Friday, February 29, 2008

What is in a name...

People who had a chance to take a close look at the TN assembly elections last time (2006), two new parties got a lot of attention - DMDK (started by actor Vijayakanth) and Lok Parithraan (formed by a group of IIT passouts). DMDK had a state-wide popularity and Vijayakanth is not a new face to the public. So I'm shifting focus towards Lok Parithran - a party that contested only in selective areas in Chennai!

If we carefully analyze the base on which the whole party rested, we could eventually drill it down to three letters - IIT. So many voters in Chennai decided to vote for the party just because it is formed by IITians!! I have no second opinion in the fact that IIT is one of the best educational institutions in the country. But does that suffice to form a political party and contest in elections? My honest reply would be a strong NO. A party that relies on emails, website and sms alone for its campaigning; a party that never really understood the problems of the constituency, a party that placed a guy from North India who studied in IIT and stayed in the US until he came back to contest in this election at a constituency like Mylapore and Triplicane (just examples) in my opinion is unfit to be called a party and voting for it is out of question. If the person wins there, will there be any advantage offered by him to the commoner, the poor and the down-trodden? Will he/she at least be able to converse with him in fluent Tamizh? Absolute question mark!

Education exposes a person to different things and the way the person grasps it and really applies it to suit the needs of a commoner is completely subjective. Voting for a person because of good looks, caste, education (alone), craze is all the same in my view and it results in very poor selections at least a vast majority of the times.

In my opinion, a man like Vijayakanth who knows the problems of the society & has the guts to fight is better suited to be a MLA despite the fact that could hardly pronounce the word English or Tamizh correctly; as compared to someone who speaks English with the perfect diction without knowing the constituency and the people there!

Congress, India, Election and Budget

In 1947, India was brought under a worser rule in the name of transferring the beautiful land into an independent country from a British colony. Ever since Jawaharlal Nehru sworn in as the Prime Minister of India and for a 50+ year span from then, Indian National Congress, now termed Congress (I) has been ruining the country inventing and introducing problems from nowhere. At the end of 50 years, American dollar's value went up to 45 rupees per $ from a point where INR had a better value than US $. A whole lot of the nation's unsolved problems could be attributed to Congress, its corrupt ministries, incapable leaders, senior citizens who hardly know anything but stage speaking in favor of an Italian lady and the legal heir system they introduced in raising to power.

Today, the finance minister of India brings in a budget that reduces the nett revenue of the Government just to make sure that the party performs better in the elections... If this attitude is continued, I would never think India can report a profit/surplus budget. The worst form of this betrayal comes in the form of waivers. I really couldn't comprehend the concept of waivers till date. Let us take the farmers loan waiver as an example. I completely understand that Agriculture is dependent on a lot of natural factors and there is a good possibility that a poor farmer suffers in poverty after all the hard work. But when the Government offers a loan to improve their status, shouldn't they take any measures to help the farmer improve the yield? That'd never happen... The loans would pile up. The farmers would end up in a loss and finally they'll waive all the loans just to please them and get their votes. A country that pioneered in arts, science, maths, medicine and so many other fields is now believing that all the valuable contributions to these fields came in from the west and we crave to live our lives like the Westerners. But in the name of corruption, mismanagement, vote bank politics, poor planning and incapable politicians all we are achieving is a bigger and bigger hole in an average Indian's dream to live in a country that he could proudly and comfortably be a part of!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Truly Untrue - Dreams

Dreams have been one of the most fascinating things to me and perhaps at least one in two would have sailed in the same boat! Whether it is the thought of holding a beautiful girl's hand and walking along a turquoise beach with white sand under the evening sun and a gentle fragrant breeze; or an adrenalin pumper like being chased by a 1000 venomous snakes and running into your worst enemy's den; dreams are just so detailed in the ambiance, the flavor, the sounds, the persons involved and even the emotional state that we are in. Some dreams are quite messy with too many cluttered thoughts that you hardly remember anything in the morning while some others are just so clear and realistic that we almost refuse to accept it didn't happen in reality!

People say dreams have scientific meanings. Some say dreams are just reflections of thoughts that we have been occupying our mind the whole day. No matter what they actually signify, to me dreams are the layers that make up a platform for someone to be himself and be what he really wants to be, without any fears of losing the reputation in the society, without real probabilities, possibilities and math that almost always end up in a negative result/conclusion. Everyone wants to be someone and after all life doesn't work that way. So a commoner needs a medium to become a super-hero a person of his choice with the people of his taste. Dreams make this a virtual reality and if not for dreams, half the human race would've died of depression and the rest would've been filled with disgust and envy! Even movies in my view are colored versions of the story writer's dream. Whether dreams turn into reality or not, whether dreams are good or bad, they let someone be real! No wonder I fascinate reality! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's farewell time -- Writer Sujatha expired!

Writer Sujatha - An Aeronautical engineer who graduated at a time when Engineering was considered an honor in India gained extensive knowledge in computers, Tamizh literature, mechanics, biology, history and a wide range of fields that made him intellectually unique. His writings were filled with versatility, packed with style and loaded with a casual touch that gave him millions of fans and some of them even named their children after the characters in his works. He also wrote dialogs for a lot of Tamizh movies in various genre adapting to the story line so beautifully that one wouldn't believe it is the same dialog writer who penned both of them.

The death of the genius is a real loss to the Tamizh society and I could hardly imagine anyone else taking up his position in the near future. Some people are forgotten even when they live. Some are remembered even after their death. Sujatha is surely a man in the second category and I'm sure his works would stay evergreen proclaiming his contribution to the modern Tamizh literature.

May his soul rest in peace!

An Abstraction called Love...

Courtesy sixth sense - humans always provide a lot of importance to abstract things than reality. As Hitler quotes in Mein Kampf, do not ask a person to fight for his bread because none will risk death to save their life. But the same person would fight for his beliefs for a man is nothing without his beliefs.

Mind, God and Love are the top 3 abstractions of man in my opinion. Whether you call it the chiasma of Frontal, Temporal and Parietal lobes or mind in simple terms, there is something inside us which characterizes us and we call it mind. In the same way the only answer to the universe's unanswered questions is God (for theists) and Energy (for physicists and Atheists). The third and rather interesting abstraction called Love deserves a special attention.

Unlike mind and God, this abstraction is a bit too polymorphic (note the usage of OOP concepts and believe that I'm a Java programmer). To make a long story short, a person can fall in love with anyone/anything ranging from a chameleon with its skin resembling a freshly erupted volcano in color and texture to a stunningly beautiful girl. So let's ignore the other meanings of love and focus on the most common usage of the word 'love' - the divine (as characterized by many) feeling between a man and a woman/a boy and a girl (usually) not from the same family who (less commonly) intend to share their lives with each other forever.

The concept of love is two dimensional - physical and mental. The possibility of someone falling in love with someone physically unattractive (as per the individual's view since beauty is completely subjective) asymptotically tends to zero. If it is something physical that keeps the individuals together then the whole divinity of love is lost and the definition of that becomes lust or infatuation as the case may be. Let's focus on the less probable more divine mental portion of love. Person A falls in love with person B purely because Person B's characters are just too good and fitting without even 0.01% consideration on the physical appearance of Person B. Isn't this divine? I'd like to quote Chanakya here - "There is some self-interest behind every relationship.
There is no relationship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth." As pessimistic and anti-social as it sounds, that is the bitter reality. Every human being is in want of something and the one who feels he's got everything becomes a Yogi. When this need is fulfilled by someone else, the company of that person makes him/her happy and that is comfortably termed love. The need may vary from a trustworthy person to provide audience to someone to fall back on for anything and everything.

So am I saying love is bad? Not at all. In fact if the belief of love never existed, world would be filled with hatred and perhaps we wouldn't have had many of the wonderful dramas, paintings, literature and sculpture that we have today. In fact, a normal human is designed this way and at one point or the other he/she considers himself/herself a better person in the company of someone from the opposite sex. But the fact remains that none is dependent on the other for existence and in the end every single person is an individual who keeps building his/her own world and the members in that world. As long as the company of someone makes me a better individual and that relationship doesn't uproot my other relationships, beliefs, esteem and tradition; I'm bound to fall in love for I'm not a saint but a normal human designed to live like a billion others. To me this means a life partner given by a inherently beautiful system called arranged marriage. I know not all would agree with this view but all said and done, that is my individual perception.

When Prakashraj was asked how could you fall in love with so many women he replied - "People often believe that I loved an individual. But I've loved and I'm in love with the concept of love". Could it be any shorter or any sweeter?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Ignorance to Elegance

When I try to visualize the days when mankind came into existence (from a group of apes or in a jiffy by the snap of the formless God's finger along with light, trees and birds), I couldn't visualize anything more than a group of apes that underwent metamorphosis to have a better appearance and increased curiosity. It is when the sixth sense was put into place, a whole new dimension of thought process originated. One of the first things to strike a fresh inquisitive mind with awe, surprise, question and respect would've been the origin of earth and the presence of such a wonderful ecosystem; and that is precisely when the concept of Religion would've come into existence in this world.

An excellent and in my opinion 'the best' by-product of this thought process is Hinduism - a religion that transformed into a way of life and removed the ignorance in man and brought him the elegance of a spiritually balanced scholar. The collection of different perspectives, the blend of science and religion and the civilization it has undergone are the best and unique features of the world's oldest living religion.

A Hindu (Madhvacharya) said "Things in this world always come in pairs like sun and the moon, like man & woman and so are God and men" while another Hindu who came in after the former (one of the most revered saints Adhi Shankara) said "A day and night make one full cycle of rotation, man and woman make the human kind and in the same way God and Man are not two different entities but God's scattered across every organism in the form of life".

The ten incarnations (Dasaavathaaram) of Lord Vishnu beautifully portray the concept of evolution while concepts of Siva, Vishnu and Sakthi have a wealth of information on matter, Vacuum energy and dark energy. The construction of a hindu temple in itself is a resemblance to the human physiology and the social engineering behind the concept of construction of temples is simply outstanding.

The civilization part of this religion is the most outstanding feature and the level of maturity in Hinduism went to such an extent that Hindus are always thought to respect that there are alternate views in every topic and that the real devotion in one's heart matters more than the actual way it is shown. Animal sacrifices were replaced by alternate non-violent ceremonies and Yoga, breathing exercises, control of mind, socializing with people, Mathematics, memory power improvement were all gradually included into a Hindu's normal lifestyle. The average age of a man/woman in the good old days was 120 and those 120 years of complete health were what was considered to be a long life those days.

Sadly, the degree of flexibility, freedom and maturity in Hinduism is being misused by Hindus as an excuse to stay away from the wonderful values and without even realizing where they belong to, some of them even convert themselves as followers of other religions and to top it all, they start accusing Hinduism. This ignorance brought in by the inability to remain elegant provides opportunity for pseudo-secularist politicians to abuse and slander Hindu beliefs. May the omnipotent and omnipresent Lord bestow people with maturity and the ability to remain elegant. Shambo Mahadevaa!

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's not easy being green...

Men may come and men may go... But only a few leave in us an impact so deep that you start following them unconsciously. In this post, I'm planning to talk about a few celebrities who left a deep impact in me not just by the virtue of excelling in their field but by being good individuals and people of character.

Swami Vivekananda
A man with a constant thirst for knowledge who re-discovered and reiterated the fact that Hinduism is not just a religion, but a way of life. I couldn't imagine the will power it takes to hand over a turban and speak with compassion to a stunningly beautiful girl deprived of any dress trying to seduce a man! An excellent orator, a great thinker, a man of values and a role model for so many youngsters who are impregnate with the thirst to achieve something in life.

Narendra Modi
A man who proved that it takes just the spirit, strong will, interest, inspiration, motivation and perseverance to really make an almost worn-out engine like an Indian state Government to come back to its full swing with a complete throughput. His guts, planning, versatility and dynamism has become a moral boost to the patriots and a nightmare to corrupt politicians scattered throughout the country. I've already spoken about him and Cho in one of my previous posts -

Adolf Hitler
It's quite a surprise to so many that I admire Hitler a lot. Thanks to the allied press - a tyrant, despot, ethnocentric, mass murderer is a common man's view of the Fuhrer. Personally, I believe in weighing everyone on a neutral scale. Hitler's mass murders could never be justified and it's true that so many innocent lives were sacrificed to please his animal instinct. But beyond that Hitler had just so many qualities that are almost absent in any other leader I've seen till date. This tee-totaler, monogamist, vegetarian, patriot who revolutionized the life of a German commoner who suffered horribly after the unreasonable miseries imposed on Germans by the first world war, is blessed with excellent oratory abilities, photographic memory, unbeatable strategy and so many other qualities that are mandatory for any great leader. I've always been amazed by the insight he had on so many topics that were of social, political and economical importance to Germany given that he was a high school drop out who started his life as a painter who marched his way to chancellorship of Deutschland. If alone, he had been blessed with some more humanity, he would've been the best leader of all times and who knows if Germany had won WW II, the heroes and villains would've interchanged positions.

Mother Teresa

Ha ha ha :) Accuse me of being crazy but still both extremes never failed to impress me. Mother is someone who proved humanity alone can elate a human being to Godliness. I couldn't imagine the empathy and the motherliness in someone which can go straight to a leper near a ditch and clean the wounds and worms on the exterior without a sign of embarrassment or revulsion! I'd be surprised if someone's heart doesn't carry this mother who carried every human in her heart.


A surprise entry in this list and I'm not sure if I can compare him to the great people mentioned above. But nonetheless, he surely has impressed me. Beyond doubt he is a good actor but that's not why he is mentioned here. The way he takes life and lives it is a poetry in itself and when you read his narrations about his life, he justs carries you away with him and the clarity of thought & speech and the whole attitude he has towards life. His interviews, his choice of directors, his movies and every single move of his speaks for him. Even though I don't completely agree with all his ideologies (like atheism for example), I should accept that he really made me admire him. Even the way he explains atheism sounded just so good that for the first time I didn't feel the argument as nonsense.

There are still a few more in the list but this post has already grown a bit too long... May be some other time! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Imagine sitting in the office on a Sunday turning up to do some crap and to add some flavor you need to wait even after you complete the junk just because others are yet to complete theirs which make my junk a meaningful(?!) junk! That's precisely what I'm doing right now and before you say "Man... that sucks!" I'll tell you what I feel. "Enjoying solitude"... As weird as it sounds, it is a truth.

Lights are out in the entire building and glowing bright on the streets and the parking lot with none to use it (thanks to the US energy saving scheme :)) and the entire deserted building in its semi-lit beauty looks like a contemplating mind fighting between light and darkness!

Sitting in the break room (that's how a mini-cafeteria is called here) surrounded by darkness, magazines, deserted chairs and vending machines, my mind starts wandering in the dark, damp night letting me feel the midnight dew in the air-conditioned room. Through the streak of light that creeps through, I enter into the world of my own thinking about the souls that are on the other side of the globe thinking about me (perhaps) and my insignificantly significant life. The beautiful snaps this night could give me if I had a SLR with me, thoughts about my life and the way I lead it, my past memories and a flurry of other things keep flowing in my mind as though I'm actually witnessing them on a 70mm screen with Dolby surround (the speakers might be Bose too! :)). It was a matter of 30 minutes but 30 wonderful minutes of soliloquy that was worth the inconvenience.

After all, everything has a positive side and when we enjoy every moment in our life happiness wouldn't be a missing factor in it - ever!


Disambiguation: This post is on the concept of zodiac and not the shirt brand Zodiac :)

Ever since 'men' (more than a man and man in a non-gender specific way) came into existence , it has been an instinct to compare oneself with others to ensure similarities, spot the differences and establish supremacies! It's quite hilarious to think of the physical features that would've been identified as 'comparison factors' in the earliest days of mankind but I refrain from discussing it further since it is out of the scope of this topic.

Zodiac could be called as the most significant and most popular of the nomenclatures invented by the mankind where people are grouped based on Sun, Moon, Star and a gazillion other Celestial objects (the basis of classification varies depending on the culture) with each group assigned a 'symbol' or a 'sign'. So how true is this whole stuff? Do people born in the same month (taking sun signs as an example) invariably have the same qualities?

From my experience, I'd say 'Yes, they do!'. Quite surprising but yes! Of course we can't expect two individuals to be carbon copies of each other let alone the millions born in a month. But there are certain basic features or traits that folks in the same zodiac sign share - invariably. May be the charm, may be the build, may be the soft heart, may be the empathy... Something... Something could always be spotted in common between two individuals of the same zodiac without exceptions, at least as far as I've noticed. Suffice it is to say that the instinct to find out similarities and differences has surely resulted in an interesting system and most often there is some scientific background to these systems too! As long as one doesn't get obsessed with these systems, they really prove to be interesting, incredible and informative!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stars on earth!

Oh yeah! The millionth review of the movie - Tare Zameen Par but nonetheless this review is as unique as any other individual's review in that it features whatever I saw and felt in the movie rather than what people said about it!

While watching the only Hindi movie that left so much impact in me after 'Black', I was spellbound by a couple of things - the simplistic yet touching storyline and the performance of Darsheel Safary as a dyslexic child. When being naughty, when begging his dad not to leave, when feeling bad about being left alone ('Bhej na... ithna dhoor muj ko tho... Yaadh bhi thuj ko aanaa pao ma!'), when being embarrassed if Aamir will quote his name in the class when talking about Dyslexia and the best of the lot - the climax when he is awarded the first prize in Art Mela; this boy has acted so brilliantly and so naturally that it wouldn't be an exaggeration to mention that he lived in the movie as Ishaan Nanda Kishor Avasti!

With Aamir performing as excellently as usual, all the support characters in the movie (especially Darsheel's parents) have done wonderfully well bringing the liveliness in the movie. The most significant plus point for the movie is music by Shankar Esaan Lai... Music and re-recording is simply outstanding.

But one point where I'd like to differ from the rest of the reviews is my view on the direction department. Aamir has undoubtedly done an excellent role as a director but stating that there are no traces of a debut director is an overstatement in my view. The camera positioning in certain scenes (Aamir waiting for Ishaan in the art mela for example), the exaggerated version of a jovial and interesting teacher (Bum Bum song) and a few other places somehow didn't really give an impression of an expert director or may be it's just me!

In a nutshell, the movie leaves a deep impact in us with its powerful screenplay, excellent cast and a beautiful story line and it's one excellent, not-to-be-missed movie!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Anderson... Sam Anderson! :)

Actors esp those starred in Tamizh movies come in 3 flavors. First flavor - actors who dedicate themselves and provide the best possible output to their fans, Second flavor - those who don't care about what the audience expect and perform monotonous roles which mean nothing, Third flavor - actors (?!) who entertain the viewers to the best by comedy of errors. The real intention of the actor would be to convey something serious like a deep misery due to the death of their family members (usually mothers or sisters killed by Pakistan terrorists) or extreme patriotism or some dialog that is supposed to prove their valor; and the audience would burst out laughing seeing them.

The third category is quite interesting and so far the field that had equal competitors like Captain Vijayakanth (Balayya was competing with him in Tollywood), Vijaya T Rajendar, Jitthan Ramesh and other great comedians is now under the threat of a monopoly. Yes... it's because of the entry of the universal h(z)ero, Michael Sackson of South India, King of x-pressions, winner of hearts, next category 3 superstar - Sam Anderson... His latest or rather the only movie 'Yaarukku Yaarao' (Who is for whom to translate literally) won millions of hearts across TamilNadu and the viewers are delighted to have seen the best comedy movie of the recent times. I'd say 25% credit goes to the director who created the 'scientist' role for him in the movie and provided him with a chance to exhibit the hidden talents in him including dancu, x-pressions and more than anything else his romance and handsome features that make a heroine and a hero(ine) to fall in mad love with him! Right from frame one, Sam Anderson did an excellent performance which could be described as nothing but a perfect entertainment. Most importantly, one needs to understand and appreciate the guts it takes for a guy who looks like a Beeda stall owner to show up in a movie and entertain people. The performance goes to the peak in the climax where our h(z)ero applies his brain and comes up with an idea that makes the heroine fall in love with him all over again, ending in the most revolutionary marriage the world has ever seen where the couple use a cross as their maangalyam, the heroine takes the husband's position and our super hero taking the wife's position, coming around the red Benzu car that took the place of the holy fire! Even though his noble intentions were not well understood by a lot of people today I'm sure Sam Anderson would become the next category 3 Superstar overtaking Vijayakanth and VTR by a huge margin. For those who weren't fortunate enough to see the amazing performance of our super hero, I've embedded a couple of sample videos as my meager effort to spread the light cast by him!

DMK, MK and K...

Disclaimer: The abbreviations used in this title are supposed to be expanded as Dravida Munnaetra (!) Kazhagam, M. Karunaanidhi and well... um... hmmmm.... Knowledge! :) The author doesn't assume responsibility for any other expansions provided or guessed! ;)

One party that uses (psuedo) secularism to its fullest advantage is the DMK and as it own party members say, DMK is synonymous to Dr. M. Karunanidhi. With all due respect, this interesting character surely deserves special attention!

Let's start from the positives... Beyond question, he has a great command over Tamizh and he uses that to the fullest in all his interviews, writings and speeches even at this age. Undoubtedly one needs to appreciate that. I'm not sure if I'd be able to understand what is being asked at that age. Second, the strategy. When it comes to political planning and strategies, he is one of the best in India or perhaps the world. If a party called DMK has survived this far, the credit completely goes to Karunanidhi and his political brain. That's the best I could think of from the positives front and let me know if I'm missing something.

But using all his political brains and Tamizh knowledge what has he achieved? The only state deprived of Hindi knowledge? The only state where all direct and indirect relatives of the CM and his tens of wives are in key positions minting money? The only state where an open statement against Hindu beliefs are made by the Government and the CM? The only state that promises to abolish cast while devising schemes to increase cast-based reservations based on 1951's Census in all areas including private sector? The only state where people have been tuned to vote merely based on rhyming lines in Tamizh ("sarpam dhaan karpam tharikkumaa... erudhu dhaan virudhu vaangumaa" - as Vivek says)? So many questions flow so easily but none of them could be answered with a happy heart! Just because Jayalalitha was immature enough to publicly demonstrate the wealth she amassed by corruption and because our great leader is smart enough to own half of TN under different names, a person who introduced the concept of bribe and corruption is considered to be a corruption-free leader! Hail Indian politics...

Let us keep our fingers crossed to have more and more dedicated, principle-driven and simplistic leaders like Modi rule TN and India! Vaazhga Tamizh. Jai Hind.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Deals and Desis

Folks who are out in the US working for CTS, TCS, STC, TSC and companies with other permutation combination of these letters would know that deals and desis (Indians who live abroad esp US) are more or less synonymous!

As Russel Peter says in one of his stand-up comedies, Indian people cannot live without a bargain!

From a spare charger to a laptop, desis derive immense pleasure in striking a dead cheap bargain and they are ecstatic when they share the deal info with a co-desi (not a bad word :D) and smell the fumes from the other person's stomach (a metaphor to explain jealousy!)... It's a really interesting site to watch one person talking non-stop for 30 mins explaining all the features of the product from the number of screws to the way it was delivered while the other person is listening just because he has no other option! Things get even worse when these people get back to India and start and end sentences purposefully with a 'in US' like "In US, we don't pay for any recreation... all tax payers get these facilities for free which is the best part in US". Man... I should say I enjoy these scenes a lot! Btw, did I tell you that I got a HP Laptop 2.2 Ghz, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, Finger print reader, HD DVD Disc, 256 MB NVIDIA et al. for 1080$ only including shipping and tax? ;) :p

The Mystrey called Life

People often say that death is mysterious. But I'd say it's life that is more mysterious than death! After all everything is getting created and destroyed at some point (of course there are exceptions and man conveniently classifies these as energy! :)) But the so called sixth sense in man adds a lot of complexity to his (in a non-gender-specific way) life! Being fully aware that it's just a short journey between life and death, man diverts all his attention towards something else and that something is most often one or more relationship(s)! Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Wife, Cousin, Nephew, Niece, in-laws... you name it! The other common diversions include power, ambition, money, wealth, etc. When we look at all these from a philosophical perspective, man diverts his attention into so many seemingly appealing things to forget what is actually awaiting at the end. In a desperate fight to create importance to himself like an insect fighting to enter an everlasting land of glory through a florescent lamp, man keeps himself busy and shuts his eyes tight. In the end neither man nor that insect survives or wins! The most beautiful part about the whole system is the way people live their lives and worry about a gazillion things as though they are controlling the fate of the earth. To put the whole thing in one sentence, Human mind is complex, life is mysterious and the Creator is simply marvelous to have introduced such a wonderful system and the fantasies that keep it alive!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Democracy, Cho and Narendra Modi

Ironically, "For the people, by the people and of the people" somehow works better in paper and media than in reality! One genius who realized this way back in the 1960s and 1970s is Cho Ramasamy usually called Cho. His film Mohammed Bin Thuglak literally slandered the basic attitude of politicians and how the concept of collective responsibility could end up in a deep disaster was practically shown in the movie. Dialogs like "A person who thinks about the next election is a politician... A person who thinks about the next generation is a leader... I don't think about both and so I'm a democrat" were testimonies to his foresight and revolutionary thoughts.

When he supported Narendra Modi in an interview and wanted him to be the next Prime Minister, I was quite surprised despite the soft corner I had for Narendra Modi. Slowly, I came to know the bigger picture and as usual Cho wasn't wrong in his choice. Winning an election purely on the developmental front despite the lack of support from media and the pseudo secularists is nothing less than an day dream and Modi turned the dream into a reality. Industrial growth, agro revolution, complete usage of technology in improving the state, delivering fast and accurate justice to people, corruption free governance, focusing on the youngsters, their education and development and so many other credits backed him like guardian angels and gave him a landslide victory in Gujarat. Perhaps he made people visualize that even democracy needs an excellent and responsible leader to make it work and India no doubt needs more Modis for a collective progress and an entry into the G8.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On the lighter side - Mozhi

Movies have never been a matter of sit and stare to me! Courtesy Madurai or the Creator, I watch quite a lot of movies and unless the movie is an utter crap, I watch every aspect of it judging each and every scene and thinking if it could've been any better!

One movie that kept me spellbound is 'Mozhi' directed by Radha Mohan! I know it's a long time since the movie hit the screens but nevertheless it's one movie worth reviewing even now! In the Tamil film industry it is pretty tough to come up with a heroine-centered subject and it's even tougher to make that movie a commercial hit. But Mozhi made it a reality.

I wouldn't say it is an exaggeration to call the movie - poetic. The beauty of the movie starts right at the storyline - a musician falling in love with a deaf and dumb girl! The theme music, lyrics, the dialogs, the art direction, the captions and every single aspect of the movie was dedicated to one aspect - being deaf and dumb is never a handicap. No part of the movie ever sympathizes on Jothika and instead every single frame adds more respect to the character. The respect created by Jothika's character, beautiful transformation in Jothika and the way love penetrates through the tough shell she built around herself couldn't have been portrayed any better! The scene where Jothika couldn't control her tears saying she's afraid if her child would be deaf and dumb too exposes the soft girl inside her and speaks for itself. Two aspects of this movie are outstanding - the direction/screenplay and Jothika's acting. No scene is too heavy or too light till the climax and every frame is carved to perfection. Characterization of Bhaski, the natural comedy track by Prakash raj and the dialogs chosen for each frame are simply marvelous. Jothika has never been seen as someone with so much acting potential before this movie and sadly by the time it was realized, she quit acting! The only negative point was the re-recording score when Jothika bursts out crying after Prithviraj leaves her room! The music turned out just too loud and kind of spoiled the scene's beauty.

In short, if you didn't watch this movie you have really missed a wonderful experience!

Monday, February 18, 2008

India and the G8

India becoming a superpower has been a topic in History/Civics books ever since I did my schooling. Even now, the topic stays with the time frame extended to current year + 10 by the latest reprint!

Will India ever become a superpower? What does it really take to become a superpower? Is India progressing towards it at the least? Does the improvement in the rupee value indicate that we are on the right track? A thousand questions could easily be asked on this topic.

As with any concept there are two sides to this coin and two sections of people - one for each side. People who say 'Yes, we are progressing' quote that India has the largest young population in the world and even nameless countries in the world outsource their HR and IT requirements to India. This according to them has revolutionized the economy, bringing up the stock market and shifting the focus of the world nations towards the sub-continent.

On the other hand, another set of people say that in India the rich get richer and poor get poorer which is not even close to progress. They say there are thousands of villages that lack even the basic infrastructure. When any remote village in US can offer a 7Mbps broad band internet connection, there are remote villages in India where you don't even have electricity. This according to them is not even termed 'developing' let alone 'developed'.

Let's weigh these statements on a balanced scale and perhaps try to spot where things go wrong if at all they do! Undoubtedly Indian economy has improved in the recent past - thanks to IT, ITIS, BPO and Call Centers. The value for Indian rupee has been improving constantly jeopardizing the Indians living in US, making them think if they should get back to India and settle down on a high profile job there! Quite obviously this means progress and we are performing better in the high-tech industry these days.

Viewed from the other perspective, according to surveys (God knows the year these surveys were taken! After all reservation policies for 2007 have been based on the 1950s Census) a major portion of India's population is rural or semi-rural. Have they really got any benefits? People might claim that a farmer's son from a remote village like Rasakkapalayam (all names are imaginary... any reference to existing places is purely coincidental :D) is now dancing in the costliest dance bar in NYC because of these improvements! But who will take care of the farm after the old farmer's time is done? Is it really wise to convert that fertile land to an apartment that dumps 1000s of middle class Indians?

Improvements in Technology is mandatory and it is the stepping stone for an improved India. But improving on the technical front alone is not the real improvement. So many basic problems are still out there waiting to be addressed and the lucrative salaries offered by high-tech jobs are driving youngsters into a single channel like a flock of sheep, draining out the creamy layer that would've contributed to the improvement of other areas. If Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates in diversified branches lead to the same destination, then what is the purpose of having so many branches? The quote by Oscar Wild - "Who wants a cynic who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" (Ok... Courtesy TZP) couldn't fit any better than in this case. When the ultimate destination is joining some XYZ Software Solutions and earning more money than the rest, what value could a specialization on psychology, sociology, Bio-medical engineering, mechanical engineering provide? Absolutely nothing!

So what is the real solution then? Where lies the problem? Is it IT companies? Is it the population? Is is the greed in everyone to make more money? No! There is just one word that retards the growth of India - Politics. Sure enough it deserves a new post and I refrain from getting into the specifics here. But rest assured, India is still 'developing' and there is a long way to go before we call ourselves a real 'Super Power'!

IT and the socIT

One of the hottest topic in India these days (perhaps next to super star's next movie) is Information Technology (IT) and the impact it has created in the Indian society.

Retired bank employees, school teachers, insurance agents and clerks who worked half their life to get a Bajaj Chetak scooter and the rest half of their life to maintain it; self-drive their Hyundais and Fords today to walk in the shores of marina or Besant Nagar at dawn or dusk discussing about Calories, the distance between Seattle and Chicago and exchange rates.

On the other hand, there are middle class, lower middle class and poor people who claim that IT has taken away the happiness from their lives and increased their cost of living by 'n' folds. Movies like Tamizh M.A a.k.a Kattradhu Tamizh (thanks to the government's taxation policy!) protest against the whole trend claiming that the growth reported by IT is more like a tumor than a development. Some others even claim that folks in IT get overpaid for nothing.

So what's really happening? Is IT a boon or a bane?

If I'm asked to be point blank, IT is definitely a boon to the Indian economy. So am I rejecting the fact that folks who mastered sociology, physiology, history, geography and English should suffer? Absolutely not! First of all, with all due respect, I hate the concept that the movie Tamizh M.A backs! If someone earns more than what I do, they should suffer and I'd protest against them and their growth calling it as Capitalist mentality. This concept (hint: code red :)) which has somehow identified itself to be a principle is actually destroying the society.

Salaries and earnings have always been driven by two basic principles - 1. how much does the employer make 2. does the work really need you or any Tom, Dick or Harry can replace you... IT companies make billions and billions of US dollars every year and IT does require specialized skill set to get the job done. So naturally they will be paid higher than an English, physiology or a sociology graduate. Second point - is IT the only sector where wages have raised? A maid who cleans dishes and brooms the floor would've got 200 or 300 rupees before 10 years. Today, the to get the same job done, one needs to pay at least 1000 even in the suburbs! If IT is proclaimed to be the only reason for the drift in economy and inflation rate, then this credit automatically has to go to IT. Another point worth mentioning here is that IT is not just employing Software Engineers. Security agents, real estate brokers, land owners, house owners, transportation agencies, house-keeping staff, banks, courier agencies, mobile phone companies, gift shop owners and a flurry of non-IT people and professions are also benefited by IT. In short, IT increases the buyer's potential and makes money flow just like it's portrayed in a high school English lesson where a lunatic comes into a town and revolutionizes the economy of the place by ordering a Rolls Royce!

In short millions and millions survive on this industry and so many middle class hopes have come true in the form of basic facilities, own houses, cars, bank balance, credit cards, jewels and liquid cash. Let's be happy and feel proud about the growth of fellow Indians instead of frowning at it. Everything else would fall in place on its own!

MFRP (My First Real Post)

I've always wondered if time assimilates all the smiles, the tears, the laughter, the love, the hatred that I had in the past into one small package termed 'Experience' leaving no traces of the original feelings behind! Someone who was inevitable a decade back is not even in contact with me now... The deepest sorrows that had hurt me have become funny experiences now and the lightest moments in my past have become heavy memories! Undoubtedly time has conquered my mind and the life that I led so far along with it. May be this is the thought that ran in the mind of the person who invented the concept of diary and journals!

Though a bit late and it's been pending for a quite long time, I'd like to capture some important snapshots from my life which might help me relive some of the moments that affected me positively or negatively. I might not be telling everything that I feel but I'm sure my posts would be true and frank perfectly balanced in my scales!