Saturday, December 17, 2005

My Favourite Movies

Here are my favourite movies in descending order. That my tastes are consistent will be apparent once you've read this post. Refer earlier books post.

All of Me:
Steve Martin's best! Any other actor and this comedy would've faded into oblivion within the first few days of it's realease. Instead Steve Martin's antics have held the movie going world in thrall for over 2 decades! I really have no words to describe what Steve Martin has done in this movie (and that is saying a LOT)! You have to see it to agree with me!

Dumb & Dumber:
The Funniest Movie I have EVER seen!!! Packed with gags & each of them funnier than the other. And the gags creep up on you without you noticing until the very last minute; and then you explode in uncontrollable, hysterical laughter! This is also the time when the meaning of term "Rolling in the Aisles Laughter" became apparent to me!

True Lies:
Classic Masala Movie! And I thought only Bollywood made them! James Cameron put together all the elements that draw audiences in and came up with a Masterpiece. Arnold Schwarzneggar- Guns, Explosions, Harriers! Tia Carrere- latino woman, plunging neckline, gown with a slit riding up to the waist! He got Jamie Lee Curtis to do a Striptease, even peppered that with humour! He got Arnold to mouth one liners and even do the Tango!!! He actually made an American James Bond movie that did exceedingly well. Only a James Cameron could've done that & gotten away with it! This man deserves to be the most powerful man in Hollywood!

The Devil's Advocate:
Again purely for Al Pacino's superb portrayal of... Nah! That would spoil your fun! Imagine Al Pacino's acting powers. Imagine a to-die-for role. Put the two together. Enjoy the ride that the man I consider one of the finest actors ever takes you on!

What Lies Beneath:
Robert Zemeckis directs what I found the most spine-chilling movie I had ever seen. Right from the time the movie starts, there is an undercurrent of suspense; that you are going to discover something awful. Zemeckis' use of some great cinematic technique elevates this ordinary script to dizzying heights! I remember the pin-drop silence in the theatre being punctuated by nervous chatter & some whooping... all to no avail. The brave men who were trying to whoop away their nervousness jumped out of their skin exactly when Mr. Zemeckis intended them to!
Not horror-genre, but very chilling!

Kill Bill (Vol. 1 & 2):
Quentin Tarantino returns to the Screen after Pulp Fiction and delivers another great movie. This guy explores different genres, and successfully blends them together and delivers a very stylishly crafted finished product. My personal favourite between them is Vol. 2. I am aware that many have not liked this movie, but then in my opinion their lack of taste renders them insignificant.

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na:
Kundan Shah's second masterpeice. This man used to be one of India's best directors. And although I despise Shahrukh Khan (more on that in a separate post), this is one movie in which I think he was really good. And that is because he did not try to act in this one. He played himself and it came out really nice & real! The reason why most will like this movie so much is because they will identify with what the protagonist goes through in this movie, but let that not take away from the fact that this "feel good" movie leaves you with a sweet, lingering aftertaste.

As this Blog progresses, this list is likely to get extended. But for now, I'm going to tag Annie to do this on her wonderful Blog.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Road Rage in Bombay

Yes, from the time that I wrote the Autorickshaw post, I have acquired a spanking new car. (It’s on loan of course, and it’ll be a good 4 years before I can call it totally mine, but finances call for a separate post altogether!) And after 45 days of having driven it around in Bombay, last week I acquired a spanking new dent as well!
That has galvanized me into some kind of action, and I hereby post on the woes of driving a new car in Bombay.
The four main hazards of driving in Bombay are: the pothole-ridden roads, the (paradoxically named) BEST buses, commercial transport (trucks & the smaller autorickshaw type of tempos), the autorickshaws and motorcyclists!
I have since gathered enough SELF-control, and stopped driving roughshod over the lousy roads in this great city. I drive slowly, in lower gears not caring about fuel consumption in order to ensure that my new car doesn’t take punishment.
With BEST buses, you really can’t do much. They will drive like they own the road. And one really doesn’t have the time to drag out & beat up each driver who tries to force you onto the divider.

Commercial Transport drivers are bad too since the vehicles they drive aren’t their own & are really low maintenance. But by and large, the truckers within the city are not that badly behaved. It’s the local mini-tempo variety that I’ve come to loathe. They’re the size of autorickshaws and drive in a similar manner. They cut left, they cut right, and they just can’t get it into their thick illiterate skulls that the lanes on the road are not meant to weave in and out of!!! Ditto autorickshaws and motorcyclists.
The accident I had was because one of these mini-tempos decided to suddenly cut to the right, straight into the path of my midnight blue Indigo! I was at less than 40 kms an hour yet the joker managed to dent my fender and chip my headlight! I’m not a violent man, but that day I got out of my car, caught him by the collar and was dragging him out of the offensive red thing he was piloting! I must have sworn at all the women in his family, in my loudest possible voice by the time I came to my senses!
With autorickshaws and motorcyclists I run the same risk. On two occasions, in tight traffic jams, my rear bumper and my rear-view mirror has been bumped into, and the offending motorcyclist has fled before I had a chance to get out of the car. The mini-tempo guy probably got the other two motorcyclists’ share as well!
I think there is genuine value in buying an old Ambassador and getting out on the roads. Every offending driver/rider will then REALIZE the risks of weaving in and out of traffic!!!

the shiv sena splits!

I never thought I'd defile my blog with a mention of these jokers, but since Jay has already done my sacred space that dishonour, I may as well say my piece.If you notice (people who know me well will have), I've not capitalized the first alphabets of the words in my title. Whenever I write, I capitalize whatever I think is of significance, such as the words Mom, God etc. That is an honour reserved for people I deem important. The reverse has also been equally true, but hitherto only in thought. The fact that I am practising it for the first time today will give you an indication of the kind of disregard I have for the subject of this post!

The reason I choose to mention the sena now is because of the recent split that’s been making news. It’s made me happy to see that the gang (I refuse to acknowledge them as a political party) that has been united under myriad pretexts of mee mumbaikar, marathi manus etc., is being split down the middle! And yes, as some of you may feel by now, I’m not one of those who have any qualms about not kicking a man when he’s down.

For a couple of decades now, the so-called sena has been making life miserable for people living in Bombay. South Indians, UP-ites, Biharis, Bangladeshi illegal immigrants, Muslims, Christians... The only people they seem to have left alone were the Gujratis & the Sindhis. And that because they owned the mills and other businesses that employed their Marathi worker support base. And for those of you who believe that their antics didn’t make life miserable for the Maharashtrians, I quote a Mr. Pawar, ex-armyman and now small time businessman. Mr. Pawar believes the sena has destroyed an entire generation of Marathi youth. He claims that an entire generation has gotten used to not working traditional 9-5 jobs, but instead earning their upkeep by living off sena handouts that come from stoning cinemas, buses, overturning cars and beating up journalists & editors! A whole generation!!! So much for them being friends of Maharashtra!

It’s this point that I want to expand upon. The sena was never meant for Maharashtrians! All that was a ploy for one megalomaniac to gain & retain power. The recent split brings this out very clearly. raj thakerey who was the more charismatic of the next generation leaders (read more vocal of the rabble rousers), has been given the short shrift in favour of much maligned dynastic rule.

Hopefully, their support base will wake up now and realize that there is only one agenda to the sena. The same as all political parties have; fill your coffers-remain in power-fill more in your coffers; give non-immediate members of the clan the heave ho (chagan bhujbal, narayan rane and now raj) despite their popularity in order to retain control.

Hopefully this is going to turn out the way all of sensible India has been hoping. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for the sena.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali...

Since I'm poor, and to complicate matters, aaram-pasand...... I almost always travel in Bombay by autorickshaw. Therefore I'm about as qualified to have as many posts on Auto's as Annie, but my aaram-pasand nature doesn't allow me to ponder long on such things or get up & blog them.

So what's causing me to resurrect myself now...? Well, recently I've noticed a movement that's motivated me to contribute to the cause.

These days, almost every autorickshaw I see has "Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali" written neatly (and sometimes not so neatly) at the back of the hood. Literally translated from Marathi that means "Girl Educated, Progress Happened".

I'm excited at the humble auto's use as an advertising medium to drive this very simple but extremely crucial social message.

Perenially curious, I made some enquiries with various rickshaw drivers until I got my answer two nights ago. Apparently, the RTO doesn't "pass" any new vehicle that doesn't have this social message emblazoned on it's back.

The best part of this drive is not that every commuter on the roads in bumper to bumper Bombay traffic reads this message & is aware of it's importance. That is only a fringe benifit. The best part is that each poor, semi-literate autorickshaw driver now knows that this is an important message!

The results I guess will be seen only 20-25 years from now, and maybe at that time no one will be able to pin point the stimuli behind the sudden change in India: Literate people, staying away from trouble, creating intellectual & material wealth for their country!

All the more reason to applaud this very noteworthy effort right now. Whoever has initiated the idea needs a sound pat on the back. And if there is a Social equivalent of the Nobel, that as well!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Eagle Sighting!

I think... My limited bird-watching experience makes it difficult for me to tell the difference between Eagles, Kites & Hawks; but I think I saw an Eagle today in the most unlikely of places!
Initially I thought it was a Kite, since I believed Eagles are not native to India, but a little Googling threw up a few Eagle sightings in India so I'm assuming this one was an Eagle after all.
BIG, Confident Bird. Brown, heavily feathered & extremely good looking.
And not in the midst of a jungle, but seated on the scaffolding of my 6th floor office window. It created quite a buzz on my call center floor. Apparently this is the second day that the Eagle has come to perch on the same spot on the scaffolding.
Amidst jokes by one of Team Leaders on how the Eagle has been trained to report on time, and the agents wondering aloud on which of the women the Eagle had lost his heart to, this Team Leader pointed out that the Eagle cannot look inside the building since we have reflective glass. It dawned on my that the Eagle has discovered it's reflection in the mirror and is probably in love with it's own reflection. It sat there braving the rain staring at his reflection as we admired him. I wanted to take a picture of him, but I first need to confirm whether there are any security restrictions on cameras in my building. Let me see. If he returns, I will try & get a picture of him up here.
Watch this space for an update on what happens to our feathered Narcissus.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Re: PS to meme posts

My second post finally happens... This is a tag I wrangled out of Annie. Here goes...

Total # of Books I Own:

Our Family has 3 cupboards full of books. How many of those are mine I do not know. Generally any Reader’s Digest books having to do with the Human Body, “Vanished Civilizations” or Tennis, were ordered by me & paid for by Mom at that time (Yes my interests were different). But they’re still OUR books more than mine. We’ve always looked upon everything like that. It makes it much easier for us to individually claim that we own 3 cupboards full of books. :-)

Last Book I Bought:

I SERIOUSLY have no recollection! Work leaves very little time to read & my very limited tastes are sufficiently catered to by my Sister who picks up a book for me if she thinks I’ll enjoy it. So most of my books these days are gifts.

Last Book I Read:

Who Moved My Cheese? Finished it in an hour. Now trying to plod through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Boring? Yes. What to do? Being in the Corporate World wreaks havoc with your self esteem and eventually makes you turn to the books once shunned saying “I don’t need these silly self help books!”

Five Books that mean a Lot to Me:

Hmmm… It took me a long time to think of 5 Books that I had read, but I finally have five! :-)
These are truly representative of my reading taste (or lack of it) and have everything to do with my attitude towards life.

Douglas Adams’: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Hilarious! And so original! Made me want to read all the sequels. Managed to give up on the third one eventually!

Tom Holt’s: Paint My Dragon.
Wicked, Wicked Humour! This man is truly a Creative Genius! I intend to read all his books one day! Unputdownable!

Kiran Nagarkar: Ravan & Eddie.
I had long resisted reading any Indian authors foolishly thinking that they dwell only on what is the sad, the destitute and the soppy! Then my Sister handed me this book that had me alternate between throwing my head back in laughter & bowing it in reverence to Kiran Nagarkar. Gave me a bad neck that lasted a damn week!

Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca
I had injured my back & had to sleep on the carpet in the drawing room for a week. That’s when I read Rebecca late into the night. I could look out from the Drawing Room window & see the silhouette of the trees in the dark night. The tone of the novel combined with the setting that I was reading it in makes me remember it as one of the scariest books I read. Marvelously written. Lovely Book!

Alexandre Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo
Read when I was thirteen, I still remember the thrill it gave me. Fast paced novel in an era where everybody wrote books that seemed to take you eons to trudge through. The adventure, the concept of revenge… Ahhh…!

I will add a sixth book here. This may not be looked upon as being a great book by most, but to me it is one of the BEST I have ever read.

Robert Ludlum’s: The Bourne Identity
Using a real life chase of a world famous criminal as the background, Ludlum penned the Best Thriller written ever! Fast paced, with so many twists & turns that you would need to have a remarkably uncluttered brain in order to keep pace.

Tag Five People And Ask Them To Do This On Their Blogs:
I don’t know 5 people who have Blogs… :-(

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

New to Blogging

Ladies & Gentlemen!

I'm not new to the world of blogs in the sense that I'm an avid reader, but this is the first time I'm putting one up. In fact I wanted to call this blog, but like my kid Sis forewarned me, that one's already taken. It's a bit depressing to realize that even in the world of me-too's you can come second or third! Didn't realize that there's a race on even for Conformity!!! What's our World come to???
Anyway, I was introduced to blogs through my kid Sis. However what prompted Internet-Crazy me to put one up was the fact that Blogger is a Google initiative. Anything Google recommends I end up doing. In fact they were hiring recently. I applied. They recommended that I keep my CV to myself. So I did.
The first blog I read was a remarkably hilarious poem from I recommend that everyone should check that blog out. The writer seems really talented & original.
But the most talented writer hides some of her work here: This blog however, doesn't even begin to showcase the author's prodiguous talent.

I too nurse a mostly secret desire to write but unfortunately my limited ability becomes too evident in my work, which has hitherto stopped me from any publishing endeavours. But there is much to be gained from being brave. So I'm now going to ask you to be brave, for I'm going to share my "work" with the world. And I'm going to be open to criticism. However, my definition of "open to criticism" may itself be open to interpretation. However let that not deter you, for most of the time, I am only joking.

Another word of caution. Well begun is half done is only half true in my case. Starting off is easy on enthusiasm alone, but a sustained effort will be missing here as from all other spheres in my life. I am essentially lazy. So watching this space may not yield much for you except what it promises literally. But anyway, Watch this Space.