Monday, February 18, 2013

Virus of the mind - Richard Brodie

My uncle suggested this book to me and like with Dan Ariely he was spot on in recognising brilliance.

The book talks about memes which are viruses of the mind. In really simplistic terms memes are but ideas or thoughts which float around. All of us are exposed to them and work as receivers, generators and transmitters for them. A meme that can stick around changes the way you look at the world in more ways than one. I never thought of my opinions and my tastes as a virus. I knew I had learnt it from the world around me but this book made me a lot more conscious about them. It made me attempt to watch my thoughts for quite some time.

The author talks about the most common ways we get infected and also tries to show through some beautiful examples as to what happens when we are. I loved his style and though he got a bit repetitive at times,he managed to make me remember a lot of interesting things through his repetition meme. I started thinking quite a bit about the things I have programmed myself with and the past few days have been incessant soul searching.

The picture is not pretty and I wonder if by letting this virus of questioning become active in my mind I am going to lose the little peace that I have. I don't want to elaborate on the book or the ideas discussed in detail as I don't think I would reproduce them faithfully. I'd rather that someone pick it up and experience a complete mental reprogramming exercise.

I would recommend this book for those of you that are ready to think and wonder about the very nature of life and the society. For the rest ill say, just stay away and be happy.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Inkaar - lives up to the title

I had been wanting to watch inkaar as I really like Arjuna Rampal. I thought with him and Chitrangadha the movie would be worth watching. The plot was interesting initially. The love turned hate relationship between the two leads made me want to see what had happened for it to turn sour and unfortunately the movie never answered it.

A career minded woman who wants the world for herself. She starts small and climbs the corporate ladder pretty fast establishing herself in a competitive male centric world. The initial back and forth set a decent pace and I geared up to watch what i thought would be a good movie treated with class. The movie unfortunately loses ground pretty fast.

It feels more like a love affair gone wrong than like a case of genuine harassment. I got so wild with the whole movie as I felt in not portraying the actual seriousness of the issue, it was mocking at it. So many women face the issue everyday. How could he have taken such a topic and not treated it seriously? How can you portray a single man and woman together and end it with a I love you? It's ridiculous to say the least. People who love each other have the sense to communicate it and not create a drama bringing in expensive advocates and social workers.

I was let down by the movie and got a little bugged by the pace. It could have been much better. There could have at least been a real victim rather than an idiot who does not even understand herself or a loser who remains single for so long.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vishwaroopam - larger than life

I had been watching the drama around the movie release as I could not frankly ignore it. After much hue and cry when the movie finally hit the screens, it had piqued my curiosity and I ended up in the theatres with my dear husband.

The first part of the movie was pretty well made and I absolutely admired Kamal's effortless donning of the role of the effeminate dancer. His love for his wife, his tolerance and his entire personality was interesting to watch. The scene where he transforms into the fearless killer was just beautiful. But the film was on a downward spiral from then on. The mindless gore, the heartless violence and the fact that I as a viewer could not feel any kind of emotion for what was happening on the screen were things that did not work for the movie.

Like a friend of mine said, this movie is a collection of a few brilliant scenes but nothing else. If he wanted to target a different type of audience, he should have tried to do a better job at direction and screenplay. I could not feel either love or repulsion to the man the jihadi was and the gore did nothing more than make me wonder how the make up was done. For all his intelligence and guts, he could have done something much better than build up for a sequel. There are so many loose ends and its so obvious that the director is just hoping for a repeat audience to come in for the part two of the movie. It was a let down all the way worth a watch for just appreciating his effort at spending so much money to create a wanna be classic.

Talaash - a fruitless search

I had been wanting to watch this movie for a long time. As much as I find Amir Khan over rated, I think he is at least entertaining. So on a Sunday afternoon I sat down and watched this celluloid drama which was nothing but a collection of random scenes and camera work focusing on just Amir. Everyone else just faded into the chaotic background.

The plot begins when a car flies of a road in Mumbai right onto the sea. Nobody is sure why the driver decided to dive as he was a famous actor whose wife vouches for his sanity and his will to live. Enter the famous brooding depressed inspector who has just lost his son in a boating accident. He takes it upon himself to investigate the crime and in his random loitering in the night all around the city - comes across a prostitute named Rosie who gives him multiple clues. Why the supposedly seductive siren decides to do that, the inspector never questions and the tough guy is even ready to enter a hotel room with her and fall asleep. If you ignore such logical failings the movie is an ok watch albeit a slow one.

In an attempt to bring out the suffering of the family that has lost a kid, the director loses track of what could have been a racy plot. Rani has been wasted in the movie and she definitely deserved more screen space. All the focus on Amir and the indecision that is so apparent in a few scenes just serves to kill the movie for the audience.

You could watch it for the different attempt that it is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Songs and dreams

Today I was flipping channels and I came across the movie "Sound of music" and I was so happy to get to watch it again. I loved the movie the first few times I saw it and this time around it was as lovely again. For those who haven't watched the movie, the story follows a playful nun sent to be a nanny of a large family. She falls in love with the father and for the rest of the story, watch the movie and enjoy it - the songs are beautiful and haunting to say the least. In the scene where the heroine tells the mother superior that she fears she has fallen in love, there is a beautiful song

Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
Till you find your dream

A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Every day of your life
As long as you live

This stanza is so amazing and actually made me sit up as frankly I don't know what my dream is. I think I know somethings I want. I am honest enough to admit that I really don't know what I actually want. I am talking about that dream which would make me want to do everything possible to accomplish it. I know all the things I love doing but I haven't done so many things and I really don't know if I would love the new things as much as I love the older ones or even more or maybe lesser.

I have reached a stage where I am just thinking and spending quite some time doing so. I can speculate, I can look at some random pieces of a puzzle and attempt to see the picture but now I am wondering if maybe, the pieces are not part of my puzzle and if they are part of someone else's. Or if I am just seeing them because they are in the vicinity and they form a really minor part of my picture. Maybe, the dream that's mine is actually larger than I imagine it to be and these pieces though a part of the puzzle do not form the entire picture. At least that's what I hope.

I wish I could be like Julie Andrews in the movie and chase my dream. The dream that I need as much as it needs me. I am unfortunately still in the climbing and crossing stage as I haven't even accepted my dream. I don't want it to only be what I see now. I want something more for I really think I deserve the better quality I seek and I definitely can work towards it. My only fear is that in the climbing and the crossing, I might end up leaving behind a few dreams that I had earlier which no longer fascinate me as much or which I out to because the new dreams demand much more.

In the search for the unknown do I actually have it in me to risk losing the known? The known I actually loved and dreamed about and wanted not too long ago? Can the risk averse me actually take this step and stick to it? That's the question that has been plaguing me. Infinity is but the lack of limitation according to a favourite philosopher of mine and I am hoping that in this limit less universe, some day I will stumble upon the missing pieces.

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Floating around

I remember a time not too long ago when I hated getting my feet wet in a beach. I found the water dirty and the smell overpowering. I never took a beach vacation either. Everything changed in Gokarna which was way too beautiful and made me fall in love with the water. Enough to get me spend an hour at noon just getting my feet wet. I fell in love with the water and the waves. The calm peaceful world there is so beautiful.

The love affair continues albeit on a smaller area as I now am trying to swim. My dad and sister got me started ( my earlier attempts were walking in the pool not swimming) and I'm floating away to glory now. I still haven't mastered the art of getting my head out of he water but I know I'll be there sometime soon.
Today I was doing a back float and the feeling of complete submission as i just floated along was too awesome to be true. I was so relaxed. I hope I'm not jinxing it as I write this and I hope my random trysts with the new love of my life continues.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Progress Together

Since i think its high time i did something else than complain, i shall take a stab at appreciating something which i really like. The Axis bank ad - on how a bonus for a person can translate into improved lifestyle for many people thanks to him spending it. I am unable to find it in youtube, so i am really sorry if it doesn't make sense to a lot of people who haven't seen it.

For someone like me who loves thinking about the bigger picture and creating macro scenarios, this ad stuck a chord. It made me think about Karma and how many of us sometimes forget how important we are to not just people in our families but to the society in general. We need not be necessarily altruistic, but by mere virtue of existing, we help someone else.Its a nice thought to have and a nice feeling to harbor.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

How I bought a house, watched it crumble and finally gave up

Everybody dreams - everybody has hopes. After all that's what makes us human. More often than not, our dreams come true and then we realise it ain't a dream but a horrible nightmare. More often than not we know that we brought this plight upon ourselves. I'm deeply hurt and upset as I write this about our biggest dream - buying a house. We trusted a foreign builders first project and it's been one minor heart break after another. So much so that I haven't had time for myself from when we came to this place. Initially it was the small stuff - windows in bathrooms that remained open, workers standing outside the kitchen and staring, a big hole in our wall when the plumber in the next unit let himself go, water from the overhead tank falling on our brand new washing machine. We called them teething pains and tried to adjust - moved to a different bathroom, got my husband to tell the women gaping at his wife to walk away, called the site manager and asked him to fix the hole, stayed back on weekends to ensure water did not spill. We compromised. We were too caught up with issues with the house to bother about the club house changing rooms or the landscaping.

We did not feel too great about it but we did it as that's what we're always told we should do. However things took a turn for the worse when the false ceiling came crumbling down due to the plumber breaking a pipe. We rushed from office and waited for half an hour outside our house as the water was all over the room. Then someone came and gave the customary sorry his face not expressing the emotion his mouth so easily said.

We had to sit and work from a dust filled house for two days as we could not go to office. We fell sick (I am still sick) and we haven't found any respite from shoddy careless worksmanship. Promises to cover everything and clean up the room did not solve for much and I am stuck with a kitchen I can't work in as its too dusty and a dirty living room full of spoilt souvenirs. Regular maids in this nest away from humanity are refusing to clean as the company has to do it. I'm unable to do too much as my temperature only worsens. We are running behind men who pretend to not understand any language and giving cleaning instructions as I write. For a person who values privacy more than anything, its the same privacy that's eluded us here. I will never get my lost weekends back. We've made a mistake and we deeply repent. Mistake of investing in this place and trusting a builder who doesn't give a damn.

So I sit in my biggest nightmare till date as I finally convince myself that this is a bad investment and we should be thankful that the faulty wiring and plumbing did not electrocute us and just move out of this god forsaken hell hole. I hate you Pruksa - you not just pored water on our dreams you also made sure we were so tired scrubbing that we will never dream again. We're not physically, emotionally and financially.