Monday, June 30, 2008

Life in june 2008

Life could not have been better in june 2008. Movies took a little (very little) backseat and many different things were tried:

1. Trip to Point Reyes. Sunday - 22 June 2008. On saturday, at 10 pm i was sitting on my sofa passing time over internet and gursharan calls me asking for a trip to Point Reyes on the day after. 12 hrs later I am looking at one of the most beautiful place that i have ever seen. Nitin and Prashant were the other two guys. Nitin is an amazing guy - he knows how to go on a trip. He stopped the car whenever it was something different, we got down, did 15 min hikes, sat and enjoyed the weather. We reached Point Reyes after 3 stops and at 2 in the afternoon. The trip is documented in pictures here.
2. San Francisco Trip: This happened in May end but still it counts as June. This was with Varun and it was a lovely trip. The trip can be viewed here.

3. Muir woods trip. Went for a hike in Muir woods. It was a 3 hr hike, about 5 miles, walking in tall Redwood trees.

4. A 4 hr random walk in San jose downtown with Gursharan trying to find an Indian restaurant.

1. Went to mantra's. Went on the first time on Deepti didi's bday and 2nd time yesterday. I ate Kuch Subz masala(still remember the dish name). It had the taste of mor curry.
2. Fundoo buffet at passage to India after we hiked to Point Reyes. Well i am msure their buffet went short that day.
3. Tried La fiesta - the best mexican food of my life so far.
4. Tried Temptations - Indian Chinese mashup. Loved it!
5. Tied house - Twice! One was when Adore UI launched and one when K2 was launched. had awesome time!
6. Made kheer, chana dal fry, pasta (on different days of course) at home. All were tasty.

1. Play it again, Sam. (Review posted before).
2. Mad max - Watched it in office conference room with Michel. Masala flick.
3. Ashes of time - Watched it in office conference room with Michel. Awesome movie by Wong kar wai.
4. Kungfu panda - Went to shoreline cinemas with Mithul, Vikram and Guy.

1. Allo Allo: STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Thanks to Shobhit for this one. Hilarious sitcom. British sitcoms are so well made. Currently i am in season 5. I laugh uncontrollably when i watch it.

1. Attended a Jazz concert at Stanford shopping center. Good clean atmosphere with music in the air.
2. Went for bowling with deepti didi, jijaji and siddarth on my birthday. Had great fun. Pics are yet to be loaded.
3. Cricket match at Stanford - Met with Nipun at Stanford and played a cricket match there. I biked 8 miles one way to reach stanford. The drive is on foothill expressway - a good ride.
4. Tennis with Gursharan. Played tennis for the first time in life with Gursharan. Well guess what - I suck at tennis.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Woody Allen - God on Earth

Going my Hindu mythology, in every yug (cycle of life), God comes to Earth and destroys evil.
If that is true, in the current one, my best guess for God would be Woody Allen and i think Woody will agree as well with me.

Just finished watching Play it Again, Sam, a spoof on Casablanca, Woody Allen style. Although not directed by him, but surely it has all elements of a Woody Allen movie. Allen plays himself - a neurotic, wasted man whose wife has run away and now he is looking for a girl to date. He is in awe with the movie Casablanca and has visions of Bogart.

Allen's earlier movies have Allen stamped all over them and this one is no different. Best comes from his one liners which are as witty as it can get.

If i am not back in an hour, sublet my apartment.

Dick: What? You got into a fight?
Allan: Yep.
Dick: With who?
Allan: Some guys were getting tough with Julie. I had to teach them a lesson.
Dick: Are you all right?
Allan: Yeah, I'm fine. I snapped my chin down onto some guy's fist and hit another one in the knee with my nose.

Allan: I'm so excited, I think I'll brush all my teeth today!

Nancy: My lawyer will call your lawyer.
Allan: I don't have a lawyer. Have him call my doctor.

And the list is endless. Although my personal favourite Allen movie is Love and Death, but seeing Allen on screen is all that is needed to bring smile on my face. Woody allen started by making spoofs of movies, be it Casablanca or Bergman but all of them had style - a style in which there is an analyst , neurologist, a guy who is destroyed and looking for comeback. His analyst scene in Bananas where he explains his dream is god level allen. I can not find that video online to post it now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Godse, Gandhi and Hindutva

I started reading Offstumped, a blog where people post analysis of Indian politics and day to day activities and if the link is here, it means i like it.

On the discussion page, someone posted a link to Godse's court plea when he was put on trial on the charges of killing Gandhi. It can be downloaded from here :

Congress banned Godse's plea as it was very accurate and showed the weaknesses of Congress. Godse was an intelligent man with a clear rationale on why he was killing Gandhi and he justified it very well. Even the judge who presided over the hearing was impressed. The article in the link above was written by a fellow who was also set on trial but got life transportation instead of death. It is to be noted that Godse never denied that he had killed Gandhi. However he denied all the other charges put forth against him. He faught his own defense and won it.

Many historians claim that Godse by killing Gandhi has immortalized him. Godse's defense contains some good analysis of where Gandhi went wrong. But again he is also biased when it comes to it. I would like to look at Gandhi from sociological perspective. Gandhi tried very hard to achieve hindu-muslim unity. In doing so, to win over Muslim's hearts he criticized when Hindus attacked muslims but was completely silent when the opposite happened. Look at it from Gandhi's perspective. Gandhi must have thought that by condemning muslim people, he would surely crete more enmity among muslims. He already had support from hindus, so he can use that. Ofcourse Gandhi was making a mistake. But the blunder was that he kept on repeating the same mistake over and over again. Plus since he was at the top position, i think there was no one to correct him as well. Gandhi made a mistake a judgment but i guess the punishment of a mistake is magnified by its impact and Gandhi due to its god-like status made a huge impact.

Having said that, Gandhi's role for Indian independence can not be undermined. It is sad that he had to face such a death but on the other hand, Godse's question - How else to stop Gandhi?, there is no answer to this question.

Now coming to Hindutva, these religious fundamentalist are repeating the history again. Divisive politics are yet to reach new lows. The same question is still there - How to stop them? Is India looking for another Godse now?

Wrong juxtaposition?

Two weeks ago, Gursharan and i met after a gap of 2 years at San Jose Downtown.
Two years if somebody would have said that, it would have been a dream. But this is not what this post is about.

While we were walking on the streets, turning at every corner (we were looking for an Indian restaurant but that is also not important), two things happened that may be very small but tell something great.

At a redlight, while waiting for the light to turn green, there was another sardarji waiting. And by the time we had crossed the street, gurshi had struck a conversation with him. By the end of next block, we knew his name, work, when did he came to US, where does he lives , his life and thousands of other details. And at the next block, Gurshi and that sardarji had exchanged numbers and then we parted ways.

After 10 mins later, we were walking on a sidewalk and from opposite side a group of 5 desi ppl were coming. 3 in front, 2 in back and one of the persons walking at back was a sardarji. As we passed the front group nothing happened and as we were passing the back row, a greeting was exchanged between gurshi and that sardarji.

I was really impressed. Damn impressed! We had met hundreds of desis while walking and in past but we have never bothered to give any attention to them. But the sikh community has such an amazing bonding, the camaraderie is so good that no matter even if two people merely see each other, a greeting is exchanged and that is the least bit to expect.
Hats off! I love it.

I wanted to write about it earlier but it slipped my mind. But why today? This brings me to the title of this post.

I have just watched the movie Amu directed by Shonali Bose starring Konkona Sen sharma and Yashpal sharma. and it is about 84 riots focussing mainly in Delhi. A good but painful movie to watch. Story wise it was like a history lesson for a fool like me. (who doesnt knows a bit on what goes on in India and claims to be an Indian ). Cinema wise it was also good, the movie ends with a tv anchor reporting Godhra riots and a train running on a railway track which lies in between a village - Saying that life goes on and nothing has changed even after so many years.

Is it possible that the riots may have resulted in the camaraderie that Sikhs enjoy. Something that we can just look and envy but it takes real pain and effort to build. Or is it just wrong juxtaposition?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saare gunah maaf

Saare gunaah maaf (All mistakes pardoned)

This is again my philosophy made after deep though and meditation gifted to be by God himself after he had a heavy lunch and i was not allowing to go for his afternoon siesta. So, with total disregard to his usual process and with drowsiness he gave me the boon which i am calling as - Saare gunaah maaf.

Saare gunah maaf is a gift granted to certain individuals by which their current mistake is pardoned as if it never has happened. It is made clear by few examples below -

Steven Speilberg ke saare gunah maaf hain. It means that he can make endless bad movies (Indiana Jones 4,5,6,...., War of the worlds etc), we will not mind at all because in past he has made Schindler's list.

Another example would be
A.R. Rehman, he can make albums like Mangal pandey or the one for Jackie chan movie, it is all forgivable because he has given us swades and vande mataram.

Naseeruddin shah can act in any goddamn film like Kriish, or league of extra ordinary gentleman or he can make pathetic movies like yun hota toh kya hota but we have no right to get angry. His saare gunah are maaf because he has acted in the legendary serial - Ghalib, and movies like mirch masala, mandi and many others.

This rule is not limited to entertainment industry.
Foe e.g. in sports it applies to Sachin Tendulkar. He can get out at 0 for all the rest of his innings and all his mistakes will be pardoned.

In Sw. indistry, it applies to Steve Jobs. He can make any marketing disasters now and none would count as he has revolutionized apple once again.

In Politics it applies to Manmohan Singh. Because he played a very important role in 90s as the Finance minister, he can be as lazy as he wants.

There is a reverse rule as well. Saare sukarm nazarandaaz (All good deeds ignored)
It means that no matter how much good you do, it will be ignored because of your past.

But this boon was rejected to me by God because (1) His nap time was getting closer and (2) God himself was the example. I think i should have thought a better example.

Khuda ke lie (in the name of god)

In the name of god - Khuda le liye

In the name of God watch this movie. I loved the movie, felt for it. So much so that as i was watching the movie, i was cursing (and not good words by any means) the fundamentalists. I freak out when i hear religious fundamentalist, orthodox idiots without any rationale, discrimination against women and this movie tackles all these issues in a nice manner.

Naseeruddin shah comes in a cameo role, as a rescuer, and yet again his 5 minutes of presence is enough for me to watch the movie again. Best performance comes from the girl - Iman Ali. But all credit for the movie goes to the director for bringing out such a controversial taboo topic and that too in a somber manner. The Chicago love story was a little far fetched but then little bit of extremism is ok.

A thing that should be learned from this movie is that life can be very unpredictable. While there is no use in being prepared for that because you cant, but to accept the situation and try to get out of it if possible. Life has its own plans and they may not match with our own plans but we should allow it to happen. I think Iman Ali's portrayal embodies this philosophy and she did a very good job.

A similar movie would be parzania. Come on Bollywood, we also need a movie from you now on Hindu fundamentalist.

The above is called a totally biased. A totally biased review is defined as one where the writer just rants about the movie without revealing anything about the movie. So if you are still wondering what the movie is all about, i would say to go and watch it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

लकडी की काठी

लकडी की काठी काठी पे घोडा
घोडे की दुम पे जो मारा हथोड़ा
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा

घोडा पहुँचा चौक में चौक में था नाइ
घोडेजी की नाइ ने हजामत जो बनाई
चग बग चग बग चग बग चग बग
घोडा पहुँचा चौक में चौक में था नाइ
घोडेजी की नाइ ने हजामत जो बनाई
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा
लकडी की काठी काठी पे घोडा
घोडे की दुम पे जो मारा हथोड़ा
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा

घोडा था घमंडी पहुँचा सब्जी मंडी
सब्जी मंडी बरफ पड़ी थी बरफ में लग गई ठंडी
चग बग चग बग चग बग चग बग
घोडा था घमंडी पहुँचा सब्जी मंडी
सब्जी मंडी बरफ पड़ी थी बरफ में लग गई ठंडी
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा
लकडी की काठी काठी पे घोडा
घोडे की दुम पे जो मारा हथोड़ा
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा

घोडा अपना तगड़ा है देखो कितनी चरबी है
चलता है मेहरौली में पर घोडा अपना अरबी है
चग बग चग बग चग बग चग बग
घोडा अपना तगड़ा है देखो कितनी चरबी है
चलता है मेहरौली में पर घोडा अपना अरबी है
लकडी की काठी काठी पे घोडा
घोडे की दुम पे जो मारा हथोड़ा
दौडा दौडा दौडा घोडा दुम उठा के दौडा

Lyrics by Gulzaar sahab (wah sahab wah!, shukriya)
Music by R.D Burman
Movie Masoom by Shekhar Kapoor

I was reading Gulzaar sahab's interview and he said that of all things he likes to write children songs like the one above. Today i remembered it and began to dissect this song. Its a gem but credit should also go to Burman.

Above are the lyrics of the song and i have bolded the main lines of the song. I typed the whole song in hindi. Rest are just repetitions (chorus). There is one mukhda and only 3 stanzas after it, each of 2 lines. Thats it! How cleverly Burman has shaped them into a song. This song is again a coming together of geniuses each in their own art and making a masterpiece.

Listen to this song and other children songs here : Dhingana

The Kite Runner

Book by Khaleed Hossini
Movie by Marc Forster (Finding neverland fame)

First the good news, i read the book first and then watched the movie.
Two cult lines:
There is a way to be good again

For you, A thousand times over

First the book review. I didnt liked how the first hundred pages went but the next 300 were very well drawn out. First things first, this book is not a memoir of Afghanistan, (as many reviewers say), infact this book's attempt to portray Afghanistan is quite cliche, slapstick run of the mill stuff. The story and style has the author's American influence on it and it is visible.
Why the novel is good - because of the character baba, the above two lines and little philosophy of sin and lastly, it highlights an internal struggle of a man, his psyche against himself.
It was a good read.

A good fiction is one that blends morality with fiction. It can be a study of a man's psyche or society's beliefs. Kite runner does a good job in this dept.
Why i dont like the book: Weak premise, a boy of 12 is a ignorant, he is a child for god's sake. He is incapable of such complexities. He can not think this much. Cheesy depiction of Afghanistan is another reason.

How about the movie?
It is bad, quite bad. First, the novel is told in a first person while the movie is shot in third person. It was a bad judgement. A good voice over could have made all the difference. (For example The diving bell and butterfly). Secondly, they edited the favourite part from the movie. Amir laughs when Aseef beats him because as he is getting beaten he is getting rid of his guilt. This was cult in novel. That scene is edited out. But the movie was good in patches, especially since the ending. It came very close to my visualization. Another possibly wrong point is that the movie is in Afghan language. The novel was in english with some afgan words thrown between.
Marc Forster is no Majid Majidi when it comes to children but still he does a decent job there.

Lastly, finding neverland was cult because besides good direction, it had Depp and Winslet and a story which can bring anyone to tears. If there was a novel with the same name, i can without reading it say that the movie conveyed the central idea well. But that is not the case with Kite runner.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody.mp3 - Queen

I had heard this song before but didnt paid much attention to it. Bit just like that i heard it again last week and since then i am in love with it. Wiki has an excellent article on it.

It is a whole opera in 5 mins. Too much improvisation and nicely done. This song was also voted the #1 song of all time. In my present mindset i also agree :)


Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody - I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo - (anyway the wind blows)
I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning - very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro - magnifico

But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go - will you let me go
Bismillah! No - we will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - let me go
Will not let you go - let me go (never)
Never let you go - let me go
Never let me go - ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no -
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
for me
for me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh baby - can't do this to me baby
Just gotta get out - just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters - nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows...

Its that time of the year again

Its that time of the year again
My bed is soft, sleep is sound
dreams are an exaggeration of reality
and reality itself appears as a dream.

So many friends! So many relatives!
All asking about me
All wishing me, bestowing blessings
Even the lady luck can no longer ignore me
Her door is banged endlessly today.

Its that time of the year again
While its just a day
that will pass eventually
But the milestone standing next to the road
will stay perpetually.

O me! Lets talk today
Heart to heart, face to face
Man to man but with grace.

Its the time of the year again,
Time to get high, Time for a free fall
I will do whatever i think i may
Cause today is my birthday!
Yes that's right!
today is my bday.
la la la la la la la
ho ho ho ho ho
today is my bday.
yay, yay, yay, yay

This is interesting. When i started writing the poem i was listening to Queen, in particular Bohemian Rhapsody, that was yesterday. Today while finishing it, i am listening to children songs (lakdi ki kaathi, nani ki morni etc) and thats why there are those lyrical tunes(la, ho yay etc). This is a good experiment on how music affects our psychology.

Anyways, what should i do today? Nice question. huh?
But why is there a need to do anything. Why can i spend a day by doing nothing (Seinfeld)
Doing nothing is doing something(Casper) blah blah blah!
So this is what i am going to do for the next 2 hrs. Blog! and thass!

Glass window

यह कांच की खिड़कियाँ और दरवाज़े
अक अलग ही अंदाज़ देते है
एक अजब सा नज़ारा पेश करते हैं
बाहर की दुनिया परायी
बारिश मीठी पत्ते हरे
लोग अनजान, हर आदमी मुसाफिर

The above lines were written while sitting inside Klaus after the second semester was over.