Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Joy

Sometimes in life, happiness finds you
Sometimes, you find it waiting in a forgotten corner
Some other times, you search for all that cannot be and hope
Then your eyes open and you realize
Right there in your hand rests what you sought
Only very few times, do you actually acknowledge
That happiness you hold safely in your life

Today, as I look back, I realize
That through providence we met,
Through persistence we stuck together
and with happiness well last
for as long as the going goes

What I hold in my hand right now
Is the elusive joy I once so sought
What I hope to never let go.

Flying without wings

Disclaimer : I wrote this for a competition in office. Not one of my best posts. But still thought I would give some life to my currently inactive blog.

It was right there in front of me. The beautiful tree lined road empty in the wee hours of the morning. It was just perfect. The road, the weather, the company. But still, I was not sure. Should I do it or not?

I got a 4 wheeler licence two years ago. I was petrified to try driving a car on my own. I only drove those decrepit ones my driving instructor had. Of all things, I was scared of what might happen when i was on my own in the road. "The roads are full of idiots", I remarked time and again masking my mindless fear with a supposed logic that laughed at the rest of the world. All the while, I knew I had to overcome  my fear and take the first step.

I convinced my then fiancee to take me out on a drive early one morning. He stopped in an empty road and asked me if i wanted to try driving. That was the dilemma i tried narrating in the very first paragraph of this blog post. After much thinking, I sat on the driver's seat. "Slowly release the clutch as you accelerate in the first gear. Go slow.Drive in the first gear for sometime and then jump to the second" The sensible voice guided me and I followed the instructions perfectly. After a few minutes, I changed to the second gear. My confidence increased in leaps and bounds. I started speeding and there I was happily in the fourth gear.

"Slow down. You dont have control over the car." He tried telling me but to no avail."I am doing good. Come on!!" I was so delighted and laughing the whole time. I was finally on my own and I was able to manage the car! I was flying without wings in a wonderful vehicle designed just to cater to me!

Then, disaster stuck in phases. First, There was a speed breaker down the road and I slowed down just in time. I did not however brake properly and we literally flew over the same. "I did slow down. The car has a bad reaction time." I blamed the poor car for my mistake. Next, I kept too much to the left and accidentally hit a mirror of a standing car. I sped by hoping the damages were not much. Then, I saw this huge lorry coming down the road. I was sure that it was the biggest lorry i had seen in my entire life. "Slow down. Keep left!" He screamed and I did press my leg firmly on the pedal. The vehicle sped up instead of slowing down. I was working on the accelerator. I forgot where the brake was and I was moving to the right rather than the left.

Thankfully the lorry driver swerved right in time. I braked to a stop without gearing down. I wordlessly got down from the driver's seat and went back to my usual place. I was speechless for a long time. (Anyone who knows me would know how difficult that is) and I finally opened my mouth to thank all gods I know for the narrow escape. Now, I am able to sit here and write about my experience simply  because the lorry driver swerved when he had to. Even now, my heart starts racing when I recount this incident. I can only hope that someday, I shall start driving the car and look back and laugh at this incident.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A spot of bother - Mark Haddon

I have this habit of buying books without reading their reviews. More so when I have had a good experience with the author in the past. After his curious incident of the dog at night time, I literally pounced on this book when i came across it in my favorite bookshop.

Though I would not call it disappointing, it was not as interesting read as the first one was. The plot follows the seemingly nice Hall family who are plagued by a variety of problems. None of them seem unreal but somehow it is difficult to imagine that all of it could occur together in a single place. The father, George is afraid of dying and suspects that he has a cancer. A suspicion that no doctor is able to address as he is convinced. The mother, Jean who has started working after her husband's retirement is having an affair with an ex-colleague of her husbands. There is no love in the relationship as such and you realise that she wants to have someone dependent on her. However, the partner expects a deeper commitment.

The children have issues of their own. The daughter is confused about her love for her fiancee after the marriage has been fixed and announced. She has come out of a bad relationship with her ex husband and she had survived as a single mother. She questions her choice wondering if she settled for the not so qualified man because she was tired of looking. Ray, her fiance is in love with her and wants things to improve and hopes that she loves him. Her son Jacob is a very determined boy and only adds on to the confusion by his love hate relationship with his to be step father. The brother Jamie is a homo- sexual who realizes the importance of his relationship with Tony after they break up.

All these parallel plots intersect after George cuts out his cancer with scissors and gets admitted in a hospital. How things get resolved forms the crux of the story. It is a well written book with a climax that was a little of a let down compared to the rest of the book. All the characters initially seem real and then act in a very stereo typical manner. But overall, an ok read, not one of the must read books.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Aadukalam

Yet another movie in my long to watch list that I managed to watch. I loved it! I am not the kind of person who likes watching violent action movies, but this one, was deep and not too violent except towards the end. The plot is seemingly simple. It follows Karuppu, a man who makes his living off cock fights. He adores his mentor and looks up to him. In a cockfight gone awry one of their animals is stolen and while going to retreive it he falls in love with an Anglo Indian girl way out of his league.
In a very important tournament he races his cock which was called useless by his mentor and wins easily. He unwittingly hurts the ego of the man he loves. The rest of the plot follows the changing behaviour of the scheming mentor and the retributions it has on the naive hero. It ends with a gory climax.
A very well made movie that is deep and well thought out. The characters are life like and Dhanush has done a brilliant job. The rest of the characters have also done acted pretty well and help make the movie a very enjoyable watch.

--
Harini Padmanabhan

Beautiful song

I love this song. I have been humming it for sometime now

Mezzeh - Indira Nagar

We love Lebanese food and we had been waiting to check out this place for quite sometime now.We ended up there on Friday night for a late dinner and this, after Ghost Rider was another disappointment too! The place was more of a Hookah joint than a restaurant and that put me off as soon as I entered. I was not the target audience for the place and so, it was a bit disappointing. The menu was nothing to write home about for a vegetarian and the rates were pretty steep. The food was ok and was not that enjoyable. The portions were decent but not a lot. However, all was not lost as the ambiance was very good. That happened to be the only saving grace in what was otherwise a very below average experience.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

I usually like super hero movies. The first part of the ghost rider series was no exception. So I was super excited to go watch this movie on a friday evening.

The plot is nothing like the first part. You have a balding aged hero trying to control his inner demons and a young boy on the run. There are a few shiny bits here where the boy's relationship with his mother is shown. There is a supposedly big suspense as to who is chasing the boy and why. However, pretty soon you realize the relationship between the boy and the devil and that suspense is killed as well. The flashback could have been longer, but it was just a few lines long and I felt a little cheated at being robbed of what could have been the human angle of the story.

The stunt sequences are decent but not mind boggling. I don't know why they got rid of Eva Mendes for this movie. But that was definitely a mistake. The other heroine (I dont even know her name) was ok but not as classy as Eva. The little boy has done a good job but he definitely could not have saved the movie. The decay villain was seriously horrible and yes, they did manage to gross me out with him. The devil looks way too old and frankly the climax was so predictable. 

The movie is just like the skull of the ghost rider. It looks deep but is shallow throughout and apart from a few glowing bits, there is no spirit but just plain misguided vengeance in this movie.

The Town

This movie has been on our "To watch" list for quite sometime now. We finally ended up watching it yesterday. A good watch about sums up my opinion of the movie so those of you that don't have the patience to continue can stop here. :)

Plot :

The movie follows a gang of robbers who have been together since their childhood and share a deep bond. In one of their jobs they kidnap the bank manager Claire. Doug befriends her in an attempt to find out how much she has told the FBI. In a strange turn of events, he falls for her. He decides to leave his life of crime and the rest of the plot follows what happens because of his decision. The screenplay is good and the plot is not very predictable.

Cast : 

Ben Affleck has done a brilliant job and the rest of the cast is believable as well. I liked a few side characters including Jem's sister who seem to fit their roles. 

A definite one time watch. 7 on 10. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Step down

I think that some of the problems we face in life can be put down to the fact that people do not want to step down from their perceived positions of responsibility. This could be sportsmen who enjoyed the limelight once and are still hanging on to the past and refusing to let the younger crowd move up. This could be actors who still choose to run around trees rather than try something else. It could be people like you and me, still doing things someone else ought to be doing because we are comfortable with it. It could be parents who refuse to let their children grow up and constantly take care of their every whim and fancy. In the process all of us are making multiple mistakes. By carving a narrow niche for ourselves and refusing to face change and find a place somewhere else when time has come, we are stopping our own growth. On top of that, we do not let the next rung of people in to do what they ought to do. We are stopping progress in more ways than one.

Often, I wonder about this niche a person carves for themselves. I mean, how long can you afford to say you are an expert in something you do? No matter how much you update yourself, shouldn't you find a new challenge in sometime? How long will you play act the same role? Should there not be other things to do? I think I belong to the category that likes constant challenges.I do not mind being the Jack of multiple trades as long as i like what I learn. That way, I am enjoying the process and learning alongside multiple masters. Maybe, that is why I would like to associate stepping down with actually stepping up to find something else to do.

For all i know this post could have been just a random rambling and my blog could have been stepped down in a few people's list. However, considering that I am writing despite being sleepy, I might as well pen down all my thoughts. :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pretend You don't see her - Mary Higgins Clark

I associate Mary Higgins Clark with popcorn thrillers. Her books are always well written and gripping but they can never be compared to the likes of Christie.

This book is about Lacey Farrell, a real estate agent who unwittingly witnesses the murder of a client (Isabelle Waring) in a high end residence. She is placed under the witness protection program while the cops try to hunt down the killer. Things are further complicated by the fact Isabelle suspected foul play in her daughter's death. She had found proof in her daughter's journal just before she was killed. Lacey is entrusted with the same. How the cops finally stumble across the truth forms the rest of the plot.

Right now I am half asleep so my attempt at a book review stops here.I would simply call it a good read overall.

The Biere club - Lavelle Road

Disclaimer : I do not drink or eat non vegetarian. So my reviews on the two aspects are based on hear say only

Saturday afternoon, we land up in Biere Club for a lunch treat. The place is half full when we arrive and we manage to get good seats. However, the experience was not as good going forward.

Food:

We initially ordered a couple of Lebanese vegetarian starters. They tasted good and came after some wait. The Beer however, (brewed in their own brewery) arrived immediately and I was left waiting for my mocktail. The mocktails were good but one had to be very careful about ordering the same. According to the menu beer was not considered alcoholic and hence a few mocktails contained beer. We had a few more starters and I remember the Bruschetta best. It was quite good and well made. The non veg starters were also received well and the wheat beer highly appreciated.

The main course was just pizzas and a pasta. Here is where disaster stuck. There was a hair in the pasta and the genius who was waiting on us took some time to recognize it and take it back. That threw a towel on my experience in the place. Immediately after that, a friend found an ant floating on the beer. That way, I have serious questions about their hygiene standards.

Ambiance:

The place has unobtrusive yet good music and you can enjoy a quiet lunch with your friends. The tables are very closely placed and unless you are very persuasive, you might end up in a table that is small for your group.

Service:

The staff are quite courteous but are never in a hurry. This could possibly be because of the usual crowd that comes in there spends longer time than the likes of me would. They replaced the food and drinks when we had complaints with the same once they validated it.

Price:

It was definitely expensive and unless you want to experience some home brewed beer, I would not suggest this place. There are a lot of other nice places to munch in on a saturday noon.

Real Steel

Yet another movie I watched last weekend. Of the two(refer previous post), I liked this one better.

The movie is set in 2020, a world where men sick of fighting among themselves peg their robots against each other. The plot follows Charles Kenton, a failed boxer trying to make his living of the sport with his pet Robot. You watch him recklessly throw away everything he has and enjoy the ride he takes. I wish I had his nerve to go around wasting my life away. :) He lives in the gym of his childhood friend where he was also trained for boxing.

He is asked to hand over the custody for his young son(Max) whom he has never met to the kids aunt who loves the child. Assessing the deal he could get in the process, he demands 100000 dollars from the rich old husband of his dead girl friends sister. The man agrees to the deal and gives him half the amount with the condition that Charlie watch Max while he goes for a second honey moon with his wife. Charlie buys a robot called Noisy boy with the money he gets out of the deal. Charlie's overconfidence and pride leads to the destruction of noisy boy in the robotic bout. Father and son go ahead to scavenge for scraps. There an old robot saves Max's life. Max decides to dig it out from the scrap yard and take it along with him.

Pressed for Money, Charlie and Max use "Atom" in the Robotic bouts. How the father and son bond over the Robot forms the rest of the plot.

The kid has done an amazing job. Hugh Jackman lives the role and makes the movie very enjoyable. The Robots are damn cool looking and the sound tracks awesome. I would definitely recommend this movie and the sound tracks. Worth the time spent. :)

Crazy Stupid Love

Na, I am not blaming the emotion. I happen to like it, that is of one can harbor emotions about emotions. :)

This post is an attempt to review this movie I watched last weekend. It is one of the usual romantic comedies that Hollywood so loves to churn out from time to time.  I have to admit that I did enjoy this one. The movie begins with the wife requesting for a divorce from her husband of many years after a night out. They go home to break the news to their young son(Robbie) who is being taken care of by the baby sitter he is in love with. The heart broken husband(Steve Carrell as Carl) gets drunk in a bar and soon begins to frequent it. There he bonds with a young man(Ryan Gosling as Jacob) who decides to help the husband "to find his lost manhood". The process which starts out with the two going shopping and the younger, smartly dressed guy teaching the older one a few tricks of the trade. He succeeds in effecting the transformation, but the man is still in love with his wife. On another plane, you watch a young girl pass her law exams. She is offered a partnership in a law firm from the man she expected a proposal from. She storms out and goes ahead to spend a night with Jacob whom she had spurned on a previous occasion. The two fall in love.

After this you watch as three sub plots involving Carl and his wife, Jacob and the girl from the bar, Robbie and his baby sitter converge in a decent climax.

I was quite sad to watch Julianne Moore. She looks very old in this movie. It was comparable to my disappointment in watching Meg Ryan in "My mother's boy friend". Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell and the boy who acted as Robbie have all done a good job. It was a pleasant movie to watch with nothing unpredictable. There are a lot of interesting scenes which make the entire movie stick together. I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Duty? Reward

Centuries ago, Lord Krishna told Arjuna, "Do your duty, do not expect the rewards".

I seriously wonder today about the truth behind this sentence. How many of us will be able to do our duty without thinking about the rewards?I know I cant. Sometimes when the work really intrigues me and the fine line between work and play becomes non existent, I have been able to. But later, I have regretted doing that as some undeserving nut has gotten the credit for it. I am sure that there were people like that in Krishna's time as well. Is this his way of sympathizing with us? Is he reminding us that whether we expect rewards or not, we will only get what is due to us and that way, we will be disappointed if we expect the rewards? Is he reminding us that our life time when compared to that of the earth or life in general is comparable to hardly a few nanoseconds?

I am thinking about this sentence from today evening. I know that I will expect rewards and be disappointed if I dont get them. I know that the disappointment is not going to stop me from expecting the next time. I know that my one problem is my supposed trust in human nature and fate. People are inherently good and no matter what, what is yours can never be taken away. In the recent days, that belief is being shaken too often and I don't know how long I can afford to keep up this rosy outlook about life. For my own sake, I hope I can. Else, what is left of life does not seem too promising or enticing.

Time and again, I see many people choosing an easy way to achieve reward over doing their duty. They do not really seem to be thinking twice about doing what they do. I am no saint and I know my follies. But this is not one of that. I would choose a real crook over a false saint any damn day. I hope that I never choose the path that will help me gain rewards without working towards it and that I dont try to manipulate the truth to gain a short term desire. Only I know how much I am tempted now and only I know how strong my resolve is. For, right in front of me I see people enjoying the fruits of their desire and my fruits of labor rotting away. I am tempted - but I choose to not bend to it. I hope that throughout my life, I have the luxury of choice even if i lose everything else.