Thursday, August 04, 2011


I finally bought a Macbook Pro after much debate with myself. On the lines of 'It's too expensive, you can buy two (shitty) W7 books for the price. But it's awesome...And you can work on a real Unix based system, that's much more robust and less prone to malware than the W. But then, why don't I buy a Linux book instead. Yeah, but the graphics in Linux are semi-good and well, it's got that open source feel to it...And yeah, Mac's too damn expensive. But dammit, it is awesome....' for days on end.
After a lifetime of criticizing Apple fanboys I've turned into one myself today. Not solely due to the quality of the product, but because using the damn thing is a constant reminder of what a difference passion and vision can make in our lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ZNMD, agreed, but...

So I watched Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara over the weekend. I found the movie to be average, unlike some of my friends who really liked the movie. Parts of the movie bored me and most scenes seemed like fillers between the more laugh-worthy scenes. Maybe watching a movie in a theater does that to you - the audience reaction is strongest when an actor cracks a good joke.
I also found the movie to be a gorgeous, three hour extended advertisement for Spain. The Spanish government will doubtless felicitate Zoya Akhtar for doing yeoman's service to the Spanish tourism industry in the days to come.
The endeavor seems cliched. We've all heard it, right, all the time? Carpe Diem, seize the day, live every moment as if it were your last, yada yada...
So we're made to feel that working too hard is pointless and a waste of one's lifetime because, well, it's just work. That it may also be one's passion incidentally comes across in the character of the artist and we immediately have a contradiction. Life, on the other hand, a truly meaningful life, apparently involves doing things like witnessing nature's beauty, facing one's demons and coming to terms with that imperfect relationship one is stuck in and having no regrets. Doing things to earn a living is run-of-the-mill but doing them for oneself is apparently what matters, is what we're indirectly told through couplets scattered throughout the movie and through the medium of the artist. Work is work, silly, not life. I don't know if you felt it too, but this vague sense of being talked down to pervaded the movie.
And so, despite all the spontaneity of Farhan Akhtar and the beautiful Spanish vistas and the wonderful music in the song, Jo bhi ho so ho, I found the movie to be just average.
And yeah, the lyrics of the song don't suit the chorus (or the other way around). So this dude feels his life has changed after this moment and now he doesn't give a f&^k about what happens, right? But he's supposed to, correct? Carpe Diem and all that jazz? Nitpicking, am I?

Friday, May 27, 2011

South of the Border

Watched this documentary recently.
Seemed gushing and lacked equal depth, concentrating more on Chavez than other leaders.
But it is informative and provides an alternate perspective to the US MSM narrative of South American politics, leaning leftwards now more than ever before in the second half of the 20th century. It's difficult to get an unbiased viewpoint in these matters, but if you have two extreme viewpoints at opposite ends of the spectrum one can often assume that the truth sits uncomfortably in between.
I especially liked Stone's monologue towards the end in which he says something to this effect "...this interventionist capitalism must be replaced by a more benign capitalism..."
Amen to that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Easily offended

'End all economic and political ties with Australia...', read a placard. A bunch of protesters held a hastily made cut-out of Goddess Lakshmi killing Mahishasura. In a classic demonstration of a blend of artistic imagination and timeliness, the demon was drawn wearing what looked like Australian cricket team colors. When reminded that it was Durga who killed the said demon, he replied, 'Barobare, tumhala bhavana pochlya na?'

After an hour of slogan chanting, when the press had disappeared, the 'activists' began to disperse. One protester was seen asking another, 'Photo-bito baghitlas ka?'
'Chya maayla, lai maal hote ki nahi...'

Friday, April 08, 2011

This headline may be misleading.

I'm sure this has happened to you. You're skimming through your regular newspaper/news website, reading all the headlines to make sure you don't miss anything interesting. And then it catches your eye. A headline that uses a clever play on words, perhaps. Or one that seems to pronounce judgement on a controversial topic. Or one that selectively quotes or interprets the contents of an interview. Or one that is polemic in nature. I've found that such headlines serve their intended purpose quite well. They make me stop and read through the corresponding article out of sheer curiosity, if not interest. Often times though, the article does not convey the message that the headline does, highlighting the dangers of paraphrasing in our age of 140 character messages. A case in point - this article.

The headline got my attention and I began reading the article with the mental image of another condescending columnist shining light on topics they 'know' nothing about. To my surprise, I found that the article was nicely written, not know-it-all in tone and was well intended, if somewhat obvious to a reasonably tolerant person. All good. What then is my point? Compare the headline with the concluding para in the article. While the headline itself conveys that the author somehow 'knows' how God thinks, the concluding para has a more careful, even wishful tone regarding God's thought process.

It's a tight rope to walk, keeping those headlines short, simple and yet conveying information on the one side and grabbing eyeballs without misinforming on the other.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Only you, TOI, only you...

If you ever suspected that Bollywood and the Pakistani defense establishment had links, then you must be congratulated for your intuition and uncanny ability to divine these things. TOI has finally unearthed these links and has reported them in this article.
Before TOI realizes that this is sensitive information and changes the text of the article, I must quote from it:
In 2009, ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha attended an iftar dinner by Indian envoy to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal, which was seen to herald some kind of a thaw. Earlier, too, India had asked to engage the Pakistani army chief, but to little avail. The Pakistani army chief leads the strategic dialogue process with the US, which includes both civilian and military components in the talks. But India remains wedded to the civilian establishment, and has historically only engaged the Pakistani army chief after he has taken over power in a coup.

Kayani is a different kettle of fish. Having declared to be "India centric", the chain-smoking quiet Pakistani army chief has generally been seen to be the most hostile army leader.

Yash Raj Films will have a catalogue of 56 movies online, while Karan Johar is in the process of releasing his films on the internet for fans in the US.

There you go. Crystal clear, the link between the two, innit?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Here's wishing you a Happy....

....and Prosperous/Healthy New Year.

How many times have you heard that greeting already?
I wonder why people feel the need to include 'Healthy' and 'Prosperous' (notice the Caps) in addition to 'Happy'?
Doesn't 'Happy' cover all bases?
Can one be happy without being prosperous? (Maybe)
Without being healthy? (Don't think so)
Are they hinting, like I did a while back, that happiness may not be the most important thing?
Do I suffer from work-induced ADD?
Did Kennedy do Monroe?
Did Israel bug Natanz?
Can all questions be answered?
Should they be?

(Stuxnet link courtesy Ali P. via email)