Friday, November 11, 2011

The attack

S1 : The wind gained speed as he ran like a dog on a fiery chase. The ground was dark and firm, there were no obstacles to be seen for miles, or so he thought. It shook him when the wooden barrier hit him in the face. It's dark colour had deceived him. When he emerged from the other side he felt the small pieces flying in the air around him, but he did not stop. The log house was not too far now. His hands slowly felt for his sword.

S2 : She loosened her grip on the rope. While slithering down slowly she sharpened her senses, dulled her memory and felt the heat in her palms. Her sword did not feel heavy now. The log house was in sight even though the air was foggy. She felt the ground and saw the three guards at the same time. They were motionless but she could feel their alertness.

S3 : He saw the house, the guards and her in that order. The guards spotted him before they had a chance to see her. She ran up the now unguarded staircase. The dust under her footsteps didn't fly up nor the the vibrations leave the planks as she hit them.



Old Garden

Revolutions are mostly filled with stories of pain. The movie starts with Oh coming out of Jail after 20 years and trying to pick up his broken life with his family. He was imprisoned for his role in Gwangju revolt. His lover and the mother of his kid has died while he was in jail of cancer. Her daughter is living somewhere unaware of her father. He tries to retrace the parts of his life which he spent with Han and we are thrown back and forth between present and past and sometimes into a sweetly drawn dream world in Yuans mind.
Do the stories about communist revolutions across the world have similar structure? That was the question on my mind while watching "The Old Garden". At the end i felt this one was told in a much better way than many others. I was painfully ignorant about the communist movement in South Korea and that prevented me from properly understanding the mindset of these revolutionaries. But some faces from the movie left deep impressions on my mind.
The first one would be the protaganist, Oh the young revolutionary who greeted dissuaders who cared about him with a sweet smile. He hid a very strong mind which took the harshest decisions and carried them out behind a deceptive handsome face. Strong conviction in ones ideals, fearlessness and comraderie are typical traits of revolutionary heroes. But the way he would react to the recurring thoughts about the oppression of the state and the cruelty it has perpetrated on his comrades and innocent people was not at all a stereotype. The rage came out as tears.
Then the girl who gave him shelter and protection when he was in hiding, Han who became his lover. She was herself a revolutionary. Her comments when Oh leaves sums up the stereotype female companion of revolutionary heroes, "I fed you, i gave you shelter, i even let you fuck me, why are you leaving?" But above that she was a cool character. She was a revolutionary who was fiercely independent and very feminine. At some point in the movie the story is told from Han's perspective. We could see her mocking at the current state of the revolution and the revolutionaries.
The character which was most memorable was the female comrade who immolated herself while protesting against the factory authorities. The picture of her standing at the factory gate with leaflets and persuading other employees to join the protest and then standing firm when the police tries water cannon to disperse them is still clear in my mind. And later her cries just before she set herself on fire protesting the injustice in firing her. Somehow her voice conveyed the defiance in her, along with her feelings of helplessness.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Incredible Bulk prepares...

...To fail spectacularly.
It is 3:02 AM and I am about to throw in the towel. I am looking at this 'Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT Exam' by Arun Sharma with equal parts of horror and admiration. Apparent short cuts involve memorizing squares and cubes of numbers 1 thru 20 AND their bloody inverses. If showing an aptitude to a skill in management requires demonstration of brute force number crunching skills, what really is the point? That might be just me trying to rationalize my inability to play a game whose rules have changed. But I really do want to do well in this test (which is not the CAT, by the way) as am just a few leaps of faith away from burning some solid bridges.

For the better part of 3 years, I have been struggling with reconciling my expectations with my life. While I still do not have a clear idea of what I want. I have become an intuitive expert in what I don't. I have not been very good in how I went about with managing this gap. It began with denial ("It is a phase. You will get over it"), anger ("if this is the best there is, logic states that things can only get worse"), self pity/loathing ("Man up, loser! There are people who would give an arm and a leg to be where you are now") and general disinterest in my own well-being.

At some point a change had to be forced and status quo disturbed. This is the logical attempt. I have given a haphazard, half-assed interview to a panel of IIM-A professors where my star statement was - "I don't follow current affairs nearly as much or as well as I should." - 1 point for honesty and -100 for general stupidity. Now I am following up on that with an equally (or possibly, even worse) effort on a shot at the IRMA entrance exam on Nov 14th.

The worst part is that I have taken 10 weeks off including a month on loss of pay to ostensibly prepare for these interviews and exams. Going back to work would be the worst thing that can happen to me now. Even as I wait for my Bullet Thunderbird to be delivered, the temptation is rather great to just hop on and ride away into a sunset. With no destinations or routes in mind.

Escapism has always been my strong suite...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

AHA | Anger, Hunger and Anxiety!

facet films in association with neo-ram-zeus trinity presents....

AHA | Anger, Hunger & Anxiety!

Scene 1:
07:30 AM. Jameel hurriedly signs in at the biometric attendance machine, greets no one, walks to his desk, docks the laptop, switches on the LCD, presses Function-F4 to wake up the sleeping laptop, maximizes the Microsoft Outlook window, presses F5, sees "Sending/Receiving messages", stares away into oblivion and sips from the new 500 ml Al Ain pet bottle. Anxious about what will arrive? No way....

Scene 2:
1:15 PM. Anushka tries to focus on the vendor's delivery methodology and risk mitigation plan, being massacred by the in-house team, in the board-room. Her stomach grumbles for the cut-fruits a few meters away. Everyone seems satisfied with Tea & Cigarette breaks. Hungry? No way…

Scene 3:
4.15 PM: Harry looks around his cubicle. It’s almost empty. The corporation teaches him to slog for another man’s selfish motives. Angry? No way…
Cut to…. The past…..

Scene 3A:
Harry and his friends flutter around the notice board. Has he been shortlisted out of the 300 others who applied? Anxious?

Scene 2A:
The taxi driver rolls down the window and asks “Where to?” . “Sharjah “ – Anushka replies meekly. That one too whizzes away. Granted, its rush hour, but he has not right to pick and choose a passenger! – Angry?

Scene 1A:
Jameel is balancing on the aluminium ramp and clamping network cables. It’s the 55th floor of an unfinished sky scraper, and it must be atleast 40+ in the room. He wipes beads of sweat from his forehead, and decides to continue with another hour of machine like repetitive clamping. It would take 25 minutes for him to get to ground zero and find something to eat. Hungry?

Dissolve into ….. Logo of AHA. Its like a chemical formula. One H atom and 2 A atoms… all 3 balls connected by coloured lines. The H-A relationship a double bond. The A’s are not connected. H in blue and A in black….

Roll credits….

Phew!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Primer

Post vacation, I have been diagnosed with Acute Sinusitis and Acute Pharyngitis. I am on a 7 day course of Augmentin, Olfen, Otrivin and occasionally Panadol whenever I get fever. I am also on a 2 day sick leave , which has cost me an additional 900 rupees (Just to prove that I am sick, the doctor writes a certificate and the ministry of health stamps it, and charges me - fantastic! its a crime to be sick - even if you are only sick for 2 days in 3 years?)

So, I decided to watch "Primer" - IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390384/


I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. I am completely lost ... what does it mean?. If anyone has found any meaning to all of it, do let me know.
Meanwhile, I have decided not to give up and watch the next one "Pi".

Saturday, July 30, 2011

TED | My new found escape

For a long time, the only sites I used to visit were lifehacker.com, zenhabits.net, gulfnews.com ...


Not anymore, I have found a brilliant collection of talks by the most fascinating minds of our times --- www.ted.com. I spend an hour or two ,every Friday, listening to the talks. They are short (not more than 20 minutes), minimalistic, and truly matching the categorization the site has given - jaw-dropping, courageous , inspiring, informative.......

Here are some

Jaw-dropping:
A Robot bird that flies
The thrilling potential of Sixth Sense - by Pranav Mistry
Underwater Astonishments



Ingenious:
A rosetta stone for the Indus Script

Courageous & Disturbing at the same time
Sex Slavery & Trafficking in India


Funny:
Close up card magic tricks


Or , if you prefer the youtube way, search for "TED" on youtube. I am not sure, if all the talks are posted there.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Father

For the longest of times, I was my momma's boy (in every sense, you damned cynics!) and pops always found the easiest way to get to my nerves.
The man was impeccable.
Everything I was not.
Restrained, patient, intelligent and compassionate.

I spent the last ~30 years trying not to be like him and I find myself copying his mannerisms and catchphrases to the point where I cannot recognize myself anymore. Maybe he is not such a bad guy, after all...

Organisized

One of these days I have to do that myself just so that I can post here with any form of regularity. I have lost the inspiration to create any kind of contrived lyrical structures, that I call poems (Its mine and I have rights to name it what I want).

But half way through most drafts, I do hit delete and go back to sleep. I wish there was some way where I could train myself to sleepblog.

It might be way more interesting, unrestrained and actually readable.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 c & b Life

After almost 10 years, I watched a cricket match from start to end, and I must say it was worth it. India won the world cup! I was literally jumping around in my room , and could hear "Jai Ho!" and the sorts from every window around. This means, I could tell my daughter when she grows up - "We won the world cup!". I used to feel envious of the generation before me, who used to boast about the good olden days of Kapil Dev, when India won the world cup. Not anymore.
I don't know why I got so carried away, but it was truly an emotional moment. This also set me thinking in a freakonomics way -- Will this explode the market for cricket consumables and "Dhoni" wannabes ? or has it already? It is said that the cosmetics industry boomed in India after Aiswarya became the miss of the world and Susmita became the miss of the universe. :-) This also means that kids now get to say something like "I want to be a cricketer". Ouch!


---- This post has remained in the Draft Mode for quite some time and must be published!

Although I intended to add "Turning 30" to this post, I forgot what I wanted to blog about. So, I publish the draft as-is :)

Friday, April 08, 2011

My music. My curse.

Is it that I really like music or just that I am much more afraid of silence?
Do I really want to stay immersed in this unfulfilled threat of violence?
Every song I know has something that irks me in at least one minor way.
Maybe its my pursuit to find the perfect song that has kept my real world at bay.
Each time I come across something fresh and something new,
I abuse it relentlessly until I hate it too.
Looping tracks over time, I keep my earphones plugged in right.
Songs during daytime to drown my co-workers and songs to drown my thoughts at night.
Here take this phrase and twist it into rhyme.
Fit it to this situation as you do time.
Lamest bands with the most clich├ęd of lines.
I contort my brain for some connected vibes.

Still I post lyrics, videos and critiques
On social networks, quite anti-socially.
Hoping someone, sometime, shares mutual experiences
The only manner with which to bridge these distances.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Kryptonite for every superman

Wakes up at 6:30 and hops on to the treadmill.
The figurative kind. Imagine it, if you will.
Sleepwalking through the ablutions, until
Scalding jets from a shower head shrill.

Wakes you up for good. At least for now.
You pour a bowl of cereal, with milk in tow.
Distracted, unable to straighten your brow.
Time to commute and make it somehow.

Some days there's conversation on the way,
on others, just silence and mutual dismay.
On the automaton lives we live in this day.
Herded through paths without a say.

Yet in horizon, shining bright.
Like the only moon on a cloudy night.
You rise towards its dizzying height.
You embrace it even if its your kryptonite.


- Was sitting idle on my draft section for a long time. Finishing it felt necessary, though not satisfactory. Parts of it are fabrications. Most of it is untrue. But then you always knew that, didn't you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another day in the rest of my life

One of the most boring cliches used is "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" - Isn't that true for every day?

And what does whatever done on day 1 have to do with how the rest of the days turn out to be? Too long I have waited for a defining moment where the slate would be wiped clean, I would break out of my shell and become the true man leading the life I so want to.

I think me constantly struggling inside my shell is my definition. If I ever got out, I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself. I am defined by the act of escaping. But that implies that I absolutely need this prison to continually plot my escape.

Sometimes I pause to think of how my life should play out. It is nothing like what is going on right now. I also think if there are others like me. Others who are bothered by the disconnect between what is happening and what could be/should be/would be happening instead. And the funny part is when I really think about it hard, I cannot visualize the exact life I might be living, all I can sense is a strong sense of rejection of this life that I am currently living in. It's like a body rejecting a donor organ even if that organ is necessary for survival. It's like the body's statement that it will be defined by the struggle rather than the survival.

I think it is my role to struggle and always feel like an outsider. It tires out the brain rather easily and makes it restless. The best part of my day is when I am driving back home around 10:30 at night. I plug in my headphones under my helmet and play my music as loud as I dare to while driving through Chennai traffic. Its probably the best 20 minutes of the day when there is nothing between the ears but blessed music.

This is as confusing a blog I have posted in a long time. But just as real as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Observations of an Unknown Indian

It has been 3 weeks and 3 days since said unknown Indian has returned after nearly 5 years. The more the things change, the more they remain the same.

1. Bachelors in the IT industry are the lowest on the totem pole of rentable individuals. If you know what happens at the bottom of totem poles or any similar pole in India, you know that it is an unenviable location.
2. In 5 years my salary has more than doubled. Expenses are, however, projected to more than triple.
3. 'But you work in IT' is an acceptable reason to be overcharged, shortchanged and out-negotiated in any transaction.
4. Auto drivers seem surprisingly reasonable these days. Maybe the negativity over compensated on this one.
5. Commutes are unreasonable, fraught with danger and can suck the life out of the most chipper of us.
6. Maybe it's December, but the weather is glorious with barely any crippling rains or sapping heat.
7. Air conditioners are operated at a very high premium. Hotels don't run it. IT companies turn it off at night.
8. People have ready inputs on why you might have made a poor deal. Not one has offered a better deal, however.
9. Go with the flow but realize and recognize there ate some things that you must stand up for or against.
10. Despite all the obvious problems, the proximity to friends and family eliminates the captivity of negativity.

Good to be home.