blazing uzi sub-machine guns with just iron shields and spears, is another example of how deranged the director’s mind has become. I think the movie must have consumed the poor guy. Such a disastrous depiction. The army men, hungry wolves in human form, then go on a killing rampage and rape every living soul in the Cholan empire. Here’s where our hero ( Yeah yeah, there is a hero, Come On! Time to wake up and play the role, my son.) rises up to be the Aayirathil Orunvan ( One in a Thousand) and disappears into the darkness with the heir-apparent of Chola Empire. Leaving a lot of room for part-II. Of course.

Our Hero, Karthi who does one movie in three years ( Yes, Aamir Khan here comes your competition, ha!) provides comic relief and is probably the only bright spark in the movie. But otherwise, a perfectly good way to mess up your weekend. Buoyed on by promises of an adventure quest and time-travel, I fell prey to this grand epic of a cataclysmic disaster in the movie world. Am sure, critics have reviewed this and touted it to be an achievement in Tollywood. Well, I would put it as the same. The achievement of how a wholly deranged mind (subject to a troubled childhood) interprets and slaughters our dear South Indian Culture.
Go read your textbooks sir, before you make Lara-Croft meets Mummies- meets – The Ruins- part two for this One in a Million grand gala.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No wrinkles, Only Smiles.

I realize it has been like close to some ten-times-haley’s comet-passing-over since I penned down something. Suffice to say, life has been moving on nitro-turbo-boosters.

You would be glad to know I have come back to love all the small things of life.

I sat basking in the early morning rays of sunlight, glinting from between green glades, winking and teasing me, as the light breeze caressed my sleepy face.

I sat listening to the sibilance of myriad of insects going about their day in the woods.

I hummed along as the radio played a stupid mushy love-ballad bollywood-shtyle.

I’m reading one of my school-day-favorite-authors, Gerald Durell. Surprisingly, am cruising along on the book. I have always loved reading up his books, the hilariously funny anecdotes on exotic animals and his mad capers around the world, trying to conserve some of the most adorable fauna.

I’m rediscovering how much fun it is, to finish a book in good time.

To splurge on books.

To wander around the myriad cute little garden-café’s in town, tucked away in little obscure corners, away from raucous noisy college-going-wannabe-banglorean-kids.

Drinking jus one cuppa and staring into nothing. With not a thing in the world that can bring a crease onto your forehead. No wrinkles. Only Smiles.

Coz I’m falling into the void again.

It’s funny how you try to measure your life by the things you’ve done and not by the things you want to do. I realize there are a lot more things I would like to do. And for that, my life is very rich and well-lived 

An old acquaintance who was once a good friend, passed away into the shadows and surprisingly, the hurt never came. New friends keep greeting me everyday. But the warmth never shines through from their eyes. I care less.

Coz I found warmth elsewhere.
A warm that suffuses through my soul and never lets the cold touch it again. And it never will, thank God for small mercies in life.

I love my life.