Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Over a couple of beers and a few plates of dal pakora (me) and chilly chicken (him) and a club sandwich (both), we lounged out at the bar and watched the highlights of India's epic victory over England at Chennai yesterday. Personally, this match to me seems a watershed in Indian cricket history. The authority and clinical approach with which India did this echoes what Sehwag said after the match about "this team believes it can achieve anything".
I told Horse that this was a perfect evening. Work till late and then hit the local watering hole for a couple of beers and watch a brilliant test match unfold on the telly. Life could barely get better on one of the "regular" days.
Horse laughed. And said, "I agree but I must say, this reminds me of that ad which went: BOYS WILL BE BOYS".
Monday, December 15, 2008
Couple of interesting things about last week:
1. My laptop was with Bulla, he needed to work urgently on some stuff.
2. I worked, I worked and I worked some more. ~grins~ I can work under pressure.
3. My phone got stolen.
Now, that's the real sad part. I was travelling in a bus back home at the end of a long day, only to realise once I reached my destination that my phone was missing. I'll have to buy a new phone tomorrow and will be getting my old number back by tomorrow evening. Folks, do please message me your number by tomorrow evening.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Bulla called up in the evening and we decided to go out for dinner. Before dinner, however, inspiration struck us and we decided to go to the Gurudwara to which we used to go to as college-kids a couple of years ago. Must say, visiting a holy place lifted me up entirely after the extremely lazy day I was trying to shrug off.
Dinner was brilliant!! Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag at Balwant Singh's dhaba. It has been quite a while since I had enjoyed this amazing combination and the onset of winter was just the perfect time to get back into the rhythm of things.
Dinner was followed by "Maharathi".
My two-bits about the film:
* I thought I'd placed my bets on another dud after "Oh, My God" when I realised there were only 6 people at the evening show for this film
* Within 5 minutes of the beginning of the film, I knew that my doubts were unfounded
* Naseeruddin Shah in his limited role is damn good
* Paresh Rawal was also very good. However, I did feel that he was too old for the role. Perhaps, as suggested by Bulla, Neil Nitin Mukesh would've been a better choice. In fact, if this had been his follow-up film to the successful caper "Johnny Gaddar", he would almost be bracketed in the league of actors who do good crime/caper films.
However, I doubt whether Neil would have done as good job at the comic bits as Rawal.
* Neha Dhupia does exactly what was expected of her: look stunningly HOT. Period.
* The movie is AWESOME. It has a chilling note to it ever since we step inside the world of Jaichand Adenwalla (Naseeruddin Shah), a successful movie-producer of yesteryears who is now out of luck and, by his confession, has more whisky than blood in his veins. Subhash (Rawal) is a petty thief who gets employment at his house as a driver. Mallika (Dhupia), Adenwalla's wife, would love to see her husband dead 'coz that would mean a bounty of 24 crores of insurance money. Adenwalla, however, tells her that he's instructed the insurance company not to pay a penny to anybody if he commits suicide. And, to throw spanner into her works, Adenwalla promptly points the gun at himself and goes 'BANG'.
How Mallika must utilise the wit and resourcefulness of Subhash so as not to arouse the suspicions of the family lawyer (Boman Irani), the ACP chief (Om Puri) and the house-nurse (Tara Sharma) forms the rest of the plot.
The execution is almost Hitchcockian in nature. All in all, this is the second movie after Johnny Gaddar which deserves to be called a good Hindi suspense thriller in recent years. Two thumbs-up.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, my first blogathon ends. Not many posts during the course of the weekend but it has been fun. Cheerio, folks. Have an awesome week ahead.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Very very lazy morning and afternoon in prospect here.
Got a phone call at 7:30 in the morning. It was a member of Dad's office staff who has been with us for more than two decades now. He called to ask if I was ok and having my lunch and dinner on time since my parents have left for Mumbai. I said I was fine and thanked him for his concern and hit the bed again. I usually keep tossing and turning around if my sleep is broken mid-way, but today was an exception. I dozed off right away and did not wake up till 8:30 when the maid servant rang the door-bell. I must have been dead tired.
All thoughts of catching a morning show of 'Maharathi' have disappeared as of now. I think I'll just read the e-book which I've been pursuing for the last couple of days. See ya. :)
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I got my day off relatively early today. Grabbing the opportunity, me and Bulla went off to watch the 8:50 PM show of 'Oh, My God'.
The movie wasn't quite what I expected. I walked into the cinema hall thinking I was about to enjoy a light-hearted comedy about the common man and how Saurabh Shukla (playing God) messes up the said common man's humdrum existence. However, the distinct feeling I got at the end of the film was that the director was confused about whether he wanted to direct a comedy or a preachy-emotional tale.
The first casualty of this error is Vinay Pathak's performance. At times he is funny and at times he is dead-serious with the overall effect that he seems weird. Rarely does it happen that another actor steals a scene when sharing screen-space with Pathak. In this film, however, Saurabh Shukla's performance lights up, albeit in bits and pieces. I thought Divya Dutta, as the faithful wife, was wasted in the film.
The editing is frayed at best and there are glaringly bad examples towards what I guess the director wished to be the climax of the film. The music is good in parts but nothing as dazzling as what we saw in 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!' or 'Khosla Ka Ghosla'.
Overall, avoid this film. Let's hope I have better luck with 'Maharathi' tomorrow.
The idea is to
* post as often as the desire to do so pops up in my head
* post raw and uncut, without too much polishing up
* post even about things which might be relatively insignificant (waise bhi, what else do you expect when a post is labelled 'random musings')
So, here goes....
I was reading about Plato's 'Parable of the Cave' today morning.
Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of the cave entrance, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
During the course of the morning, my thoughts wandered a bit. I realised that it can be argued that a human being is a sum-total of thoughts and ideas. What he / she experiences during the years of their lives just adds to the bank of ideas floating in their head. Hence, each one of us is nothing more but a vessel of ideas. The body is just an instrument which carries out experiments through daily living which enriches our 'idea-bank'.
PS 1: This is just a train of thought which ran through the mind of a 26 year old sales executive who had nothing better to think about during a taxi ride. (Nobody dare bring up 'Taare Zameen Par' here.)
PS 2: Shouldn't the theory of an 'idea-bank' also be applicable to animals, since they too experience, learn and adapt (although at a much slower pace)? Hmm...
Mom and Dad have gone to Mumbai. The train bogey that they were travelling in had barely 6 passengers in it. Many last minute cancellations owing to the Mumbai terror attacks.
Life has become extremely busy of late. Owing to the nature of work, I keep shuffling across the city. Nice work, but since the business unit that I'm a part of is almost as good as a new business venture entirely, it takes all that extra effort and more at the initial stages.
Chalo, off to work. Hope to catch up on some movies over the weekend. On the hitlist:
a. The President is Coming (has it been released in Cal yet?)
b. Oh My God!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
* It is a GOOD movie
* It isn't as good as Dibakar Bannerjee's debut-vehicle "Khosla Ka Ghosla"
* But it is still good enough to be seen
* Those who have stayed in / visited Delhi are in for a treat
* The soundtrack of this movie is brilliant (special mention must be made of the rap portions in the song "Superchor")
* After "Manorama Six Feet Under" and now "OLLO", I'm now absolutely convinced that Abhay Deol has talent... lots of it
* I thought Paresh Rawal in a triple role was a bit too much
* 'Bangaali', Lucky's sidekick, has some awesome lines in the film
* The Sardar who played the young Lucky was a surprisingly good actor
* Remember what I said about Vinay Pathak? Add Abhay Deol to that list.
* Go watch this film if you like the zara-hatke kinda movies...
Monday, December 01, 2008
Although I hate the format in which posts from my mobile appear on the
blog, I cannot overcome the temptation to post something RIGHT NOW.
Obviously, the events in Mumbai have left everybody shocked. No words
can express the anger one feels; against the terrorists, against the
Govt. for its impotency and against sensationalist media personnel
whose use of words to cash in on the tragedy is downright shameful and
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Dostana is a bold film. Not in the "Neha Dhupia plays a bold role in Julie" bold. No. Every Kareena, Bipasha and Priyanka does those kind of bold roles today.
Dostana is the emerging new Bollywood definition of 'bold'. The film openly discusses two guys being gay and the way society looks at them. Moreover, none of this is in the preachy-preachy mode about being tolerant towards a section of society which is different from you. The sun is shining, work is more like holidaying in Miami, the babes are out in their bikinis and everybody is, well, happy and gay.
True, the film has very little story or what the bespectacled student of the cinema institute will call "substance", but then, that is not why you bought the tickets for Dostana, did you? You bought the ticket because John Abraham has an awesome physique (doesn't matter that he struggles to deliver his dialogues), because you want to forget what Abhishek did in 'Drona' and because Priyanka Chopra reveals enough skin to make the film appear like you convinced Karan Johar to convert your wet-dream into celluloid.
Dostana is fun, no doubt about that. It is the perfect weekend getaway after a tough week of bosses telling you that you aren't hitting your sales targets and the pundits on TV are telling you that the economy is in a crisis. What better medicine than to have Priyanka Chopra sashay down a beach in a golden bikini and looking sexy enough to prompt M/s. Abhishek and John to place the magazines they are reading over their shorts.
You have to hand it to Dostana. At every turn in the second half where you felt "Oh God, here we go into the serious parts", it turns around and goes straight back to buffooning (Neha: ...all 3 of us are interested in the same guy; Sam: Kunal has been cheating on me!! etc.).
Dostana is worthy of a weekend watch. And if you're a guy laughing away to glory in the darkened cinema hall, watch-out if the fellow sitting next to you is smiling a knowing smile at you.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
He told me that the shloka referred to the various body parts of the Mother Goddess and that it is a hymn to ask Her to radiate energy from her entire body to us.
Today, I found a picture on the Net, alluding to the same:
Wikipedia offers other explanations / translations of the shloka here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
ALL THIS AND BRAINS TOO !!
Whoa!! Calcutta has started to shed (pun intended) the conventional image.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Methinks Vinay Pathak is making it a habit of starring in "low-budget" films with good direction and heart-warming performances. Even if the films aren't exactly "low-budget", they certainly aren't the ones with unnecessary foreign locales, superstars and idiotic scripts. In fact, the absence of these makes the audience focus on the story and acting, which is where the Vinay Pathak - Rajat Kapoor - Ranvir Shorey - Saurabh Shukla combine make their impression.
Look at the track record (am mentioning only those films which I've seen myself):
1. Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) - Although Pathak didn't have majority of the screen-time here, he played a very pivotal role as Asif Iqbal who'd once worked for Khurana and bears a grudge against him. Asif is the one who sets off a chain of thoughts and mischievous events which ultimately help the Khoslas get their rightful plot of land back from the land-shark.
I do not think anybody had hitherto seriously noticed Vinay Pathak but he clearly caught the audience's attention in this film, in spite of the presence of the veteran Anupam Kher and the then newly and immensely popular Boman Irani.
2. Bheja Fry (2007) - A Hindi remake of the French film 'Le Diner de Cons', this was an out-and-out Vinay Pathak film. He carried the entire film on his shoulders as the Govt. employee who thinks he's a great singer in the making.
The quirks that he brought to the character (singing at every given opportunity, carefully adjusting the secret code keys everytime he closed his briefcase, the constant wrapping and unwrapping of his musical scrap-book from a noisy polythene bag) made the audience roll on the floor with laughter during the film and later smile as they thought of the numerous Bharat Bhushans they'd encountered in their daily lives.
3. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007) - I do not know many friends who've seen this little gem of a movie. Loosely based on the Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), Manorama... has another actor I'm really fond of: Abhay Deol. Pathak has a small but (again) significant role as Brijmohan, Abhay Deol's brother-in-law. The two are drinking buddies and Pathak fits the role of a small-town sub-inspector to a T.
4. Johnny Gaddar (2007) - A good Hindi film thriller after ages, Johnny Gaddar is a heist film where the leading role is played by Neil Nitin Mukesh. Pathak plays the role of Prakash, one of the five members of a gang who plan on making a deal which would take them into the big time. From the lovable husband who massages his wife's feet so that she may allow him to put the house on mortgage to the bumbling and over-confident gambler who continues to play despite losing all his money, Prakash endears himself to the audience whenever he appears on screen.
And now there's Dasvidaniya. I know, I know. Some will say it is Anand re-hashed, others will yell The Bucket List. But fact remains that Dasvidaniya has gotten recognized because of the fresh and original treatment given to the almost cliched subject of a man who knows he is going to die in a couple of months time. I haven't seen the film myself, but it has been highly recommended by my friends; the most qualified of whom is Priyanka who writes for The Telegraph. Read her review of the film here.
All in all, I have made up my mind that Vinay Pathak is an actor to watch out for. Call it multiplex cinema or the new-age Hrishikesh Mukherjee films, Mr. Pathak will surely feature in a lot more of them.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thanks to YouTube, I met her again a couple of years later while I was studying at Nirma. I showed the video to a couple of guys in the hostel, and the video was a rage, even though none of us understood a single word Alizee sang.
Ever since then, I've always wished I'd taken my French-language lessons in college seriously. ~sigh~
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Movies have the ability to live on in the memories of their audience by way of great dialogues. Great performances and great music always help, but through what medium does a guy communicate to a friend how good the movie he saw last Friday was? He certainly has no musicians jumping out of the closet to accompany him (remember "Jaane ke jaane na" from the Salman-Akshay Kumar-Priety Zinta starrer "Jaan-E-Mann") and perhaps never made it to the school's annual theatre festival either. His only saviour is the dialogues that should have emblazoned themselves in his memory.
Hindi films have always done well on this count; be it the 1970's when the Salim-Javed duo worked with great gusto (and dialogue-wise, things almost came to an orgasmic climax in "Sholay") or the modern-day Raj cavorting around with Simran in Switzerland and saying "Koi baat nahi Senorita, bade-bade deshon mein aisi chhoti-chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain".
I am not going into Hollywood classics here, they've always been brilliant ("Here's looking at you, kid" or "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"). Of course, Arnold's "Terminator" act did brilliantly to become one of the most popular dialogues of all-time, just by telling the world "I'll be back."
The one recent movie which I believe has done this brilliantly (even better than it's predecessor in this series) is "The Dark Knight". Full marks to the Nolan brothers and, of course, Heath Ledger to bring these dialogues to the screen memorably.
A few of my favourite quotes from the film:
Joker: You see,madness,as you know,is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!
Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth. It's the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
[Joker hands Two-Face a gun and points it at himself]
Joker: Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair.
Batman: Then why do you want to kill me?
Joker: [laughs] I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, you... you complete me.
Joker: This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
(one of my favorites which does NOT include either Batman or The Joker)
[Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese believes that he's discovered Batman's secret identity, and is trying to blackmail Fox]
Lucius Fox: Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
And if you do smoke during office hours, I think you're wasting too much time.
The only half-decent more-an-excuse reason to smoke during office hours is to 'catch up on the buzz'. The argument usually put forward is that during the community-smoking sessions that happen, a lot of data and information is exchanged, which may come in handy at work.
But let's accept what these sessions really are.
1. An opportunity to 'network'. Yes, you do get to speak to people in an informal manner. But are you doing any good to your health? NO !!
2. A haven for people to take a break from work. Unfortunately, there's no time-limit to this. Plus, there's no limit to the number of cigarettes that you smoke. Add to that the infinite number of times you step out to take a break and you have almost a quarter of the working hours "going up in smoke".
3. A chance to poison co-workers who don't smoke through "passive smoking". Yes. Face it. It is a reality. And unfortunately, there's no escaping it. When the boss asks your colleague to step out "for a smoke", you know that he (your colleague, and in all probability, your top contender for that promotion you've been eyeing for months) just got a chance to get into the boss' good books. [If only I had a hundred bucks for every person who read this bit and went "Rachel" in his/her head...]
Why don't we just have routine coffee/tea sessions? Say, post-lunch or from 4 to 4:15 every evening. Great excuse to:
b) Take a break and assimilate your thoughts
c) Introduce a bit of personal time in your daily office hours ("Say, Sam, how was that book you finished reading last week?")
You think you have any other alternate solutions?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here are the rules:
1. Put your music player on Shuffle mode.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. Write the song name no matter what it is.
4. After you've answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged.
1. If someone says "Is this okay?", you say:
The caper begins (Instrumental) from "Johnny Gaddar"
2. What would best describe your personality?
(:D Absolutely loved this...)
All the cool boys come on make some noise and say "Om Shanti Om"
3. What do you like in a girl?
Hansti rahe tu hansti rahe, haiya ki laali khilti rahe...
Zulf ke neeche gardan pe, subah-o-shaam milti rahe...
Saathiya, saathiya.... madham, madham teri geeli hasi...
4. How do you feel today?
Kiska hai yeh tumko intezaar, main hoon na?
5. What is your life's purpose?
Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...
Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...
Dekho jise bhi lage pyaara...
Yeh taara, woh taara, har taara...
6. What do your friends think of you?
18 Till I die
7. What do you think of your parents?
8. What do you think of very often?
Tumse milke dil ka hai jo haal kya kahein...
(Gosh, didn't Sushmita look gorgeous in those sarees???)
9. What is 2 + 2?
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
10. What do you think of the person you like?
Lady Marmalade... (Whoa!!!)
11. What is your life story?
Kuch paane ki ho aas aas...
Koi armaan ho jo khaas khaas...
12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ain't no mountain high... ain't no valley low... ain't no river wide enough baby...
13. What do you think of when you see the person you like?
"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone" (Mindblowing-ly AWESOME!!)
14. What do your parents think of you?
Ambar hethhaan, dharti vasdi, ethe har rut hasdi, ho....
Kinna sona, des hai mera, des hai mera, des hai mera....
Kinna sona des hai mera, des hai mera
Des hai mera, des hai mera…
15. What will you dance to you at your wedding?
Aankhon mein teri... ajab si ajab si adaayein hain...
Dil ko banaa de jo patang saasein yeh teri woh hawaayein hain...
16. What will they play at your funeral?
Ajnabi shehar hai
Ajnabi shaam hai
Zindagi ajnabi kya tera naam hai
Ajeeb hai ye zindagi ye zindagi ajeeb hai
Ye milti hai bicharti hai bicharke phir se milti hai
17. What is your hobby/interest?
Kitne armaan...( maaan... maaan.. maaan...).. jaage tere vaaste soniyeinnnnnn.....
[Yes, yes... it's Himesh Bhai ka gaana]
18. What is your biggest secret?
Toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya
O o o o toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya
Girta hua woh asma se
Aakar gira zameen par
Khwabon mein phir bhi badal hi the
Woh kehta raha magar
Ke allah ke bande hasde allah ke bande
Allah ke bande hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega...
19. What do you think of your friends?
Anjani Rahoein Mein Tu Kya Dhoondhanta Phire...
Door Jisko Samjha Who To Paas Hai Tere...
20. What should you post this as?
You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like a mountain in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again
21. What do you think about this tag?
We don't need no education...
We don't need no thought control...
No dark sarcasm in the classroom...
Teachers leave them kids alone...
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone..
All in all, you're just another brick in the wall...
All in all, you're just another post on the blog...
I tag everybody who feels like picking this tag up.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
कैसे चुपके से एक मकान घर बन जाता है,
क्यूँ इस घर का दरवाजा हमेशा खुला रहता है,
क्यूँ इस घर में रोटियाँ गिन के नहीं बनती,
क्यूँ होली खेलने सारा मोहल्ला इस आँगन में आता है,
क्यूँ दीवली का पहला पठाका इसी घर में जलाया जाता है,
क्यूँ कृकैट में हारते हारते
क्यूँ की हर घर चुपके से यह कहता है...
की अन्दर इस में कौन रहता है.
- From an Indian advertisement currently on TV
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
HAPPY DIWALI and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. May the year ahead bring you joy and bliss.
In today’s day and age when one has to really put down all work and concentrate hard in order to try and recall when was the last time you actually picked up a pen to put something down on paper, my friend Bulla makes the most of his profession (he is a math faculty, and a darn good one at that) by using a fountain pen. There’s something oddly likable about a bloke using ink and steel to pour out ideas in today’s world of bits and bytes.
Inspired by this, I decided to start using a fountain pen myself. Initially, I was sceptical whether the friendly neighbourhood ‘Masterjee’ stationery shop (Stationery shop my foot!! It sells everything from ice-creams to iPods) would still be selling fountain pens, but Bulla told me they did. I was wondering how much a run-of-the-mill pen and a bottle of ink would cost. The answer: 20 bucks for the pen and 15 for a bottle of good ol’ Chelpark ink.
I promise you, just holding a bottle of ink in my hands with that distinctive smell floating about brought back vivid memories from school days. In fact, the one most prominent picture in my mind’s eye was of the first day in Class 3 when I was allowed to use pens. We were advised to use fountain pens back then since they would help to “improve one’s handwriting”.
Anyway, I reached home and just when I was about to start using the new pen, I came across a very old Parker in my table-drawer. I had inherited the pen from a great-aunt who used to live in Ahmedabad. I lovingly took the pen and filled it up with ink and to my surprise, the pen was still in pretty good condition despite years of not being used at all.
Curiosity about fountain pen maintenance led me to the Almighty Google and most of the search results gave the same advice; empty the ink-tank once a month and keep filling and emptying the tank with water till clear water flows from the nib. I decided to go along with this and that is where I re-discovered an age old habit.
The Parker that I have is the one with a piston tank, so I needed to first squeeze out the ink, insert the nib into a bowl of water and then release the pressure so that water would flow into the tank. I must have done this for about half an hour only to realize that the ink would show no sign of stopping. There just seemed to be another drop of ink every single time. I kept at it for almost an hour and that is when I realized the joys of learning about patience and persistence.
In today’s “modern age” (every age was “modern” once; the same Parker pen that I held in my hands must have been the “in-thing” at some point of time) of 30-minute home-delivery of pizzas to 30 seconds or less burgers at a McDonald’s, the maintenance of a fountain pen and the discipline it brings into your writing (one site I went through advised not to keep the pen unused for long periods of time; “consider filling up the ink-tank as a commitment to using the pen”…beautiful words to an old-fashioned guy like me) are wonderful qualities that perhaps need to be rediscovered by us young folks.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
For instance, just today I got really curious about a particular passage in the aarti 'Om Jai Shiv Omkara'. I asked a couple of people around me who I know to be extremely pious and take the name of the Lord regularly. Surprisingly, they couldn't come up with an answer. Not that I'm in the least disrespecting or doubting their piety, but I would have at least expected them to satiate my curiosity about a couple of verses that they repeat daily.
Anyway, Google bhagwaan ki jai ho! I've gone through a couple of pages of search results for "om jai shiv omkara translation" and the best one thus far is still the first result on Google. However, I'm somehow not convinced that this is the only translation / explanation available for this aarti. In case you do know of any other source, do let me know. I would be extremely grateful.
Om Jai Shiv Omkara
Victory to Śiva, Who is the Lord, Who is Hara (absolver), and Who is Oṃkāra. Brahma and Viṣṇu are always Sadāśiva and He has Gańgā as a consort. Victory to Śiva, Who is Oṃkāra.||1||
Victory to Śiva — Who is adorned with one, four and five heads, and with a seat of Swan, Garuḍa and Bull as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva — and Who is Oṃkāra.||2||
Victory to Śiva — Who is looking nice with two, four and ten arms, and Who is enticing the world in all the three forms as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva — Who is Oṃkāra.||3||
Victory to Śiva — Who has garlands of Akṣa (beads), flowers and skulls, and Who has sandalwood-tilaka, musk-tilaka and the Moon at the forehead as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva — Who is Oṃkāra.||4||
Victory to Śiva — Who has white, yellow and tiger-skin apparel, and Who is attended by Brahmādika, Sanakādika and Bhūtādika as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva — Who is Oṃkāra.||5||
Victory to Śiva — Who holds Kamaṇḍalu, Cakra and Śūla, Who creates, nourishes and destroys the world as Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva — Who is Oṃkāra.||6||
Only the unwise think Brahma, Viṣṇu, and Śiva as different. Actually they all are adorned inside the Praṇava-Akṣara (ॐ). Victory to Śiva, Who is Oṃkāra.||7||
‘‘Śivānandasvāmī’’ says — Those men who sing this Āratī of formless Śiva achieve their desires. Victory to Śiva, Who is Oṃkāra.||8||
Translator: Animesh Kumar
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
(Warning: The following post has been written under the direct and heavy influence of Wodehouse stories. Quite naturally, the post is going to be well-rounded in its approach. And yes, this isn’t a book review as much as an appreciation note to Plum’s great writing prowess. You have been warned. Enjoy at your own risk.)
The world and its uncle knows that I love reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Wooster stories. I have been under the spell ever since I started reading them while I was in high school.
However, I have always been troubled by the fact that I couldn’t read Plum beyond the Wooster series. I tried reading ‘The Gold Bat’ and found that I nodded off to sleep…every time I tried going past the fourth page! Incredible. Perhaps, the fellow was just starting off on his long and illustrious literary career when he wrote ‘The Gold Bat’. There could be no other explanation.
However, I also remember reading ‘The Indiscretions of Archie’ during my college days and having loved it through and through. (As a matter of fact, I remember how I came to become the proud owner of a copy of that book. I was a member of the British Council’s Kolkata library then and they were selling off old books at throwaway prices. And that’s how I bought the book at a princely sum of Rs. 10!!) The tale of how a young blighter attempts to reconcile his differences with a father-in-law whom he has previously called a thoroughly incompetent baboon (or some such similar term of endearment) me in splits throughout the book.
Anyway, a couple of days ago, I managed to lay my hands (figuratively speaking) on an e-mail (hence the ‘figurative’ feel) which had a few short-stories and novels written by Wodehouse in the e-book format. “Voila!! Let the show begin,” I remember telling myself. And much like Caesar, I started going through the e-books.
The first one that I’ve completed is one titled ‘Plum Punch – Four Short Tales’. Hmm. ‘Plum Punch’. It almost sounded like a freshly prepared cocktail. I couldn’t resist but start with this one. I’m glad to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I haven’t been disappointed. What follows is more of an appreciation note rather than a book review.
The first story in the collection is ‘Dudley Jones – Bore Hunter’. You read that right, ‘Bore’ hunter and not ‘Boar’ hunter, as your animal-hating instinct might have led you to perceive. It tells of the adventure of one Mr. Dudley Jones who helps a pretty young lady get rid of an unwelcome guest to her house who has a penchant for ‘boring’ people with his unwanted banter.
The most hilarious characteristic of this quality was that it is a spoof of the Sherlock Holmes’ narratives. Sample this:
"Well, JONES," I said encouragingly, "What do you make of it?"
"I never form theories, as you are perfectly well aware," he replied curtly. "Pass me my bagpipes."
I passed him his bagpipes and vanished.
It was late when I returned.
I found JONES lying on the floor with his head in a coal-scuttle.
"Well, WUDDUS," he said, "so you've come back?"
"My dear JONES, how__?"
"Tush, I saw you come in."
The other stories are very similar… short, simple and quaintly funny. Of particular interest to fellow lazy-bones would be the last story, aptly titled ‘The Sluggard’. How being sluggish saved the life of Uncle James is the prime motive here.
But consider this brilliant opening to the story and you shall know beyond a shadow of doubt why I loved it the most:
My Uncle James, whose memoirs I am now preparing for publication, was a many-sided man; but his chief characteristic, I am inclined to think, was the indomitable resolution with which, disregarding hints, entreaties and even direct abuse, he would lie in bed of a morning. I have seen the domestic staff of his hostess day after day manoeuvring restlessly in the passage outside his room, doing all those things which women do who wish to rout a man out of bed without moving Uncle James an inch. Footsteps might patter outside his door; voices might call one to the other; knuckles might rap the panels; relays of shaving−water might be dumped on his washstand; but devil a bit would Uncle James budge, till finally the enemy, giving in, would bring him his breakfast in bed.
All in all, a must read for a slow moving Saturday afternoon. And by the by, all these four stories take up only 12 pages!! Go ahead; grab that e-book (figuratively speaking, of course).
Friday, October 10, 2008
“Come in, 007,” said M. “Good to see you back.”
The tone for a new James Bond thriller has been set.
For long have fans of the world-famous British spy waited for their hero to return to the written world. From Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton, from Pierce Brosnan to now Daniel Craig, James Bond has evolved on screen, but the legend, one must be reminded, was born when one Mr. Ian Fleming put words to paper.
‘Devil May Care’, written by Sebastian Faulks, was released on May 28, 2008 to coincide with Ian Fleming’s birth centenary. One must appreciate the tremendous task that lay ahead of Mr. Faulks. He needed to recreate the magic with which Fleming kept the world captivated. James Bond, after all, is not just a British icon. His fame has spread across the world; half the world’s population has seen at least one James Bond film; his debonair lifestyle is the kind that schoolboys dream of (not to mention the older boys); his skills with members of the opposite sex are legendary. In Ian Fleming’s words, Faulks had to write “the spy story to end all spy stories”. Thankfully, Faulks does justice.
‘Devil May Care’ takes the reader back into the throes of the Cold War. Bond is beginning to have doubts about whether he is still good enough to be in active service or whether he should call it a day and push papers and files from behind a desk. However, he is pleasantly called out of a 3 month “sabbatical” by M.
The world has a new enemy in the form of the sinister Dr. Julius Gorner. An intellectual genius and a former Nazi and Soviet supporter, Dr. Gorner has deadly plans aimed against the British. His operations are embedded deep in Persia. Also, no Bond villain is complete without an evil henchman. Dr. Gorner has the services of Chagrin, an old Vietnam hand who gets his sadistic pleasure from ripping out people’s tongues while they are still alive.
Bond, however, is not alone in his mission to destroy Gorner. He is assisted by the beautiful and mysterious Scarlett, a banker who has her own personal agenda against Gorner. Also making a cameo in the book is Bond’s old CIA friend, Felix Leiter.
The book traces Bond’s exploits through dapper gentleman clubs in London, through Parisian street cafés, through steamy and luxurious bath lounges of Turkey and also through dusty, frontier towns in Persia. The action is non-stop and good old-school style where fists and intelligence matter more than gadgets.
For those who relish adventure novels, this is a must buy. James Bond fans, I’m sure, need not be persuaded much. To them, this book would be like the famous Martini that Bond would never say ‘no’ to.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The stages are:
- Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening."'Not to me!"
- Example - "Why me? It's not fair!" "NO! NO! How can you accept this!"
- Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years."
- Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"
- Example - "It's going to be OK."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
Monday, September 22, 2008
The first time I set my eyes upon a poster of Drona, I went "What the hell?? They've just copied the entire look for Abhishek from 'The Warrior Within'". And trust me, the half-man half-sword look has been done before.
If any further clarification was needed, I just needed to wait for the movie trailers to hit the theatres and television screens. Images of 'Drona' swaying on ropes inside what looked like Persian warehouses just cleared all doubts. Plus, all the tunic-wearing and jumping on trains and fighting with swords just looked oh! so right out of the video game.
But you have to give the makers of the film some credit. After all, it ain't only Prince of Persia that they're taking their "inspiration" from. For example, the face-in-the-sandstorm effect is right out of "The Mummy".
And it isn't that I'm just lambasting them 'coz I like to point out "inspirations". After all, they've brought originality into the story as well.... only a Hindi film could have a heroine who reveals enough cleavage, is the bodyguard of the protagonist-superhero and is also the film's romantic female lead !! :D Woo Hoo Priyanka !!!!
Disclaimer: I'm not by any means saying that this will be rubbish. In fact, if history is any pointer (the success of "Krrish" and "Koi Mil Gaya" for example.... err.. did I get the right number of 'r's and 'K's in there??), then 'Drona' should be a hit. Hell, even I might like the final product. But as of now... ~sighs~ It remains a film which has a very "inspired" look.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
The author had spoken to several marathon runners and had asked them the same question: what do they think about while they are running? Obviously, one thought which would cross an individual's mind when undertaking a strenuous task such as running a marathon is the constant pain that never leaves one's side after having run a few kilometres.
The marathon runner's answer made for interesting food for thought, in the perspective of marathon running in general and for life in particular.
The runner replied: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
What a profound idea. If I keep telling myself about the constant pain, I'm only adding to the suffering. The pain is gonna be there anyway. However, if I tell myself that every step that I take takes me closer to my final destination, in that case I choose NOT to opt for the suffering and accept the pain that in any case was part of the deal.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
A couple of days ago, I spotted this guy wearing a Kshitij 2007 (IIT Kharagpur fest) t-shirt. What instantly caught my attention was the tag line: “Nothing else exists except atoms and empty space. Everything else is opinion.”
And it is our opinions which decide how we choose to look at things. More often than not, our environment conditions us into believing certain things and we start looking and thinking along a pre-defined path.
There are some, however, who are different.
I have been fortunate to have met people who have a refreshingly different opinion about matters. To most of us, job security is a worry and perhaps only the most desperate of circumstances would encourage us to forego this blanket of security. Yet, there are some who know that they were meant to do something different and every thing else in life is just a compromise. Some people choose to take the highway to their dreams.
Jeet, Jagrit and Rathore are three such friends from my MBA days at Nirma. Having decided that a different world and a different destiny were calling out to them, they’ve now hung up their corporate suits only to put on their t-shirts and ragged jeans which allow them to be their own self. And in this self, they found that they were adventurers first, hot-shots later.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m proud to introduce to you 78mm Adventures.
Follow your heart, click the link.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
On a day when Lewis Hamilton must sit back and blame his car tyres for not allowing him to challenge Massa for the leadership position at the Hungarian Grand Prix, I went photograph hunting for the McLaren Mercedes F1 car that was on display at the South City Mall.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
All right. Here I am, back home in
The last week of stay in
For the first time in my adult life, the packing wasn’t as big a nightmare as it usually is for me. I had enough suitcases to pack my stuff into, although Motee made her presence felt at the last minute and did a much better job than I could’ve ever done myself.
I had three different send-offs and each of them was very special.
The first was when I met up with Charul, Bipasha ‘Ben’, Jeet and Motee at Qwiky’s. The second one was much later in the week with the group that I’ve now started referring to as the ‘78 mm gang’… (B-I-G post on this gang coming up next). Of course, this gathering couldn’t have happened anywhere else but at ‘The Jukebox’.
The third one was an ‘office’ gathering since it involved a few of the office guys and their respective better halves. It was great to go out for dinner with them and to realise that even in a short span of time, I’d grown very fond of these folks.
By the end of the week, all the packing and unpacking had really caught up with me. Had it not been for Mistha who very sweetly decided to host me at her place for yet another night at her place, I would’ve been only more harassed. Oh what a fun night it was. Motee came over and we spent the night watching TV, eating pizzas, playing antakshari during the power failure and having some awesome coffee. (The ‘antakshari’ was my idea and trust me, I had absolutely no idea that Mistha and Motee would immediately agree to the plan. Played antakshari after AGES and it was good fun.)
The next morning was even more fun. Bulla came to receive me at the airport and we both were very excited about how my parents would react. I was giving them a surprise and they had no clue that I had packed up my bags and was headed home.
When I did finally stand before him, Dad was just v-e-r-y surprised to see me. I think for a couple of moments he just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I’d actually managed to pack all my belongings and come over from Bangalore to Calcutta without informing him and taking any sort of help from him. As for Mom…well, Moms are just awesome, aren’t they? Mom just kept smiling and hugging me. There was just too much joy to be expressed by words, I guess.
I have met up with almost all my friends since I’ve come back and it feels so great to catch up with Bulla, Lambu, Raj, Budhau, Konal and Horse.
Oh yes, that reminds me.
The dude that Horse is, he SMSes me last Friday at 1:30 in the morning to ask me if I’m awake. When I replied that I indeed was and when he didn’t reply for about 5 minutes, I very seriously thought that the dude was in trouble. Just when I was about to call him back, he calls and asks me if I had office the next day (Saturday). I said that I did. “Cool,” he says, “I don’t know what you do tomorrow; you take a half-day, call in sick and don’t go at all…I don’t care. Just make sure you’re at my place at three tomorrow.” And before I can go “Dude, wtf?”, he makes me drop my jaws by adding casually, “I’m getting engaged.”
Imagine my surprise!! I sat bolt upright in bed. Obviously, I was very excited for him. We chatted for about twenty minutes and then decided that this called for a celebration. True to our nature, we walked out of our respective houses at 2 in the morning and headed for…where else? Our favourite haunt, The Atrium !! Over a couple of beers, he told me how just earlier in the evening the girl and her family had come down from Nagpur and when both of them gave their assent, the families decided to have a small ceremony the very next day.
Well, my movie watching spree has definitely come to a halt, but I did manage to catch ‘The Dark Knight’ with Horse and Bulla. We went to the South City Mall and barely managed to get three seats in the second row from the front. This on a Monday night at ten o’ clock!! Wow !!
I haven’t managed to get a broadband connection for myself yet. I promise posts will get more regular once that happens. Let’s hope I can get a connection by the end of next week.
Friday, July 18, 2008
It has been a wonderful time here in Bangalore and I've loved every minute of it.
Like I can't get tired of telling friends.... if there ever were one city after Calcutta which could make me feel at home, it could only have been Bangalore.
I Love this city from the bottom of my heart and the people of Bangalore will always have a special place in my memories. Every body, all my colleagues at office to the shop-owner who sold me all those Maggi packets...all of you have helped me create some magical memories which I shall treasure forever.
Love you all so much...
And yes...at the end of these 6 months... I can only smile and proudly proclaim...you are... "Namma Bengaluru".
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Went to a store yesterday to buy a new pair of trousers, only to discover that I now have a 32 inch waist. This from a guy who spent most of his college and MBA years wearing 28 inch trousers. It has only been in the last year or so that I had graduated to 30 inch trousers. Apparently, they are nearing their expiry date too.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
"That is as Allah decrees. It is in his hands."
"Inshallah," the other repeated.
For a moment he longed intensely to be a man of Eastern and not Western blood. Not to worry over the chances of success or of failure, not to calculate again and again the hazards, repeatedly asking himself if he had planned wisely and with forethought. To throw responsibility on the All Merciful, the All Wise. Inshallah, I shall succeed!
A couple of days after reading this, Motee and I also struck up a similar conversation. We generally agreed that perhaps human beings are better off at times leaving it all in the hands of an almighty power, even if there actually is none. Just the belief that there is someone there up above who is keeping a watch out for you is a peaceful thought.
And as if that weren't enough, I came across this on Ridhi's blog.
Monday, June 23, 2008
These fellas were seated on a baggage trolley and were grinning from ear to ear as their father pushed the trolley around. The mother followed a short distance behind, a faint smile on her face. The li'l chaps had their hands in the air and were shouting with glee, unmindful of the happy audience around them.
I paused and thought to myself that perhaps this is the reason why we must keep meeting kids...keep observing kids: they remind us of the simple joys of life and how we ourselves once were. They remind us of how little it takes to have a great time...how little it takes to reclaim your life.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Earlier, life was all about attending college, tuitions, some work (at dad's office) and meeting up with friends.
Somewhere down the line, things have gotten slightly more complicated.
1. Work life
This portion, obviously, starts dominating a majority of our hours that we are awake for (in some cases, also our sleeping hours; in fact, I have been regularly dreaming about work the last couple of months). We slowly gravitate towards becoming the major bread-earning member of the family and phrases such as 'CTC', 'in-hand salary' and the works start being repeated. Hushed conversations about people switching jobs and who is in who's good books are also part of the daily rigmarole.
2. Social life
Weekends (and hurriedly organised week-night dinners) are for friends. These occassions keep us in touch with 'the good ol' days' stories and also stop the grapevine from dying a natural death. Stories abound of corporate snakes-and-ladders here too.
3. Love life / Married life
Not everybody is stupid: some stay single. The other group, however, needs to spend some time attending to 'sweetheart' issues as well. As relationships mature, the following cascade of comments make an appearance:
4. Family life
We also need to keep our parents happy. No matter how different we've grown up to become since the time they held our hands and taught us how to walk, we need to be there and understand their needs in their ageing years. Which means that we need to spend more time with them than we were previously bluffing ourselves into believing. Clearly, they should be getting very good quality attention time, even if the amount of time gets sacrificed because of work-related issues.
5. Personal life
And if we can finally find time out for ourselves, only then can we do some amount of introspection and think in what direction OUR lives are really going. Only then can we ask ourselves those niggling, uncomfortable questions that we know we have been putting away. Or even if nothing else, this is the only time when we have nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY around us and can then hope to R-E-L-A-X in every sense of the word. Ironically, although this is the time we need in order to do well in our other aspects of our life, THIS is the one which we keep postponing all the time.
Don't believe me? Ok, try this. When was the last time you sat down in a chair or lay down on a bed and:
a. did NOT have the TV on
When was the last time you just breathed in deeply and with a contented smile said to yourself "Ok! I have lots of things happening around me...some good...others not so good... but all in all, I think I'm doing the best I can...and if not, here's how I plan to do the best that I can..." and then proceed to have a meaningful conversation with the one person who matters the most in your life....YOU !!!
When was the last time ???
Author's suggestion: Start writing a diary, my friend, and find some time for yourself.
Friday, June 13, 2008
There's one thing that I do most often when I'm feeling a little low.
I buy books.
Most people I know have often heard this story. It is a story which I'm pretty proud of. It dates back to the time when I was in college and had a job which paid me a princely salary of 3,000 rupees a month. One fine day, I was in a similar mood and I dragged my good friend Ravi to College Street. We spent the entire day browsing through bookstores, carefully peering into musty second-hand books, squatting at road-side stalls which sold books we wouldn't have found in any organized retail book stores, had our lunch at road-side dhabas and yes, we had coffee at the Indian Coffee House. Anyway, by the time we two returned home, we both held a carton full of books in each of our hands (that's four cartons of books; for those readers who are either bad at basic mathematics or have been too confused by my style of writing). All in all, we'd spent Rs. 18,000 on a combination of new and second-hand books.
Finding myself in a similar mood today, I switched off my cell after office and left for the Landmark Store at Forum. These are what help me beat my melancholic mood:
1. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
2. Alexander: Book One - Child of a Dream by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
5. The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel
6. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
What is there not to be nervous about? The playground with kids running about reminds me of the time I would run around a playground carefully, lest I got my clothes dirty. Quiet corridors remind me of classes in progress. The harsh ring of the bell reminds me of 'tiffin breaks', both the official and unofficial ones (the latter being between classes).
I went to a school day before yesterday on a work-related activity. The brothers in their white robes, quietly shuffling through the hallways and keeping a keen eyes on the classes in progress, made me nervous.
Let me just say that I heaved a sigh of relief when I wasn't pulled up for not having a decent hair-cut and not having polished my shoes that morning.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Couple of things. Don't hate me for not being regular on this blog. I know you aren't too regular either, but then what the hell, it's my blog.
Second, I saw the second innings of the IPL final (don't be so eager to strangle me... give me a moment.. there's a perfectly simple reason for missing the first innings) and completely enjoyed it.
By the way, I'm a huge fan of Warne, and have been awestruck by the manner in which he has captained the Rajasthan Royals team. In fact, yesterday afternoon, I was all rooting for them. But having seen the way in which Dhoni and his band of merry yellow men went about defending that seemingly low total of 163, I feel that yesterday Dhoni was the better captain. It all went down to the last ball and you must give credit where it's due, i.e. to the Chennai Super Kings. Had the Rajasthan Royals been fielding second, I would've perhaps been more in favour of Warne, but as of now, Mr. Dhoni, I thought you were the better captain yesterday. Just bad luck that:
a) Raina couldn't hold on to the catch of Yusuf Pathan when he was on 13 (Pathan, obviously, went on to make a quick-fire 56 and winning the Man of the Match award); and
b) Balaji couldn't do a Joginder Sharma.
But no complaints. All said and done, the IPL has been a source of much entertainment (cricket + cheerleaders combined) and yesterday we were witness to a battle between the two best teams of the tournament.
Finally, the reason why I missed the first innings.
I went to see 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull'. I'd heard there were negative reviews about the film but trust me folks, this is one helluva enjoyable film. I loved it !! Indiana Jones is back...and how !! There was just the right amount of action, fun and romance in the film (In fact, today morning I commented to a friend that the film was almost like a blockbuster Hindi film minus the song and dance sequences).
Go watch it. It is AWESOME !!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I particularly liked the way he ended his speech by talking about how his father inspired him to constantly improve. He says his father used to tell him that for mankind to move ahead, every generation must do better than the previous one. So, when Hector went to college, his father advised him to do well. Later on in life, when he was getting married, his father reminded him of the old advice and told him that now he must be a better husband than what his father was. A few years down the line, when Hector became a dad, his dad just walked up to him and reminded him the same thing; that he must now become a better father than what his father was.
Simple, yet sagacious.
P.S. Kinda busy these days, so posts might be sporadic. I do plan to get regular in a few days and also plan to update the blogroll and the links on the right.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) is a masterpiece. It tells the story of Jeffries, a photographer who has recently met with an accident and is confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg. To overcome boredom, he keeps looking out of the rear window of his New York apartment from where he can observe the lives of the occupants of various houses. While keeping himself thus occupied, Jeffries gets convinced that the salesman living in the building across his apartment has murdered his nagging and bed-ridden wife. How Jeffries overcomes his own guilt of spying on unknown people and later how he convinces first his nurse, then his girlfriend and finally his detective buddy about the murder forms the rest of the story.
Most of the tension in the film is derived from the manner in which the film is shot. Hitchcock again makes the viewers feel claustrophobic by offering them more or less the same view that Jeffries has, i.e. of the apartment which he occupies and the view from the rear window of the apartment. Although the action does sometimes shift outside, the shots are still from inside the apartment, making the viewer see and feel almost exactly what Jeffries feels. (In my humble opinion, Hitchcock had used the same claustrophobic effect with more brilliance in his 1946 film Rope.) Towards the film's climax, one can almost feel the helplessness that Jeffries feels by being tied down to his wheelchair. Two scenes bring this out brilliantly. One, where Lisa, Jeffries' girlfriend is being attacked by the salesman and two, when the salesman comes to murder Jeffries himself.
James Stewart puts in a decent performance as Jeffries. Maybe it is just me, but somehow Jimmy Stewart has always had a very sophisticated air around him, something which just doesn't go with a rough-and-tumble character like Jeffries.
Thelma Ritter as Stella, Jeffries' nurse, has perhaps the best line in the film. "Intelligence?" she asks. "Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence." Ha ha. How true is that?
And then, there's Grace Kelly. ~sighs~ That, ladies and gentlemen, is classical beauty for you (Apart from Elizabeth Taylor in 1963's "Cleopatra" of course). When she walks out in front of James Stewart in this satin nightwear, she is the picture of grace, glamour, beauty and sensuality all rolled into one. She brings to life the character of a New York socialite who is excited about the prospect of running dangerous errands.
I loved the moral dilemma that Jeffries offers regarding voyeurism. Instantly addictive, voyeurism presents a dilemma for each one of us, especially when you're in a condition like the one Jeffries' finds himself in where you think you can actually help / do what is right by spying upon people.
All in all, one cool film.
My rating: 4 out of 5