Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Found this very interesting article on rediff which quotes a study findings that dark chocolates, cold meat for breakfast and daily(??) sex boosts one's brain power. The part about what not to do to improve brain power is equally entertaining - smoking cannabis, watching soap operas (I wonder what Ekta Kapoor has to say to this) and hanging out with those who moan (how would you know if someone moans or not?).

As always is the case with rediff articles, the comments section too makes for an interesting read .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What a match!

With both Federer & Nadal out of the Australian Open in the semis, I wasn't sure that the final clash between Djokovic & Tsonga would be as exciting as the one between Federer-Nadal. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The battle between Djokovic & Tsonga was very well-fought and seemed almost equally poised. Frenchman Tsonga has been a total surprise package in this whole tournament. He has defeated many top-seeded players en route his final clash with Djokovic. It was such a delight watching these two men in action - such agility on the court! And one of the TV commentators rightly said - 'What kind of practice do they do for a game like this - running in the Alps?'

Tsonga's near-perfect serves & Djokovic's play at the net were amazing. In spite of the fact that I am a die-hard Federer fan and absolutely love his game, class, grace & ease with which he plays those impossible looking shots; I did not feel guilty about admiring the Djokovic-Tsonga game. And my loyalties kept shifting from one to the other - that's what you call enjoying a game without any bias.

Picture courtesy:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Eons ago - in Kashmir

Found this old photo - taken more than 25 years ago. This one has me with my Mom and sisters (with the snow-peaked Himalayas in the backdground) during our family holiday in Kashmir. This place was somewhere between Srinagar & Gulmarg. Surprisingly, I have a lot of memories of this road trip, which by far remains the longest one I have made till date. I would love to go back to Kashmir and see how similar (or different) it is from what I remember of it ..

P.S.: I am the one sitting on rock - 2nd from left

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Is it just me or has SRK really started looking like Michael Jackson these days??!! *sigh*

Picture courtesy: http://www.bharatstudent.com/

Saturday, January 12, 2008


A lot has already been said and written about Aamir Khan's directorial debut film 'Taare Zameen Par'. I first saw the movie couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. Unlike most of the people around me, I didn't cry my heart out while watching it. But I did get emotional in some of the scenes. I wouldn't call the movie perfect either, though we all know about Aamir's penchant for perfection. Also, the film is definitely not a children's film just because the main protagonist is a 9-year old boy Ishaan. The film is aimed more at parents or parents-to-be or adults in general. There are some elements which do appeal to children; like animated sequence of Ishaan's way of finding 9*3=3 or the song bum-bum bhole.

Also, in my opinion it is not a film about dyslexic kids or kids suffering from any other physical or mental disabilities. The film is about parents' over-expectations from their kids; about every parent wanting his/her child to be an all-rounder, about the aspirations and dreams of the child being drowned somewhere in the process, about our education system's lack of capability in dealing with varied needs of children having different abilities, about academic marks/grades being the only yardstick in our society for measuring a child's abilities. Ishaan being dyslexic is just for added impact; although I would have found the movie more realistic if Ishaan would have just been a child with less inclination towards studies. But then, he would have received less sympathies from people that way.

Some things I specifically liked about the film were breaking of some Bollywood stereotypes - like showing Ishaan's elder brother Yohaan as understanding & sympathetic towards Ishaan in spite of being an 'achiever', not showing any romantic angle between Nikumbh and the young lady whom he often confided in (this is something I liked in 'Chak de India' also) , of not showing any miracles unlike run-of-the-mill Bollywood films. Ishaan already had a talent for painting, so his winning the painting competition did not seem miraculous (again, I would have preferred it if he had been second instead of a winner); improvement in his reading & writing abilities did not happen overnight but gradually and with lot of practice and patience.

The film did have its weaknesses too. For one, there were too many songs. Although all the songs were great & had very good lyrics, it was not necessary to have all of them in the film (particularly 'Bum bum bhole' & 'Jame raho'), the painting competition scene rambled a bit too long and Aamir did go overboard with the character of Ishaan's father. But in spite of these, the film managed to make us all do some amount of soul-searching and relating to the movie in some way or the other. I could see Aamir's trademark attention to details in the scene where he arrives at Ishaan's parents' home in Mumbai in a cab sitting in the front seat (and NOT the rear seat). But the best part was the effortless chemistry between Aamir & Darsheel. My favorite scene in the film was when Ishaan looks at his portrait by Nikumbh sir in the painting competition and the glances they exchange without saying a word - masterpiece!

Picture courtesy: http://dvdstore.erosentertainment.com/

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gender vs Race

On gender: "... because the children are still raised mostly by women, so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman"

On race: "... because racism stereotyped black men as more 'masculine' for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren't too many of them)"

Above lines are from this piece by Gloria Steinem on the presidential battle between Clinton & Obama. She observes that when it comes to running for the President, being black is much better than being a woman ... even in today's America.

And we thought gender biasness is only OUR national trait ...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Movies Galore @ Bangalore Int'l Film Festival

2nd Bangalore International Film Festival is on from 3rd to 10th Jan 2008 and a good selection of movies from across the world are being screened. I managed to catch some good films in the festival over the weekend. Thanks to post-inauguration press coverage of the event in Bangalore newspapers, I looked it up on Google and found the website of Suchitra Film Society (organizer of the festival, along with Govt of Karnataka). The website had most of the information I was looking for - schedule, venue, list of films to be screened etc. Vision Cinemas - the multiplex where most of the films are being screened, is not well-known in Bangalore , hence I had a little difficulty in finding the place. But the gentleman from Suchitra was kind enough to give me exact driving directions on phone.

The first film I caught yesterday was Malaysian film Goalposts and Lipsticks. It was a feel-good chick-flick that reminded me of Legally Blond & Chak De India. This was followed by French film When you come down from Heaven. I liked this one for its simple but impressive narrative about a good-hearted farmer arriving in a city in search of work and landing a government job that his conscience rebels against. The last film of the day was Temptations - a Hungarian film. It was a dark film interspersed with some surrealism and interesting cinematography (mostly black/white with close-up shots in color).
Today's films included - Hungarian film Dealer showing the life of a small-scale drug dealer, who takes some extreme measures due to the guilt he feels for having introduced people to drugs. The next one was French film Zim & Co showing the sudden turn of events in the life of a carefree, young guy Zim. The film had good comic moments and was quite enjoyable. The last one for the day was Hungarian film The Falcons. The film was about the life of a falconer in rural Hungary who breeds & trains falcons. I didn't enjoy the movie that much.

Things I liked about the festival was the response of the audience - there was a very good turn out and most of the auditoriums were almost full, the mood was quite upbeat & several films received applauds, the crowd was an eclectic mix - people related to film making/theatre, college students, the quintessential software professionals like me (it's Bangalore after all :) ) and some serious film festival buffs. I happened to speak to a German gentleman who had covered all the international film festivals in India last year and he recommended two films to me - French film Not here to be Loved (which, unfortunately I am going to miss due to it being screened at 9.30 AM on Tuesday, being a work day for me) and German film The Lives of Others. I am hoping to catch the latter as it will be screened during the closing ceremony on 10th Jan. The general feeling was that the films selected for the festival were mostly good and covered many genres. Another good thing was adherence to schedule - all the films I watched (barring just one) started on time.
I regret not having been able to catch any Indian films (there were quite a few good Malayalam, Kannada & Bengali films), having missed Ingmar Bergman's The Magician/The Face (due to its being screened at a different venue) and not being able to watch any of the documentaries this time. Also, there are many good films during the week that I would have to give a miss due to my work schedule :(
Unlike other metropolitan cities (and even cities like Hyderabad, Trivandrum & Panaji), Bangalore is relatively new to hosting such events. This inexperience was evident in terms of logistics & infrastructure problems - like mismanaged parking, less efficient staff, intermittently poor quality of screening (sometimes no sound, misalignment of projector etc), sound from one auditorium being audible in the adjacent one, uncomfortable seating etc. But overall, an enjoyable experience and I would look forward to Bangalore hosting many such events in future.
Picture courtesy:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year, eh?

After making/receiving numerous phone calls, sending/receiving many emails/texts/Orkut scraps to/from all the people I know (or hardly know) to wish them a happy new year; after partying hard for hours with friends at a city hotspot to bring in the new year - I have realized that the whole concept of new year is so overrated & pointless.

What exactly changes between 31st December of a year and 1st January of the next? In my opinion - nothing, apart from the last one (or in some cases two) digit of the year part of the date. Then why do we make such a hue & cry about the whole thing and spend so much time & money over it? We also indulge in inane things like making new year resolutions, taking stock of things done (or not done) right during the last year. Why is any other time of the year not good enough for doing this? Or is it all just a gimmick of these event management companies - just like Valentine's Day is that of all cards/gifts manufacturing companies?

Whatever it is, one thing is for sure - I am done celebrating new year. From next year onwards, it's going to be just another day for me..