Thursday, August 24, 2006

Invisible Children

"Ask yourself how the Islamic world can be so enraged about 24 deaths in Haditha and the indignities of Abu Ghraib, while there is no outcry about the death of 400,000 Muslims and the atrocities in Darfur."

A very young crowd ...
A very noble cause ...
A very cold night ....
A very peaceful setting ...

29th April 2006 was not very notable in history, neither was it a turning point, but for a group of aronud 500 teenagers assembled in downtown Pittsburgh ( Market Square ) and for me and my friend, it was rather a change of daily routine. It was a just cause ... fighting for the rights of children in Africa .. Moved by a documentary made by 3 Americans ( titled Invisible Children released 2003) , and with a rising call for humanity and compassion towards children of Africa, and more importantly to bring to thw awareness of the American Government what has been happening for almost 20 years of civil war, a nationwide call was made to 'Not just watch ..but Do'. The news spread and on April 29 , it became a national call . Teenagers across the nation took to the main street and slept over together in groups of 100s, woke up in the morning around 6 , assembled together, posed for a group snap and left for their homes. I drove back to from Pittsburgh to Perrysburg ..

What was the whole thing about ? That day probably not many would have realized the importance of the cause for which they were doing it. Probably not many realised it. ( not me too that day, until I went home and read about it ). I met the organiser of the GNC Pittsburg, Lisa Dougan, a student from Grove City College and talked about it and later exchanged a few mails and the pictures we had captured on that day. You can listen to her on whole incident and what it is all about here ( ogg file 344 KB, playable with windows media player ) ... and to know how it all started here is a compact version according to BBC .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

KANK-ed by KJ

For some one who didn't know what the previous movies of Karan Johar ( referred to from here on as KJ) were, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna ( refered to from here on as KANK) was the perfect sampling of a high-budget bollywood movie portraying NOTHING - a perfect example of how a 'decent' story line could be turned into a stupid melodrama ; the quintessential bollywood stick-on-to-the-formula movie ..

Empty is not the word I would use to describe the theatre .. haunted would suite better. Barely 15 people and most of them i-dont-have-anything-else-in-the-world-to-do look alikes. The acoustics were rather flawed.. I dont blame it on the theatre ... I believe it is because of the empty house ; sound tracks in hindi movies are made such that they sound good when the sound is absorbed by clothes covering human flesh in a packed house .. In this case .. it was resonating against the latex coated cushion seats - hundreds of them .. waiting to sink down under the weight of a bored movie goer.

Like the gold rush of the 1850s, where the biggest money makers were the ones who sold the shovels, the old man at the counter selling coffee must have made a fortune selling hot anti-somniferous fluid to people who try to keep themselves awake watching KANK. Intermission is definitely a welcome break - unless you have left the theatre in total despair.

The movie was nowhere close to reality. It was a dramatization of cliched situations worked out very badly by a director who thinks like a gay fashion designer turned jobless. How can one comprehend such a movie and equate it even remotely close to reality ?

Consider this ..
It mostly rains when Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee meet on the streets and get drenched when the whole population of NewYork carry umbrellas or wear ponchos .. May be its Murphy's law always working against them - or maybe they are genuinely poor to afford an umbrella.

Amitabh dressed in flashy fur clothing can be understandably considered as what is demanded by the character ... but the silent background track singing "Sexy-Saaaaaam" when ever Amitabh flirts with a prospective bed-mate was a definite killer.

The humor was pathetic ( lack of apt word ) .. very very corny. The scenes where Shah Rukh is mistakenly tranquilized in the hospital - instead of 'Black Beast' - Rani .. and the resulting confusion ... is NOT FUNNY; it is irritating. Arjun?? (Shah Rukh's son) picking up the ball and returning it to the goalie when he should have scored NOT FUNNY. Its poor humor. The humor brings out the metally-retarded innocence in you. You have to have an heart overflowing with blissful joy to enjoy this humor.

Rani's role was a mistreatment of odds- It gave me a wrong impression that Rani wanted to make love only if you checked in to a hotel. At home she is a vegetable. Husbands, get the message - it pays to get laid. But considering the obvious disadvantage she was at, in portraying her character, Rani did a good job- so did Abhishek. The director always brings out the hidden talents of the actors - particularly when the roles are unfairly challenging.

High points of the movie -
a) the sado-masochist attire on Rani.
b) walking tour of NewYork Skyline.
c) Good camera rolling esp in the song Mithwaaaaa
d) preity zinta dancing in a shamefully golden mini skirt and doing an split second obtuse leg-split in to the air.
e) Catchy foot tapping melodies.

I realized that KJ movies promise interrupted flows of tears punctuated by songs that come out of nowhere . Definitely a watchable movie if you want to kill some time, loose some money and get a headache as a take away. KANK was a sign - a desperate call to end it - It was .... an Alvida to All Karan Johar movies.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seeing things through a girls eye.

Col: When a girl runs out like that, she generally wants to be followed..
Fergus : She is not a girl
Col: What ever you say

( But Fergus rises and follows . )

-The Crying Game, 1992

(more later .. )

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Game

The outcome of the game depends on the players that you choose.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My dream(ing) job

Soon I should be writing a blog like this ...

"Iam jobless again ! Its those times when you start appreciating work.
When you work .. you crib about how much far you have to go before you can go home and sleep. But when you dont have a job, you start to feel the weightlessness of your already weightless wallet. You stop having your weekend bash and your occassional - no-reason-parties and dinner outs.. Its time for contemplation .... hey .. wait ... have I not been contemplating for the last 5 years ? Do I belong to the ever growing class of motivationally impaired species infront of blue screens trying to save the world by plucking out protruding bugs and in the process implanting with newer better ones !
After years of constant comtemplation I found my dreamjob - Indefinite Slacking."

Thats a would-be blog .. coming your way soon. - very soon.

After note : The post-it came in handy ... the figure on the note is growing everyday .. I heard- by the next financial year end .. it would almost cross 100,000 !! That almost makes me feel very important - one in a hundred thousand !!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A perfect blog-job

Sometimes I have been too bothered about blogging and the thoughts that come into my mind are just bits and pieces of literary inspirations ( that peep into my thought-window when I ride, sleep or try to sleep .. ) and nothing more than that. The feeling of helplessness due to my inability to expand on the idea forces the early abortion of the blog-fetus. So I decided that even if its just 3 lines .. A blog is a blog ... afterall blogs are just meant for that ! Who needs a perfect composed blog afterall with an Introduction Content and Conclusion? Eeek .. It all sounds genuinely artificial. Write as if no one is reading.. ( a variant of 'Dance as if no one is watching' .. in my case, both inevitably are true.) Stop when you feel its no more fun. That's a perfect blog-job.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Blogs are just the beginning.. The future is scary

Why should blogs be ever popular ? Is it because of the ease of the execution of mandatory web-page-publishing-cycle ? Or is it because of the push it is given by the fad propogating media ? Or is it for real ? Far away from the ideas of convergence of devices , confluence of media and unification of almost-everything ... to a meaningful granularization of existing media, every one having a medium of communication of their own, I-have-a-channel-of-my-own culture.

Imagine the death of the video-on-demand culture, instead you surf into another's personal media channel- a public broadcast of someones personal ideas and living style - cybercams fitted into living rooms, personal speech pod-casted into the cyberspace and everything that you want made available - made public. There is an enormous amount of cultural diversity waiting to be broadcasted- there is an infinite amout of information waiting to be consumed. There will be an overload of junk which today is wrongly interpreted as information. The internet is no longer be the internet as we knew a few years ago. It is bound to be a living, growing and thriving society where you will have to fight for your personal space, wars waged over virtual boundaries and everything that you see or do leaves behind traces of your cyber fingerprints.An artist's impression of human implants and the future !

Grids of Information
Everything would be done over the internet - the grid. Your life would revolve around ( or stand still ) on what the grid has to offer today. The grid would be so very ubiquitous that everything that is pluggable would be plugged into the grid. We are not talking about the laptops or the PDAs .. we are talking about your toaster, hair dryer, battery charger, telephones, water heater,ceiling fan, tubelight, 100-watt GE bulb, dishwasher - anything electric - to begin with ... and slowly micro-chip-embedded devices like fountain pens, wine bottles, pepsi cans, post-it notes, razor blades, shirts, shoes and even the liquid nail polish would have grid enabled technology in it. Everything would have a story to tell and all this would be available over the internet - data flowing into the internet like streams of radiation from the sun.

Plug - but dont Play
A little distant future is even more scarier - The world as we know today is over. I dont even want to think about the possibility of detachable, grid-enabled body parts out for sale in the walmarts-of-tomorrow. You would be moving around in an invisible but recognizable ether of 'grid-fluid' .. thick, dense and full of data - your presence easily monitored and broadcasted by a universal GPS - Grid Positioning System. If you want to find out where your teenage daugher or for that matter your tootAmal Graafstr's RFID implanted handshbrush is ... all you have to do is just log in to the GPS ( G for Grid ) tracking site and search by the GID ( Grid ID) (todays prototypes are the RFIDs) - but the question remains - how will you remember the GID for something as trivial and 'useless' as a cork-opener ? There comes the solution in the form of AIG ( Artificial Intelligence for teh Grid ). You think about it - and you get it ! Sounds crazy ? - sorry to dissapoint you - the future is already here. But that would be another blog ... The grid is here to stay ! Plug yourself in .. Unplugging yourself would be the equivalent of suicide. Someday, scores of eons from now when the Bible would be re-written, it would read like ..
" In the beginning, there was the blog ...."

"Florentino is so in love with Fermina that he eats gardenias and drinks cologne so that he can know her taste. He becomes drunk on the cologne, and his mother finds him the next morning, in a puddle of his vomit, in a cove of the bay where drowning victims are known to wash ashore" - Love in the time of Cholera