Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa

Like a pregnant woman craving for specific types of food (may be a bad comparison, but that's the first one that comes to mind), sometimes, certain songs just stick to you, regardless of how long ago they were composed. It may be memories surrounding the song, people that you remember or the sheer tune itself and today, I'm hooked to this one from Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaayaa :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Alone or Unique?

The beauty of solitude is that it lets you focus all your energy inwards and not so surprisingly, you pay attention to things you never noticed, new ideas are born and you can reminisce about moments that matter, even if they are not so important, with a smile on your face or a drop of tear running down your cheeks. Of course, my solitude is often accompanied by work and that doesn't make it very interesting; but I was able to pay closer attention to a song, which I conveniently ignored in the past - Chitthirai Nila from the movie Kadal

What fascinates me about the song is the powerful concept expressed in very simple, rather colloquial lines. A child is born, his mother passes away and his father abandons him - the dictionary meaning of an orphan, a loner who has nowhere to go to. There are so many motivational songs that talk about being strong, comparing the person to heroes from the epics and all that; but this one is different. Here are the comparisons made by the lyricist:

Chitthirai Nila - The full moon, one of its kind that comes in a specific month of year
Sky - The vast evasive space
God - Accepted by most religions as a single limitless power

Now, this is not the first time someone brought moon, sky and God in a poem, not at all. In fact, if you analyze the lyrics of Tamizh songs or even Indian songs for that matter, apart from love, heart and probably rose, I think these will be the most frequently used words. What makes the comparison interesting in this specific song is that the lyricist calls these orphans too. They are all unique in their own ways, but you can call them loners, if you really want to. They are one of their kind and the only one of their kind. Would you call them unique and compliment them; or would you call them loners and pity them? It's really up to the perspective of the viewer, just like his outlook towards his own life and himself. I can't think of a better way to render such a powerful concept in lines simpler than these and kavippaerarasu proves yet again, why he gets so much respect and recognition.

Here's to uniqueness...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Installing Drupal on Windows with PostGRESQL DB

I'm new to Drupal and I recently installed Drupal to work with Postgres database. As luck would have it, I hit a couple of configuration roadblocks along the way, which I'd call the most painful and uninteresting part of my IT career. So I thought I should summarize the steps in one place for future reference. I've a Windows 7 X64 installed in my laptop. 

The Downloads:

The system requirements for Drupal are given here. In short, download ApachePHP (download BOTH the installer and the zip version), Post GRE SQL.

The Configuration:

The step-by-step instruction to install Drupal is given here and it's fairly intuitive.

The Gotchas:

There were a couple of things to watch out for:

1. PHP looks for the config file (php.ini) in C:\Windows (or the equivalent windows folder) by default and that file isn't automagically created. So we need to add the PHP installation folder path to the PATH variable. In my case, I added C:\Program Files (x86)\PHP to the PATH variable.

2. Drupal uses PDO (PHP Data Objects) to connect to a database and you should be having a PDO (which is usually a DLL) for each DB you intend to support. However, this DLL is not provided in the PHP installer; and even if you go around hunting for that DLL file in Google, you will hit nothing but road blocks. So after you install PHP using the installer, unzip the contents of the PHP zip version that you downloaded (to a different folder of course) and copy the php_pdo_pgsql.dll file from the ext folder (under the extracted PHP folder) to the actual ext folder (created by the windows installer). Then, the php.ini file needs to be updated to include the following lines:

Once this is done and the apache server is (re)started, following the step-by-step Drupal installation instructions should do the magic.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mausam movie review

Spoiler Alert: This post reveals the story line (?); but don't worry! The director has already done a terrific job spoiling the movie.

Pick up the horrible incidents that happened in the past 2-3 decades; and create characters that connect all these dots. That's what Mausam is all about. Operation blue star, ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri pandits, terrorism in kashmir, Babri masjid, Twin towers, Godhra... You name it! Every notorious tragedy of the past, is a part of the movie. I liked the fact that the director wanted to show how humanity is buried in the name of differences; but when that is not focused on one incident and virtually everything is taken into the scope of a three hour movie, the result is an extremely long, boring movie; and that's exactly what Mausam is. (Aanaalum padam rommmba mosamnga! :D)

The best part of the movie is the heroine and right from scene 1, she faces trouble wherever she goes. Born in Kashmir, victimized by ethnic cleansing, losing her uncle in Mumbai blasts, missing her lover due to Kargil war, discriminated by the US government after the twin tower attack, escaping death in punjab riots... She is more or less the angel of death in the movie. If I were her, I would better stay home and let the world live in peace.

The other funny aspect was the chemistry between the hero and the heroine. Shahid is obviously shorter than Sonam and he looks like her little brother than anything else. And their ridiculously long love story spanning three decades of riots and violence is just intolerable. On top of this, the director apparently forgot that there is an editing department and there are so many scenes after which you scratch your head, thinking "Why have that scene now?". The climax scene was the best of the lot. Every time a bunch of goons (causing riots as usual) walk around or even remotely get mentioned in a statement, the heroine asks "Who are they?" and Shahid says "They are nameless shadows of death" and this statement is repeated like 3 or 4 times to stress the importance of it. Likewise, with his left arm paralyzed by a flight accident, the hero climbs through the arms of a giant wheel to rescue a child and this part alone takes about 15 mins of the movie. As usual, he rescues the child and his arm becomes functional again. Looks like the director forgot the fact that people have been watching so many movies in the past to automagically understand the result of such sequences.

In short, I wasted about 3 hrs of my time, watching a movie that had no traces of continuity or screenplay in it. Yawwwwn!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Married Wisdom - 1

This is the first post in the long awaited (from my end that is :D) series on marriage; and what you get to learn out of it. This is just a process of making notes along the way to serve as documentation (to me and to that rare person who thinks I'm sensible) and that being said, let's move on to the "What's not said is not understood!" chapter.

Usually, I'm a big fan of abstract expressions and implicit communication. Even in the movies, I love shots that implicitly convey something as opposed to the ones that dramatize the whole thing. Unfortunately, that's the last thing a married man should do. Until you are married, you are like a pet. Free to wander and permitted to do what you want to do, no questions asked, unless it's something incredibly stupid or irritating. The hope there is that you will return home no matter where you wander and you will be in the vicinity no matter how long you keep wandering. The moment you are married, you are expected to be responsive and responsible. Your best friend, your immediate surrounding and even your parents start believing that your life would change drastically after marriage, whether that happens to be true or not. So staying out of touch, forgetting to call, avoiding touchy-feely dialogs are strict no-nos. Unless you say "I love you" nobody is going to believe that. Unless you call, nobody is going to believe you are interested in their welfare. Unless you express, nobody is going to understand you!

So rule 1 in short, if you want to say something, say it instantly and explicitly without the the least bit of ambiguity or abstraction in it.

(To be continued... ;))

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A moment to cherish!

I often wonder how nice it would be to have a tool that blogs contents from our mind automatically (of course upon approval and moderation :D), as that's the need of the hour for me. If I even blogged 10% as much as I wanted to, this blog would be overflowing with posts. Of all those events I wanted to blog about, there was one, strong enough to drag me all the way into blogger - India's victory in Word cup.

People who know me well would probably be surprised, as I'm known for being the devil's advocate ever since the Azhar, Jadeja days. Even a couple of days back, I was arguing about how this whole thing is becoming one big masala movie and I was totally sure that India will win, listing out the reasons why a hero should triumph over all disasters in the end. I was stunned when Ravi Shasthri projected a 275 total when Srilanka were making less than 3 runs an over and that turned out to be the exact target for India to chase. IPL scheduled within the next few days, India beating all the old rivals on its way to the final and so many other things made/make me think that there is some form of predefined results involved.

But all that said, I was immensely proud when Indian team lifted the cup and earned the top spot in ODI and here's why.

1. The most awaited moment - I don't know the exact stats; but I'm sure that at least 60% Indian families are interested in cricket in varying degrees. If there has been one thing that all these viewers have been waiting for, it's India's triumph in the World Cup tournaments. Nothing could match a great milestone achieved after a long period of expectation, anxiety and longing. This definitely is one.

2. The respect it earns for the nation - Facebook is flooded with updates, Twitter has no energy to tweet anymore and Gmail Buzz hits the 100+ mark in less than 10 minutes; and everything just boils down the one word - respect. Even people who don't know much about cricket turned their heads to see what is so spectacular about this and why so many people are euphoric. Knowingly or unknowingly, this creates a positive vibe about the country and I felt like I was watching "Invictus" live.

3. The first step to being a superpower - In all these years, I've never known a field where India dominated so much, owning the stakes and having command over things. Cricket without India is almost a fantasy right now and needless to say BCCI now owns the space. From how we were treated a couple of decades ago, this is what I call an achievement.

4. Inspiration - When something good happens, there is always a free supplement to it - inspiration (advice is another). Dhoni is now being studied as a great leader who stood up for the nation, taking charge of things and standing by his decisions. That is something that Indians are going to remember for a long time.

5. The future of sports - If India (hopefully) wins a couple of other tournaments as well, it could very well be the start of the golden era of Indian sports. I sincerely hope this would put an end to the days when over a billion people eagerly wait for a bronze medal to celebrate an "achievement".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blogging after a break!

I still remember the days when I used to wonder what good a blog could do. I mean, what's the whole point in writing some random stuff online without knowing who is going to read it or without having any kind of guarantee whatsoever that it's going to matter at all. But over the years I realized that blogging, unlike FB, Twitter or any of the "cool" trends, serves like a real vent. Even better, I have an indexed, searchable diary that tells me what I've been thinking on a specific date, with no respect to the years that might've passed in between. To a person like me, often getting lost into thoughts, this for sure is a boon and that's how I get back to blogging irrespective of the breaks that I take in between. This is kind of like a marriage - the initial days you are so expressive, never stay apart and the instinct to be with each other is overwhelming. Over the years, all the superficial things vanish; but the bonding is so strong that you kind of grow into each other.

Speaking of marriage, which is the biggest event that happened in my life quite recently, I've always contemplated and blogged over the topic in general; but nothing would be as realistic as experiencing it, right? I recently realized that I didn't ponder much over one important aspect of this social system - what it does to people. I mean, I've thought about what expectations the couple and/or the parents might be having before marriage, how important it is to ensure that all parties are happy when the couple get engaged, how important it is for the couple to stick to each other, to be flexible/understanding, etc. But the post-marital changes in people related to the couple, is a topic that I never thought of and quite honestly, that comes to me as the most surprising part. I guess I'll try to record these steps and changes and thoughts through my good old, trustworthy, faithful companion - my blog! So in case this sounded the least bit interesting, stay tuned! :)